Companies are always looking for photographers who can produce images that reflect top photography trends.
No matter what kind of photography you specialise in, it’s likely that you’ll find a relevant trend for it.
If you want to challenge yourself and learn more about the art of taking meaningful photographs, make sure to familiarize yourself with some of the hottest photography trends of this year.
When taken the right way, self portraits can tell an interesting story about the model and the world around them. This is particularly helpful when you’re taking stock photos or creating stock videos. You don’t need to look for models or limit yourself in any way.
Self-portraiture comes with its challenges, though. If you want to take your selfie skills to the next level, make sure to join our premium self-portraiture course. We’ll introduce you to the fundamentals of self-portrait photography and help you take stunning photographs of yourself using natural light and everyday objects.
If you’re interested in portrait photography, take note of this trend! Authenticity is a world of its own that started developing a few years ago. Companies often search for real-life images that reflect honesty and openness.
The key is to have candid photoshoots. Don’t ask your models to pose for you. Take spontaneous photos of the people around you. To make this easier, shoot using a zoom lens to create a comfortable distance between yourself and your model.
3. Mental Health
This is a sub-division of the authenticity trend that is incredibly popular. In the last few years, people have been working hard to destigmatize mental health and to inspire people to be more open about their experiences.
There are many ways to approach this subject. You can use dark and moody lighting to create a sense of sadness in your images. Alternatively, you can take photographs of people engaging in self-care or doing something that benefits their mental health.
4. Personal Photography Projects
You can use personal photography projects to experiment with different photography trends or to set exciting new trends of your own.
This usually involves committing to a long-term project, such as the 52 Week Photography Project or the 365 Photography Project. If you take some time on a daily or weekly basis to improve your photography skills, you’re likely to find a lot of inspiration and ideas that will help you take your portfolio to the next level.
This is especially helpful if you want to pursue stock photography. Stock photography usually requires persistence and the ability to come up with original ideas. The more subjects you can photograph efficiently, the easier it will be for you to thrive in this industry.
5. Community Building
Community is at the heart of many photography trends. Many companies are looking for photographs in which people are happily interacting with one another, sharing ideas, and having a fun time.
You can attend events or join photography groups in your area to make the most of this trend.
Another way to approach this trend is to join an online photography community. You might meet somebody that you can collaborate with in real life. In our online community, you can receive constructive criticism, submit your photographs for editing, and make international friends.
6. Film Photography
Film photography has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Its nostalgic effect and unpredictability have made it an inspiration for professional and amateur photographers alike.
Similarly, film cameras have become a trend of their own. Take still photos of film cameras or photograph people holding them outdoors. If you’re into post production, add some grain or a light leak to your photographs to give them a nostalgic look.
One of the top photo trends, minimalism offers many photography opportunities. No matter what subject you photograph, make sure to use simple lighting and a simple backdrop.
Work with neutral colours, like grey and beige, to give your photographs a soft and visually aesthetic look. Edit your photographs minimally and leave room for negative space in your compositions.
8. Still Life Photography
Still life photography is an artistic approach to non-living objects. Unlike product photography, it aims to create a moodier atmosphere and tell a story.
When you take photographs of objects, make sure to experiment with natural light. Window light can be a great starting point for beautiful still life photographs. Focus on creating a harmonious composition with complementary colours. Like minimalism, this genre thrives in a simple environment.
Read more about lighting for still life photography here.
9. Product Photography
Taking photos of products has never been more popular. Companies are always looking for professional photographers who can take visually appealing photos of jewelry, clothing, food, and many other things.
Product photography can be simple or creative. You can shoot in a studio with a simple background. Alternatively, you can create commercial product photos for advertisements. The latter is usually much more artistic. In most cases, it involves vibrant colours and props that complement the product.
Eye-catching product photos that have bright colours and a fun story to tell are very popular at the moment. If you’re interested in taking product photos with attitude, you should consider pursuing commercial product photography this year.
10. 360° Photography
360° photographs are made of separate photographs that are stitched together. As its name suggests, 360° photography captures an entire location in 360 degrees, which can provide users with a unique viewing experience online. You might have come across this type of photography on Instagram or Facebook, where the genre is gaining popularity.
This technique is helpful in real estate and interior photography. Clients can get an idea of what a location is like without leaving their homes.
To take photographs for this trend, you can use a fisheye lens, a specialised 360° camera, or a smartphone camera with a dedicated 360° panorama app. Affinity Photo and Adobe Photoshop offer editing tools for panoramic photographs of this kind.
11. Smartphone Photography
Thanks to the rise of better phone cameras and social media, smartphone photography is becoming more and more popular. There are many trending photography themes within this genre that you can use to take your photography portfolio to the next level.
To make the most of this trend, use a manual camera app. This will give you access to advanced camera settings such as shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. If your phone’s camera has a limited aperture, you can buy an external lens for it.
Lenses of this sort usually give photographers the ability to take extreme close-ups of details. You can also find telephoto, fisheye, and wide angle lenses for almost any smartphone camera.
12. Experimental Photography
Experimental photography is an exciting art form for anyone who enjoys leaving their comfort zone. This genre doesn’t follow traditional rules. It often involves unconventional photography techniques, such as motion blur in portraits and double exposures.
If you want to develop a unique photography style and create unforgettable photographs, this genre is for you. Start by leaving your comfort zone and photographing everyday objects in unusual ways. Intentionally move your camera as you press the shutter to create motion blur. Shoot from extreme angles. Try to give viewers a completely different and refreshing perspective.
13. Fashion and Nature
Fashion photography trends are always evolving. In recent years, the relationship between nature and fashion has become a great source of inspiration for many photographers. Runway shows often focus on nature-related themes. Use the colours and textures from these shows as inspiration for your photoshoots.
When possible, leave the studio and take outdoor portraits. You can still use artificial lights, but make it a priority to highlight the relationship between humans and nature in your images.
14. Bird’s Eye View
Drone photography, also known as aerial photography, is becoming more and more popular thanks to the advancement of drone technology. Taking pictures from a bird’s eye view has never been easier, thanks to this.
If you have a drone, make sure to use it in different locations. The more diversity you create in your online portfolio, the easier it will be for you to improve your photography skills and grow your business. Take photographs directly above a location to give it a unique and otherworldly look.
Many professional photographers offer drone wedding photography as a separate service. If you’re interested in taking your wedding photographs to the next level, you should definitely contribute to this trend.
15. Portrait Orientation
Portrait shots are usually taken vertically in portrait orientation. You can apply this technique to other genres of photography, such as street photography.
Many stock photographers who work for publishing companies primarily shoot in portrait orientation mode because it gives designers enough space to add text to their photos. When you take photographs vertically, intentionally create negative space in your image to allow room for text and other kinds of designs.
Vertical photographs also come in handy on social media platforms like Instagram. Because they take up more space than a narrow photograph, they stand out more on the home feed. This is a great way to grab your followers’ attention and stand out from other photographers on social media.
Learn more about landscape vs. portrait orientation here.
16. Wide Aperture
A wide aperture, or a low f-number, creates a soft background blur. This can make any subject look more flattering and blur out distractions in the background. Genres like landscape photographs and real estate photography usually require more detailed compositions. As a result, a narrow aperture is required.
A wide aperture is more suitable for photos of people, objects, and animals. For example, if you’re taking outdoor family portraits, an aperture of f/2.5 will separate your models from the background and add depth to your image.
You can merge this theme with other trends in photography. For example, you can use a wide aperture when taking photographs of fashion models.
17. Bright Colours
Interested in capturing bright colours and creating images that pop? This photography trend is perfect for you! No matter what you’re photographing for this trend, prioritise vibrant objects like colourful buildings or pieces of art.
One of the current most popular photography trends is neon-themed portraits. Take photographs of your model next to a neon sign. This is an unconventional and experimental approach to photography that can help you take outstanding photographs.
Don’t be afraid of experimenting with blues, purples, and oranges. While they may look unflattering in conventional portrait photos, they might complement your model’s features in nighttime conditions.
18. High Contrast
High contrast photography is also known as low key photography in the black & white genre. Photographs of this sort have very dark shadows and very bright highlights. The tonal range is limited, which creates a stunning effect.
High contrast is one of the top photography trends on this list. To create this look, make sure to work with bright sources of light. Take photographs at noon or use bright artificial lights in a studio. You can use hands, hair, and light projectors to create dark shadows on your subject.
Similar to authenticity, diversity is all about honest photography. Nowadays, many creative professionals are looking for representation in their fields. If you can offer a diverse collection of photographs that feature different nationalities, ages, and backgrounds, you’ll provide your clients with plenty of exciting options to choose from.
Even if you’re not looking to sell your photographs on stock websites, diversity is an important topic to consider when building a portfolio. The more diverse your collection of photographs, the more interesting and skilled you’ll be as a photographer.
20. Natural Beauty
Natural beauty is all the rage now. Many companies are looking for raw and unretouched portraits. The more real and authentic a portrait photo is, the higher its chances of being purchased by a company.
If you’re a professional photographer who often works with models, you might benefit from looking into this photography trend.
Another factor worth considering is age. Trends in photography come and go, but inclusivity will always be a timeless theme. Instead of focusing on younger models only, take photographs of older people. Skin texture is highly valued in today’s industry, and it’s likely that this will be the case for a very long time.
Many photographers aim to create a sense of nostalgia in their images. You can do this by adding textures, light leaks, and grain to your photographs.
The point of this photography trend is to highlight something that used to be popular back in the day. Retro-themed cafes, abandoned buildings, and childhood toys are perfect subjects for this type of photography.
Colour correction is an important part of the process. To create a nostalgic feeling in your work, you can convert your photographs to black and white. You can also add a coloured tint to your photographs. Images with a brown or yellow tint have a more nostalgic look than pure black and white photographs.
When editing coloured photographs, you can create a nostalgic effect by changing the colour of your shadows and highlights. Subtle yellow highlights and brown shadows can make a big difference in your work.
22. Environmental Photography
Environmental photography highlights the impact of civilization on nature. It raises awareness of things like climate change and waste production. Some of the top environmental photographers have been able to educate others on things that they weren’t familiar with before or change their minds about a controversial topic.
As far as trends in photography go, environmentalism is undoubtedly one of the most influential ones. As an environmental photographer, it’s your job to highlight local or global issues that need improvement.
23. Outdoor Photography
Photographs taken in the natural world are always in demand. Use this as an excuse to spend more time outdoors, even if it means going for a short walk in your neighbourhood!
You don’t need to go to extravagant locations to take beautiful photographs of nature. Capture patterns and vivid colors. Create depth in your photographs by experimenting with foregrounds and blurred backgrounds.
With practice, you’ll be able to produce beautiful nature shots that will contribute to the trends in today’s photography industry.
24. HDR Photography
As you pursue outdoor photography, consider improving your skills in HDR photography. HDR stands for high dynamic range. The more tones and details there are in your images, the more appealing and professional they’ll look.
To create high dynamic range photos, you need to capture multiple exposures of the same scene and merge them in an editing program like Adobe Lightroom. Use a tripod to avoid creating a glitchy HDR effect in your photographs.
HDR mode is available in some professional cameras and most smartphone cameras. In HDR mode, your camera will take at least 3 photographs of the same scene using different exposure settings. (Note: HDR mode in smartphones usually doesn’t work the same way. It automatically adds more texture to a scene without creating multiple exposures.)
While videography isn’t directly related to photography, it’s becoming a very popular trend in the stock photography industry. More and more stock companies are offering dynamic video files along with stock imagery.
It’s an option worth exploring if your camera allows it. Instead of taking still photos, you can tell a deeper story about any subject by filming it. Stock footage tends to be more expensive than stock photos, too.
Photo editing has been an important part of some industries for a while. Even though retouching skin isn’t a huge trend right now, creating surreal photographs is an option for anyone who enjoys the art of post production.
This kind of photography usually requires the use of an editing program. Using a few advanced Photoshop tricks, you can transform simple images into fantastical photographs that reflect your inner world or the state of the world around you.
The world of photography trends is constantly evolving. From honest imagery to outdoor photography, there are many exciting themes you can choose from. It all depends on your goals and creative taste.
If you use social trends as inspiration in your work, you’re likely to find a lot of success. Make sure to experiment with different trends, even those you’re not familiar with, and always be curious. The more you practice different skills, the more interesting and unforgettable your portfolio will be.