Knowing what the top photography trends are in the industry is incredibly useful. Whether for wedding shots, stock images, or product photography, knowing what to shoot puts you at the top of the curve.
Clients are always looking for something new. They are aiming at using images that others don’t have, as it makes their own products one-of-a-kind.
So what are the current photography trends? Here we have the top photography trends for 2021. Look out world!
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20. Show Unedited Beauty
In the age of filters and retouching apps, leaving your work untouched is a bold decision. It’s a decision that can attract the right kind of attention, though. Unedited means authentic, another trend that’s becoming increasingly popular right now. This is a great trend to keep in mind for portrait photographers of all kinds.
This trend is all about raw and unfiltered beauty. You don’t need to spend hours in Photoshop anymore. You don’t even need to use your favourite Instagram filters. Focus on your models’ natural beauty and don’t be afraid of embracing their flaws.
TIP: This photography trend isn’t about focusing on flaws. It’s about capturing someone’s appearance without hiding anything. Make sure you shoot in well-lit conditions and don’t be afraid of pimples, blemishes, and scars.
19. Celebrate Age Diversity
Cultural and body diversity are becoming important and relevant topics in today’s world. Age diversity is no different. More and more people are starting to include people of all ages in the workplace.
This trend says that someone who’s not considered young is still relevant and important in the workplace. You can symbolise this by photographing people of all ages in various workplaces. Photograph them together with young people, so that this photography trend is clear in your work.
TIP: You don’t need to take photos in offices only. You can choose unconventional places, like skating parks, and take photos of different people having fun together. There’s a lot you can do with this photography trend, so feel free to experiment as much as you want.
18. Female Empowerment in Photography
Female empowerment focuses on women thriving in every industry they choose to pursue. It also highlights the importance of positive body image. Women of all ages, shapes, and sizes are worthy of being included in photographs.
You can document this in a variety of ways. You can focus on women representing the concept of a ‘girl boss’. You can photograph women working, doing sports, balancing family life, wearing bold clothes, or standing up for their rights.
TIP: You don’t necessarily have to take staged photos for this concept. You can treat it like a documentary where you follow women as they work. This way, you’ll get more authentic images.
17. Bold Self-Expression
Gone are days of broody facial expressions. This trend is all about expressing yourself unabashedly. Your model can shout, laugh, cry, etc., in front of your camera as much as they like.
You can also take self-portraits in which you express something that is meaningful to you. Self-portraiture can be very therapeutic. In this case, it can also be a great way to attract new clients and earn money!
You don’t need to express yourself through people all the time. You can tell a story through another genre, like still life photography. You can include parts of yourself in mirror reflections without showing your face. You can crop your pictures just to show your mouth. There’s no limit to what you can do with this.
TIP: Instead of telling your model to look angry, give them a concept. Ask them to imagine that they’re in a specific scenario or that they’re a specific person. This will make it easier for them to give you the right emotions.
Mental health is something we’re all familiar with at this point. Self-love focuses on supporting mental health.
A popular concept within this trend is relaxation and peace. You can take photos of people spending quality time with themselves. They should look relaxed and happy in their own company.
This photography trend isn’t just about relaxation, though. Self-love can include body positivity, healthy relationships, and a healthy lifestyle in general.
TIP: While there are exceptions, self-love tends to be associated with bright and dreamy pictures. Make sure your photos are well-lit and minimalistic to make your subjects look as joyful as possible.
15. Use Colourful Smoke Bombs for Surreal Images
One of the hottest photography trends of 2021 focuses on a specific tool a smoke bomb. Smoke bombs are a great way to add surrealism to any image. They can make your pictures look more colourful and create depth in your compositions.
TIP: Make sure you always use a smoke bomb outdoors. Stay away from flammable objects and make sure you’re shooting in an open space. Also, avoid shooting on windy days so that you can actually see the smoke in your photos.
14. Create Dark and Moody Backgrounds
Dark backgrounds are often used in fine art photography to create an edgy but classic feel. They’re also popular in other photography genres, like still life, where they can make a subject look moodier. You’ve probably noticed them in many book covers and movie posters as well.
The simplicity of a dark background can make a big difference in your work. It can turn a simple portrait into a thoughtful one. It can transform a normal food photo into one that looks professional.
TIP: You don’t need a professional backdrop. A piece of cardboard, a curtain, or even a large sheet of paper are great alternatives to professional equipment.
13. Capture People Fighting for a Safe Future
Human rights have long been an important topic in the world. Now, they’re more relevant than ever. Human rights can involve politics, cultural changes, gender equality, and much more. These are all issues that clients want to see in the photography industry more often.
One of the most effective ways to capture this is to get involved. Join a march for women’s rights, document a day in the life of someone fighting animal abuse. In short, try to find a way to capture people fighting for a safer future.
TIP: Embrace a candid approach for this. Don’t take photos as a photographer, but as someone who’s genuinely interested in the issue at hand.
12. Embrace Vibrant Colors
Strong, bright colors are what we expect to see in the future. We believe this is to grab attention from the hundreds of thousands of images that are taken and shared daily.
The stronger the color, the louder it shouts. And it needs to if it was to get noticed. This is a little conflicting, as photographers, we aim for natural scenes. Luckily, graffiti, wall paintings, and other outdoor designs are also becoming trendy and louder to stand out.
TIP: Try and be as natural as possible to keep the attention from going off the edge.
11. Vertical Is the Way
It’s hard to imagine that the orientation of images can be a trend. We say that, but expect a photography trend of more vertical photos. Horizontal images had their place for landscapes, and vertical for portraits. Here, you capture the flow of the scene or subject.
It’s definitely due to smartphones. Each image you capture is automatically vertical unless you turn it sideways. This is a big jump from DSLRs, SLRs, and mirrorless systems that are initially in the horizontal position.
TIP: Try capturing your images from DSLR or mirrorless camera in a vertical orientation. Find scenes that fit it — not vice-versa.
10. Relaxed Wedding Photography
Wedding photography used to be a very formal act. Everyone posed in a correct manner, stiff as you like. Nowadays, with more and more couples getting hitched on the fly, wedding photography follows suit.
We know that wedding photography is an expensive venture. A photographer or team is responsible for capturing one of the most important days of your life. As it is such a big expense, we turn to self-capturing ideas, such as Instax cameras and a guest book.
I wouldn’t be surprised if wedding photographers started using only instant photography devices. You get the look of an ‘off-the-cuff’ shoot, but the images are professional and one-off. It means you can still have a little control over the images being shared.
TIP: Look at a wedding as a documentary project and less like a portraiture session.
9. More Drone Activity
I won’t drone on (ha), but I will say this. As drones become cheaper and better, more photographers will use them. There are strict rules on where you can fly, and rightly so. But as we are now freer to travel, we use this method of aerial photography to capture more and more. The quality is outstanding and helps create great content.
Photography trends like drone wedding photography will grow, and so will many other areas of that we didn’t expect.
TIP: Be sure to check where and where you can’t fly and use a filter for those well-lit situations.
8. Saffron 14-1064
Color management has a trend in photography. For the last year or so, there has been a lot of internet chatter about orange and teal split toning. Of course, nothing new is created. But what is new is how we use the colors and management in our images.
In 2021, we expect photography trends of using the Pantone color, Saffron. You can also find the yellowy-orange color by using the Pantone number, in this case, 14-1064. This will help you find the color in programs such as Adobe Photoshop.
TIP: If you can’t find a natural environment that shows this color, you can color swap subjects, areas, or backgrounds using Photoshop.
7. Try Capturing Images from Videos
Photography is a great medium to work with. You can capture almost any scene, well lit or otherwise, with any digital camera. As we have better and better sensor resolutions, photographers are free to film more and more.
The reason is that you can pull still images from videos, whereas you can’t do the opposite. These images still keep the great quality. Filming a scene gives you the best of both worlds, ensuring you don’t miss the scene.
There are many plus sides to this process. For one, you have the chance to make money both from a stock video and a stock image. Secondly, each second of the video gives you either 30 or 60 frames to choose from, depending on your capture settings.
TIP: Get into the habit of filming scenes with a tripod. For post-processing, use software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Photoshop.
6. 360 Photography Trend
This type of photography gained a foothold in product photography, where the subject would turn as the camera captured. Now, photographers are changing the way we shoot by turning the camera 360° as it captures.
With modern technology, this is a very easy thing to do. With specialized devices, such as the Edelkrone HeadONE, you can set up the process on your smartphone and leave it to do its thing.
Timelapse photography is something that benefits from this process. But, it is also great for real estate photography. With this setup, you can capture a 360° scene of a room, where the viewer can move around it as if they were there.
It helps bridge the gap between photography and reality.
On top of this, you can create tiny globes, which, when done correctly, look great.
TIP: If you don’t have the capital to invest in an expensive device, you can recreate the same technique by using a special tripod head.
5. Cloud Storage
As technology advances, cameras gain better and better resolution. A bigger resolution means bigger file sizes are needed to hold more information taken from the scenes you capture.
If you’re shooting RAW, the Canon 5D Mark IV averages 40MB a shot. With increased file sizes comes an even greater need for storage. This storage needs to be mobile, as many of us travel and work on the road.
Hello, cloud storage. The cloud is a way to store and move your images around wirelessly. Quite a few companies, such as Google and Apple, have their own cloud services, open to everyone. They all have a small amount of space for free, expandable for a cost.
The great thing about this type of storage is you have access to your images anywhere. You do need a connection to the internet, but if you have one, you can edit your images on the go.
TIP: You can set up your mobile phone and Google photos to automatically save your images to a NAS drive.
4. Film, Film, Film
We keep saying this, but film photography trends are growing. You might not believe so, as we constantly see manufacturers dropping their film-based products. Fujifilm dropped their Fujicolor Superia 800 this year, and expect to drop others as well.
Working with photographic film offers photographers a way to discover the base of this visual world. On top of that, you have a physical, tangible object after capturing your session.
There are many benefits of working with film. Medium and larger film formats hold more play and resolution than some digital cameras. It is also fun to use, where digital photography doesn’t offer you the same feeling.
TIP: There are horses for courses, and there are also photographic films for portraits if you need them.
3. Photograph Your Natural Environment
As we get deeper and deeper into a technological world, there is always resistance. We look to use the natural environment in our images, one way or another. It could be portraiture, events such as weddings, or even product photography.
A natural setting fits into our trend of environmental issues. Our connection with nature is growing. This is visible through our consumer behaviour of actively searching for natural ingredients.
As we look more and more for these products, manufacturers need to source images from a natural setting. This opens the doors for your choices in stock photography images too. By capturing natural elements, you connect to ideas of wellness and spirituality.
TIP: Whatever photography field you capture in, try to aim to shoot outside. Product photography can work well, for example, with an outdoor situational scene.
2. Lose the DSLR
We have entered a new era of photography. Camera manufacturers have started to pour their resources into new types of devices. The recent change has been towards digital mirrorless cameras.
These systems are smaller, quieter, weigh less, and retain a great amount of resolution. The Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless camera gives you a 61MP resolution, with a 10fps. This is better and faster than most DSLRs on the market.
So why carry around the extra weight? As more and more photographers travel from place to place, a camera like this comes in handy. For events where noise can be distracting, a mirrorless camera presents no noise.
TIP: Sony, Fujifilm, and many other camera manufacturers have great and cheaper versions for enthusiasts.
Each and every year, we look at our images and evaluate them through a magnifying glass. Complexity has always been used in photography. Photographers use techniques on top of composition and utilise color management.
With the overuse of filters, photographers who want to be taken seriously take a step back. They look for something that makes their image different, which is a more minimalist approach.
TIP: When approaching a scene, look at what you can remove. Depending on your composition, you can wait for elements to move (in street photography, for example), or aim for simpler backgrounds.