back to top

15 Hottest Photography Trends to Be Aware of in 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 19 min read
ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little money. Need more info? See how it all works here.
Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe! We will never share your information.

Knowing the top photography trends is incredibly useful for any photographer. Staying ahead of the crowd puts you at the head of the game. It can help point you toward new genres, techniques, or areas to grow your photography.

Also, clients are always looking for something new. Whether it’s wedding shots, stock images, or product photography, they want fresh ideas. They aim to use images that others don’t have, as it makes their own products one-of-a-kind.

A groom looking at his bride taking a picture with an instant camera
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D Mark II. 70mm, f/5, 1/125 s, ISO 400. Kari Bjorn Photography (Unsplash)

15 Hottest Photography Trends in 2024

So, what is the hottest photography trend in 2024? AI is still at the forefront of photography this year as it evolves rapidly. We will see other photography styles and niches come as the year progresses.

Here are our picks for the top photography trends for 2024. They include trends in creativity, experimentation, connection, and storytelling. We also have a separate post about stock photography trends you can check out.

1. AI in Photography

Artificial intelligence (AI) was once just the topic of science fiction. But the future is already upon us. More and more photographers are embracing AI to boost their photography and creativity.

You see AI in elite cameras. Cameras like the Sony a7R V use AI for more advanced autofocusing. AI technology is used for faster and more accurate subject tracking. There are face- and eye-recognition features. And cameras can predict a subject’s movement. They don’t just respond to it.

But we also see its impact most in AI photo editing software. Developers are using AI to simplify complex editing processes. With the help of AI, tedious and laborious tasks now have one-click solutions.

Complex edits have become accessible to even beginners. You can easily optimize your photography and enhance your editing style. You can imagine more with your photography using artificial intelligence (AI).

Skylum has pioneered AI photo editing for the last couple of years. And Luminar Neo is the best AI-powered software on the market. It uses AI to recommend presets. But its headline features are its AI editing tools. Its GenSwap tool can now add or replace objects in your photo!

Now, AI image generation is entering the fray. Programs like PhotoAI take these tools one step further, creating portraits without a camera. Plus, software and stock photo companies have followed suit, making AI tools available to create images from scratch!

AI saves photographers time, effort, and money. But is it photography? It pushes the boundaries between what is real and imagined. But it will continue to change photography and photo editing for the foreseeable future.

Highly Recommended
Incredible AI image generator, turning text into photorealistic images in a matter of seconds. Create your own AI characters and produce hundreds of unique AI images.

2. Smartphone Photography

As technology improves, smartphones are becoming a tool for serious photography. Now, we’re seeing almost editorial-quality images. And smartphone photography is more popular than ever.

Smartphone camera technology moves at lightning speed. There are powerful phone cameras on the market. People love their iPhone 15 and Galaxy 23. And their successors are again eagerly anticipated this year.

You don’t have to lug around a camera to take breathtaking shots or video. There have been smartphone breakthroughs with high-resolution cameras, image stabilization, and low-light capabilities. So, you have everything they need in your pocket to take stunning images.

We are seeing more smartphone photographers. And it’s not just for everyday use. Many artists now use smartphones as their primary cameras, forgoing the latest mirrorless camera.

Social media and photojournalism will continue to propel smartphone photography into the spotlight. Newsworthy events, conflicts, and celebrations will always persist worldwide. And photographers will use their phones even more to capture and share images.

You can easily share your stories, adventures, and selfies wherever you are. Thus, smartphone photography is exploding with creativity and versatility. Candids, food photography, portraits, and minimalist architecture are just a few of the growing niches.

As smartphone cameras have improved, better AI-powered camera apps and image editors have emerged. Editing software and social media continue catering to smartphone photographers’ needs. And mobile photo editing has become easier and more convenient.

Check out iPhone School’s course for a leg up in smartphone photography.

We Highly Recommend
iPhone Photo Academy by iPhone Photography School
iPhone Photo Academy
Discover how to take stunning iPhone photos. This comprehensive video course is specifically designed for iPhone users.

3. Sustainability

Climate change is still at the forefront of public discourse. But there is more and more talk and debate about clean energy and renewables. So, this year, capturing tech images like wind power, hybrid cars, and electric bikes will be trending.

Net-zero emissions, climate impact, and renewables are buzzwords in 2024. But what does this mean in practice? Photojournalists and lifestyle photographers can document how the world transitions or resists sustainability.

More practically, we must be conscious of what we buy and throw away. Everything we buy has a cost to our environment. And buying photography equipment is no different.

We can reduce plastic waste by making thoughtful choices when buying photography gear. For instance, we can spend more on better equipment instead of buying a low-quality kit at a discount.

Cheap options will break within a year and end up in a landfill. The better option can be ours for years, reducing waste. We expect more and more photographers to look for durable, long-lasting options.

Photography manufacturers aren’t the biggest culprits. But they must become more climate-conscious as demands change. Camera bag brands like Thule and Peak Design and camera filter companies like Urth lead the way.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Green Photography Products
Thule Covert 32L Backpack
Thule Covert 32L Backpack
Thule Covert 32L Backpack
Peak Design Everyday Zip Backpack
Peak Design Everyday Zip Backpack
Peak Design Everyday Zip Backpack
Urth UV Filter
Urth UV Filter
Urth UV Filter

4. Storytelling Through Self-Portraits

Last year, we saw the rise of self-portraits, bold self-expression, and self-love in photography. We expect these photography trends to continue but with a twist. Photography is growing as a vehicle for telling our narratives through documentary-like images.

The “selfie” still dominates our social media news feeds. But self-portraiture’s credibility has taken off. Excellent self-portrait photographers tell compelling stories with their work. So, expect to see even more wonderful self-portraiture in the coming year.

These photographers are not taking selfies in the bathroom mirror. They are re-establishing the self-portrait as a serious art form. Their pictures are stylized and involve a lot of consideration. They explore themes of self-exploration and geopolitics.

Take self-portraits that express something meaningful to you. Photographers are expressing themselves unabashedly. You can shout, laugh, cry, etc., in front of your camera as much as you like. Self-portraiture can be very therapeutic!

Plus, you don’t always need to express yourself through self-portraits. You can tell personal stories through other genres, like still-life and landscape photography. Meaningful objects, rituals, or places can tell your story creatively and powerfully.

Two artists we have collaborated with provide fantastic tips for self-portraits. Check out our Fantastic Photo Adventures course and Creative Portrait Concepts eBook. They offer excellent advice for compelling, artistic self-portraiture.

A diptych of two creative self-portraits
Creative self-portraiture. © Anya Anti (left) © Joel Robison (right)

5. Bridging Generational Gaps

Cultural, body, and age diversity have recently been important and relevant topics—and they continue to be. But generational gaps are increasingly being highlighted in social media and advertising.

We see distinct goals, outlooks, and viewpoints between generations. Yet, more and more people are starting to live in multi-generational households. And while Generation Z has entered the workplace, more and more people are working well into their golden years.

You can highlight these gaps by photographing people of all ages in different settings. Photograph older people with young people so this photography trend is clear in your work. But you can juxtapose more than age.

Look for ways to differentiate between baby boomers and Generation X, Y, and Z. But don’t just show differences. Themes like cyclical fashion trends can show similarities in sensibilities and likes.

You don’t need to take photos only in households and offices. You can choose public places, like parks, cultural events, or festivals. Show how people are bridging gaps by taking photos of different generations having fun together. You can experiment a lot with this photography trend.

Confident group of multi-ethnic businesswomen looking at camera seriously
Shot with a Sony a7 III. 24mm, f/4, 1/1000 s, ISO 100. © Ginnet Delgado (iStock)

6. More Than Binary

A notable trend in contemporary photography involves breaking away from traditional binary themes. Photographers are increasingly moving beyond rigid categories. And they are creating work that defies easy classification.

Photographers are embracing a multidisciplinary approach by switching roles within the creative process. They may act as both the photographer and the subject, blurring the lines between creator and observer.

This trend fosters self-expression and introspection. It lets people convey personal narratives and perspectives more authentically and nuancedly.

Photographers are also moving away from binary answers. They are embracing the complexity of the human experience. Instead of focusing solely on contrasts, they explore their subject’s multifaceted aspects.

It’s not just male or female, but masculine and feminine. It’s not just black and white, but colorful tones and shades.

This trend reflects a desire to capture the diversity and intricacies of life. It challenges viewers to engage with images on a deeper level. It prompts conversations about the complexity of identity, culture, and social issues.

This trend aligns with a broader cultural shift towards inclusivity. It helps break down stereotypes and embraces diversity.

Photographers are increasingly taking pictures that celebrate this richness of human experience. This challenges preconceived notions and fosters more inclusive and empathetic visual language.

Portrait of a non-binary person in a field of tall grass
Shot with a Canon EOS 60D. 70mm, f/3.2, 1/500 s, ISO 250. Grace Weltch (Unsplash)

7. Cinematic Photography

Cinematic photography is emerging as a prominent trend this year. This style applies the artistry of filmmaking to still images. Think dramatic depth of field, compelling composition, and bold colors and backdrops.

This style attempts to evoke a cinematic feel and create visually compelling narratives. It uses techniques like strategic framing, dynamic composition, and atmospheric lighting.

Another key aspect of cinematic photography is using a wide aspect ratio. This format resembles the widescreen format of movies. It lets photographers capture expansive scenes and emphasizes storytelling with a broader canvas.

Lighting also plays a pivotal role in cinematic photography. It often features dramatic contrasts and shadows reminiscent of film noir or iconic cinematic scenes. The interplay of light and shadow helps convey emotions. It also enhances depth and creates a sense of atmosphere.

Also, color grading is a hallmark of cinematic photography. Photographers use post-processing techniques to achieve a distinct color palette. This enhances the mood and thematic elements. Warm tones, cool hues, and selective color grading enhance the cinematic aesthetic.

Cinematic photographers use storytelling elements. They use visual cues to suggest a narrative or evoke a specific emotion. They may use props, settings, and even models in a way that mirrors movies. This invites viewers to see a photo as if it were a still frame from a film.

You can use many modern digital cameras to extract a still frame from a video. Or, you can extract images from video through Adobe Photoshop.

Cinematic close-up fashion portrait of a woman
Shot with a Sony a7 IV. 24mm, f/4, 1/100 s, ISO 400. Thierry Biland (Unsplash)

8. Hyperrealism

An extreme level of detail characterizes hyperrealism in photography. It goes beyond what the human eye typically perceives.

This style aims to create realistic images that appear more authentic than reality. Hyperrealistic photos are meticulously composed. They use advanced techniques to capture every nuance with precision.

Photographers in this genre often use high-resolution cameras, like the GFX100 II, and special lenses. They also use sophisticated post-processing methods to achieve an unprecedented level of clarity.

Every texture, reflection, and detail is precisely rendered. The result is images that can be mistaken for paintings or digital renderings. It explores subjects in mundane, everyday settings. But it elevates the ordinary to an extraordinary level through meticulous attention to detail.

This approach challenges viewers to reconsider their perception of reality. It prompts them to appreciate the world’s beauty and intricacies.

Also, hyperrealism in photography frequently involves the use of controlled lighting. This enhances details and creates a sense of heightened reality.

Hyperrealistic photography is distinguished by its combination of technical precision and artistic vision. It is compelling and thought-provoking. And it will push the boundaries of what we capture in the visual world this year.

Hyperrealistic fashion headshot of.a woman's head and reflection in a glass table
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. 120mm, f/6.3, 1/200 s, ISO 100. © Lambada (iStock)

9. Natural Looks

To counteract AI and hyperrealism, we also expect a trend toward natural looks in photography. This style emphasizes authenticity and simplicity and avoids heavy retouching and artificial edits.

Photographers who embrace this trend seek to showcase their subjects genuinely and unfiltered. This trend celebrates imperfections and embraces the beauty found in the everyday.

The emphasis is on minimalism, both in composition and post-processing. Photographers often opt for soft, natural lighting to illuminate their subjects. Harsh artificial lights are avoided.

The goal is to capture the moment’s essence without imposing an overly stylized or contrived aesthetic. This trend extends to portraiture, where minimal makeup and styling are used. This contributes to a more authentic representation of individuals.

Candid moments and spontaneous expressions are valued. They emphasize the real emotions and connections between subjects. The overall intent is to create a visual narrative that feels honest, relatable, and closer to reality.

Post-processing techniques are subtle, with an emphasis on enhancing rather than altering. This may include slight adjustments to color balance, contrast, and clarity. But the organic feel of the image is preserved.

The world is saturated with highly curated and digitally manipulated images. Natural looks provide a refreshing reprieve.

It celebrates the inherent beauty found in simplicity and authenticity. This resonates with viewers seeking a genuine and relatable visual experience in photography.

Natural-looking portrait of a dog looking sideways
Shot with a Sony a7 III. 50mm, f/3.5, 1/1000 s, ISO 1000. Fi Dogs (Unsplash)

10. Modern Minimalism

Every year, we look at our images through a magnifying glass. Complexity has always been valued in photography. Photographers use so many different techniques besides composition and color management.

With the overuse of filters and editing software, photographers who want to stand out may want to take a step back. Look for minimalistic approaches to distinguish your images.

Think uncluttered compositions, bold, clean lines, and negative spaces. Think minimalist design and muted colors.

Less “noise” means more focus on the subject. This applies to shooting minimalist portraits, simple fashion shoots, bare landscapes, and more. The more stripped down you can make your images, the better.

When evaluating a shot, look at what you can remove. Depending on your composition, you can wait for elements to move out of your frame (in street photography, for example). Or aim for simpler backgrounds.

In a complex world, photography trends will continue to favor the beauty of simplicity. For more tips, check out our Urban Minimalism Smartphone eBook!

A modern white building against a blue sky shot in a minimalist way
Shot with a Nikon D750. 25mm, f/6.3, 1/640 s, ISO 200. Juane Vee (Unsplash)

11. Retro Aesthetics and Vintage Photography

Retro aesthetics and vintage photography have experienced a resurgence. Photographers are embracing the charm and nostalgia associated with bygone eras. As each generation gets older, nostalgia grows.

This trend involves deliberately using older photo techniques, equipment, and visual styles. Vintage and retro-looking cameras, film photography, and color palettes like Kodak film are back in vogue. 

So, take out your analog cameras, film, or digital filters that mimic the characteristics of old film stocks. Or, grab that editing software and app that gives your digital photography easy access to Kodachrome filters.

Grain, color shifts, and vignettes impart a nostalgic feel to images. This trend celebrates imperfections. It embraces the character and warmth associated with vintage photos.

But retro aesthetics extend beyond photography and encompass a broader visual style. They are inspired by specific historical periods, such as the 1970s, 80s, or 90s. These looks emphasize textures, diffuse lighting, and warm but faded colors.

This trend involves recreating the look and feel of design elements from these eras. It includes retro fashion, typography, and color palettes. Photographers contribute to this aesthetic by framing their shots in a way that mirrors the visual language of the chosen period.

Both retro aesthetics and vintage photography appeal to our desire for a simpler, more romanticized past. Photographers blend contemporary subjects with the stylistic elements of earlier times.

This takes viewers on a nostalgic journey. It offers a refreshing departure from the crisp, high-tech imagery prevalent in modern photography. We want to create timeless memories with old looks.

A portrait of a women standing by a car with a vintage aethetic
Vintage aesthetic. Shot with a Nikon Z5. 37mm, f/5.3, 1/100 s, ISO 100. Harshit Solanki (Unsplash)

12. Instant Photography

Instant photography has resurged as a popular trend. It is fueled by nostalgia and a desire for tangible, immediate results. It is led by brands like Polaroid and Fujifilm’s Instax. Their instant cameras offer a unique, hands-on experience in our digital age.

The appeal lies in the instant gratification of holding a physical print seconds after capturing a moment. The unpredictability of colors, soft focus, and the one-of-a-kind nature of each print contribute to the charm.

We expect more wedding couples to use self-capturing instant photography options, like Instax cameras and a guest book. You get fun, spontaneous, “off-the-cuff” photos to supplement traditional wedding photography.

Influencers, artists, and enthusiasts embrace instant photography for its spontaneity and artistic possibilities. It fosters a more intentional and mindful approach to image-making. Users must carefully choose when and what to capture due to film limitations.

Beyond the look, instant photos are a counterrevolution against the delete culture of digital photos. They celebrate imperfections and the beauty of the fleeting moment.

A Fujifilm SQ1 Intax instant camera on a stool
A white Fujifilm Instax SQ1 instant camera. Liam Charmer (Unsplash)

13. Drone Photography

Drone shots have emerged as a significant photography trend. This is due to its ability to capture unique, dynamic perspectives. Plus, drones are now cheaper and more accessible than ever.

There have been many tech advancements. Improved camera resolution and stabilization means high-quality aerial images. And there will continue to be constant innovation in camera drone technology.

The impact of social media, like Instagram, has amplified the popularity of drone photography. These striking visuals stand out on platforms.

Drones find applications beyond artistic pursuits. They are widely used in landscape, real estate, and travel photography. Drones are also versatile cameras that can explore remote locations. This greatly appeals to adventure and outdoor photographers.

There are strict rules on where you can fly a drone, and rightly so. But travel photographers will continue to use aerial photography to capture jaw-dropping scenery.

The quality of images has become outstanding and helps create great content. Photography trends like drone wedding photography will continue to grow. And drone cameras will find their way into many other areas we didn’t expect.

Below is a drone image of a sandstone plateau in the Saudi Arabia’s Hisma desert. Don’t forget to use a filter for bright scenes!

A desert plateau landscape drone camera photo
Shot with a DJI Mavic 3. 12.3mm, f/4, 1/320 s, ISO 100. NEOM (Unsplash)

14. 360 Photography

Again, this year, 360-degree photography will be a big trend. This type of photography gained a foothold in product photography. The subject turns as the camera captures a 360-degree view.

Photographers are changing how they shoot by turning the camera 360 degrees to capture the world around them. Time-lapse photography benefits from this process.

But it is also great for real estate photography. With this setup, you can capture a 360-degree 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.

There is, of course, also huge potential for 360 panoramic landscapes. You can create tiny planet images in Photoshop that look fantastic when done correctly.

Maybe you don’t have the capital to invest in Photoshop or an expensive 360-degree camera. But you can recreate the same technique using a tripod with a special 360-degree head, like the Vanguard Alta Pro.

A spherical 360 panoramic view of a forested autumn landscape
A spherical 360-panoramic view of a forested autumn landscape. Bernd Dittrich (Unsplash)

15. Light and Compact Mirrorless Cameras

We have entered a new era of photography for serious photographers. Camera manufacturers continue to pour resources into digital mirrorless cameras. So, if you’re holding onto a DSLR, now is the time to take that leap and buy a mirrorless one.

Mirrorless systems have always been smaller, quieter, and lighter while retaining great resolution. Now, we are seeing a trend toward mirrorless cameras that are lighter and more compact while still retaining great optics.

Last year, Canon released its lightest full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R8. The Fujifilm X100v remains an in-demand compact camera. And this year, its highly anticipated successor, the X100R, is on the horizon.

Compact cameras will continue to be trendy accessories to throw in our bags. But why carry around the extra weight compared to a smartphone?

Mirrorless cameras have larger sensors for more image detail and low-light performance. They also have more versatility and better manual controls. If you want to improve your image-taking abilities, consider getting one.

Canon, Nikon, and other major camera brands are expanding their mirrorless camera lines. The trend of powerful cameras getting even lighter and more compact will continue.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Travel and Compact Cameras
Fujifilm X100V
Fujifilm X100V
Fujifilm X100V
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Conclusion: Photography Trends 2024

The future is impossible for anyone to see. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make our predictions for the hottest photography trends this year.

Some trends, like AI in photography, have been growing for some time and will continue to grow in the next 12 months. But others are newer trends. Whether right or wrong, 2024 will be an exciting year for photography and photographers!