With the year coming to a close, it's time to start looking ahead at what photography trends are going to be popular in 2021. Based on the 2020 photography trends, people want to see images that reflect concepts such as authenticity, environmental issues, and human rights.
We'll be diving deep into the hottest photography trends that you'll be seeing in 2021 and showing you how to apply them to your unique photography style
Are These Photography Trends Over?
With all of the changes, this past year has brought for people around the world many photo trends will no longer be relevant to the way we are living right now. For example, any group photos will need to portray safe social distancing measures in order to accurately represent our current reality. Here are a few photography trends and niches that may suffer in 2021:
live music photos
Top Photography Trends for 2021
While certain niche photographers may find themselves having to pivot, there are plenty of great photography trends to experiment with in 2021. Here are the top photography trends for the coming year and our tips on how you can use these trends in your photos, no matter what niche you're in.
The beauty of silhouette images is that they are open to interpretation. By reducing your model to a shape, people can project themselves into the world that you depict in your photo. Silhouettes tend to show a single figure on their own, which brings to mind the feelings of isolation and related mental health issues that many people around the world have been dealing with this past year.
Silhouette images are created using backlighting. Position your subject in front of a strong light source, with no light coming from behind your camera.
Portrait photography trends in 2021 will reflect social distancing practices, with people in photos wearing masks. Businesses still need images of people to use for their social media content, so ask your photo subjects to maintain 6 feet of distance and to wear their masks correctly. Many clothing businesses have added masks to their product line, so fashion photography trends will likely continue to include masks.
Since we've been more limited this year in terms of where we can go, many people have taken to nature for active adventures like hiking, jogging, and biking. In addition to benefitting our physical and mental health, nature also offers a diverse setting to create breathtaking photos.
Nature can be used as a backdrop no matter what niche you specialize in, from portraits to landscape to fashion to macro photography. When taking photos in nature for the first time, make sure your research your location and the weather forecast so that you're prepared. It's also a good idea whenever you shoot location-specific photography to carefully plan a shot list so that you leave with all of the photos that you intended to take.
Muted Color Cast
Another new trend taken from social media, it's become more common for photographers to use filters on their images, usually with one color softening and unifying the overall image. These filters are usually applied to the images in post production, and the idea is to make the colors of your photo more cohesive.
If you want to use a filter in your photography, there are a few different options for applying this photography trend. You can use a pre-made filter like those available through Instagram, or you can purchase or create your own filter on Photoshop. You can also simply play around with the color levels and scale down the contrast in your photos to achieve this muted look.
With galleries and museums around the world closed, many people are taking to the streets in order to experience art up close. This photography trend often includes a human subject along with the street art, as it can be a powerful background for portraits. Research your location ahead of time and determine what weather conditions would be ideal for your intended subject, or take a walk through the alleyways of your city with your eyes peeled for interesting and unexpected compositions. Scroll through relevant hashtags on social media to scope out the best locations in your city.
Drones are ideal for capturing a bird’s eye view, whether it is to showcase a real estate property or for drone wedding photography. Drones can be expensive, so do your research and choose equipment that fits your level of experience as a photographer. There are drones with built in cameras and those that allow you to attach your own camera.
Before you start offering your services as a drone photographer to your audience, make sure you get familiar with the instruction manual and get some practice in. You should also research local drone photography rules and regulations before you invest too much time and money into this photography trend.
With everything that's been going on in the world, people are feeling drawn towards brands and photographers who focus on creating more relatable images by using natural lighting and less retouching in post production. If you want to use this trend in your photographs, start by trying candid photoshoots to avoid making your subjects appear overly staged or posed. While your setting should be tidy, you can introduce a few imperfect elements to make it look real and lived in.
Shallow Depth of Field
Depth of field is a photography expression that refers to how much of the photo is in focus. A shallow depth of field means that your foreground is clear, but the entire background is blurry. This photo trend helps to emphasize the focal point of your image and communicate the story you are attempting to portray.
If you are a photographer who uses a DSLR camera, a shallow depth of field can be achieved when you set your camera to a low F stop number, allowing more light to enter the camera.
As society takes a turn towards being more politically engaged, the images we use are changing to reflect that. This means an emphasis on people with different stories, backgrounds, skin colors, gender expression, body types, and levels of ability. If you work with models in your photography, make an effort to increase diversity when you choose who you want to work with.
The trend of using vibrant accent colors to create an exciting (but visually cohesive) composition won't be going away any time soon. This use of bright colors is especially popular in commercial photography trends, food photography trends, and product photography trends. Product photographers love to be intentional about their use of color, especially when it comes to creating a flat lay composition. When you bring bright colors into your images, choose tones that complement your client's brand and products. Combine more colorful elements with minimalism, making sure that every component you choose to include will work well with each other so that your photographs don't become overwhelming to look at.
Food photography trends also tend to use complementary colors in their staging to make the story come to life. Simplify your composition so that none of the things you include take away from the overall look of your photographs. Less is more when it comes to choosing accent colors: focus in on one or two harmonious colors rather than including the entire rainbow.
With people around the world staying at home, still life photography has been making a big comeback amongst amateur photographers and professionals alike. Individuals are finding inspiration in everything from a curated selection of their favorite objects to a new perspective on ordinary things found around the home.
When deciding what to include in your still life, take into consideration the scale, texture, color, and composition of your objects and how they work together to communicate the stories that you want to tell with your self expression. One of the most commonly used photography techniques for capturing still life images is the flat lay, where you take your photograph from a bird's eye view, so that your audience can look down at the overall composition you've created.
With everything that's been going on in the world this past year, people need support more than ever, and that is translating more and more into the content we create and consume. Communicating our intimate and relatable emotions through photography is a great way to connect people around the world, in spite of cultural and physical barriers, by emphasizing a common shared experience.
If you want to introduce more emotion into your images, start with a setting that is familiar and comfortable for your subjects. You can even ask to photograph them in their own homes! Another simple tip for photographing emotion is to ask your model to do something they feel passionate about, whether that means picking up their favorite musical instrument, cooking, or playing with their children or pets. Focus in on the eyes and facial expression of your model, and don't underestimate the power of candid portraits to capture genuine, unplanned emotion.
With new technological advances, video is more popular (and accessible) than ever. You can even use your smartphone to create high quality videos, but make sure that you use the back-facing camera, not the front. There are tons of different ways to experiment with videography, from using a drone to creating cinemagraphs (where one section of your photo is moving to create depth and visual interest). Lighting is key when it comes to videography, and you'll definitely need to pick up a stable tripod.
Mobile Phones vs DSLR
These days, cell phones can do pretty much anything. In recent years, mobile phone companies have been making an effort to adapt their phones into high quality cameras. As a result, the use of traditional and digital film cameras (as opposed to smartphones) has become a niche in itself. Some professional photographers even use their smartphones as their primary camera!
If you're interested in using your cell phone for photography, there are certain tips that will make the process more successful. For example, you should always clean your lens carefully and use natural light whenever possible. You can also make use of gridlines and the rule of thirds when framing your composition, and remember to move closer to your model or object instead of using zoom to maintain the quality of the final image.
You may have seen 360-degree photography on Facebook, but what you might not know is that 3D photos are becoming increasingly common in Ecommerce and architectural photography as well. 360-degree photography allows viewers to examine a product from multiple angles, or to see an entire room or building in one image.
To use 360-degree photography in your work, you may need to download an app depending on the type of smartphone you are using. You'll start with a panorama image that you edit in Photoshop or your favorite post-production software. Then it's just a matter of knowing what settings to use when you export your image!
Now that you know all about the newest trends that you can apply to your film photography, real estate photography or even the images you take to share on your social networks, get out there and take some beautiful pictures!
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