Have you ever felt like the photography world keeps turning, and turning, and turning, and you’re not movin’ on? Considering just how fast technology evolves and photography trends change, we can assure that you’re not the only one feeling like this. As new styles and techniques emerge, you might sense the urge to do a 180 degree turn and update the entirety of the work featured on your photography website. Before you do that, we have only one thing to say: Don’t.
Trends come and go, and in the end all you’re able to offer is your personal style. There are a few reasons why you should keep up with photography trends, none of which include jumping blindly into them. Staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the industry can be a great source of inspiration. Maybe even introduce you to new creative concepts that you’ve never known about or tried before. Ready to take a look into the future? These are some of the main photography trends you should keep an eye on in 2019:
01. Film photography is more alive than ever
My mother always says that “everything comes back.” She’s usually referring to the clothing styles from her youth, but it turns out that the saying is just as relevant when it comes to photography trends. The number of photographers going back to film, either full or part time, is growing exponentially. Online platforms have become a blooming field for analog enthusiasts looking to connect with one another.
There are so many reasons why we love film photography, and contrary to what it may seem, nostalgia is not the main one. Most consider analog cameras an amazing tool to improve their technical and creative skills. Eliminating the possibility to check the results immediately forces photographers to learn how light affects every scene, rather than simply relying on trial and error.
02. DSLR cameras are becoming a niche
“You need great gear to be a great photographer” is one of those photography myths as pretty much everyone knows this statement is incorrect. Despite this, it has always been considered a no-brainer that photographers need to shoot with DSLRs. Not including medium format and film cameras, DSLRs are considered “the serious option” for those with a passion for photography. However, the appearance of mirrorless cameras and the rapidly developing smartphone technology is challenging its dominance.
Smartphones and mirrorless cameras are significantly smaller and lighter than DSLRs. This alone makes them incredibly attractive for amateur photographers, as well as those who can’t or don’t want to carry a lot of weight. The technology packed in both systems is narrowing the gap between them and DSLRs. So, are DSLR cameras dying? No, not anytime soon. Basic factors – such as ergonomics, battery life and lens selection – are typically in favor of DSLRs. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preferences.
03. Video is taking over portfolios of all genres and styles
Back in the ‘70s everybody was kung fu fighting, nowadays everybody is shooting video. There are so many factors behind this trend. It’s now possible to record high quality videos with nearly any camera, and so photographers are more likely to explore this part of media. Showcasing videos also means that people are most likely watching your work for a longer period of time than they would with still images. In the era of social media (where attention spans have reduced to a fraction of a second) having people focus on your creations for more than a split second can be considered as a huge success.
From a creative and documentational perspective, video offers the possibility to capture a much more complex and evolving story. It’s no longer about freezing that decisive moment, but also showing what led to it and what happened afterwards. On top of that, for professional photographers, learning videography means that they can widen their service offering.
04. Dramatic landscapes to end the minimalism reign
There was a time where minimalism took over the photography world. Compositions were built around a clear subject that was alienated from its surroundings by leaving a lot of white space. Bright exposures and pastel tones wrapped it all up as a beautiful, calm package. However, we now find ourselves on the opposite side of the spectrum. Moody exposures have emerged to take over the realm of beautiful landscape photos.
Photographers are now using the whole frame to compose their shots, making sure that no part of the end result can be perceived as dull. What was previously considered bad weather is now seen as the perfect opportunity to take some jaw dropping shots. While this photography trend has been growing for some time now, it appears that there will be some interesting changes in 2019. Photographers are moving away from underexposed and unsaturated pictures towards higher contrast levels and more vivid colors.
05. It’s time to raise awareness about environmental causes
Photography has been used as a tool to give visibility to humane causes since its early days. However, this trait has often been limited to photojournalism. For the other genres, photography was more of an art expression. This fine line separating these two views of photography is now disappearing. Over the last few years, social and environmental awareness have drastically increased and social media platforms provide the best suited megaphone for these causes.
Photographers are no longer sticking to the saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In fact, long descriptions can put every scene and moment into perspective, making them a frequent trend today. And many renowned photographers have become active ambassadors of NGOs and are using their images to provoke change. Learn how to reach out to brands to expand the reach of your work and help change the world.
06. Drones will soon be as common as clouds
Not that long ago, aerial photography was something only those very wealthy or really lucky had access to. It was hard to even imagine how the area surrounding us looked from above. Google Earth just didn’t quite cut it. Then came the first drones. They were much cheaper than helicopters, but still a far stretch for most photographers’ budgets. Fast-forward to today, where you can buy a good quality photography drone for half the price of a mobile phone. What a time to be alive, indeed!
The drone fever is rapidly extending all over the world. Landscape and travel photography are the ones experiencing the strongest impact, but it’s nearly impossible to find a genre where drones are not being used. If you’re already following this trend or thinking about flying on over to it, make sure that you know the legal restrictions of the locations you’re planning to shoot and that you don’t disturb wildlife.
07. Candid photography is the new black
In a time where we’re constantly targeted by false information and modified images, people are looking for authenticity. Portrait photography is no longer something to admire, but a scene that we want to relate to. Impossible postures and sensual looks into the camera are no longer attractive. Viewers are searching for emotions, for smiles and gestures that feel genuine. This candid photography trend is not just limited to strict portraits, but anything including humans, such as fashion and wedding photography.
Photographers are getting out of the studio and having photo shoots out on the street. This allows them to capture less forced situations in which models can interact with everyday situations. While artificial light is still very much in use, the goal is to achieve the illusion of natural light look. As for weddings, many couples are choosing documentary wedding photographers over traditional ones in order to get more unique and spontaneous memories of the happiest day of their lives.
08. Animals are every photographer’s best friend
Wildlife and domesticated animals have earned a spot in our hearts and in portfolios of all styles. Many outdoor photographers have found that happiness is only real when shared with a four-legged best friend. Local fauna is an absolute must for travel photographers. Grooms and brides are including their cats and dogs in the photoshoots. And let’s not even start with children portraits paired with bunnies, chicks, and an endless fashion of baby animals.
To stay on top of this photography trend, brush up your pet photography skills and be prepared for a lot of adorable content on social media. Maybe you’ll even find a four-legged best friend of your own during the journey.
09. Vertical photographs for a vertical audience
In 2019, nearly three quarters of the total internet traffic is forecast to come from mobile users. The first conclusion you should take from this is that you must have a mobile friendly photography website. The second one is that most people will see your work on a vertical screen. For many photographers, this has actually made them adopt vertical photos as their default shooting format. But should you be following their steps?
You want your photos to be seen at their finest, that much is clear. Vertical photos are much more comfortable to consume on mobile, and are usually displayed at a larger scale. However, it is important to remember how the orientation of the frame affects the composition. Focus on what you want each image to elicit and the best way to capture it. After all, there’s always time to crop your photos after work to adapt them to social media formats.
10. The great outdoors are not going anywhere
And by that we mean that outdoor photographers are here to stay, at least, for another year. Continuing the momentum of 2018, breathtaking landscapes in seemingly remote locations will continue to populate social media for months to come. The vastness of this trend leaves room for may subtrends. For example, in the past we’ve seen many images of pictures being taken with a smartphone or shots of the views from the open back door of vans flood social media.
In 2019, one of the main subtrends within outdoor photography will be product photography. This applies to both online and offline advertising. Apparel, accessories, photography equipment, transportation, and accommodation are likely to be the main topics covered by these images.