Trends in life have a way of guiding much of what we do on a daily basis. You see this from how we dress to how we eat, exercise, and move about in our daily travels. Photography trends can be even more influential. These trends influence everything from how print and digital designs come together to how we interact on social media and in advertising. We look at and mimic filters and styles to popular angles. This part of the visual aesthetic can greatly impact how a project comes together.
Photography trends are dictated by a few things: The visual style of photographers, techniques that are gaining popularity in projects, the ability for images to work with other design elements, and even things such as social media filters.
The same photography trends that you might see in stock images (which we use as examples here) parallel to custom photos as well. Understanding photography trends is important for any designer because you’ll want to discuss photo options (and looks) before you begin a photoshoot for any design project to ensure that your visions are on the same page.
There are a number of ways to set the tone of an image and texture is certainly one of those. Backgrounds that have a rustic, natural appeal set the scene for many photos for everything from food photography to product placements and even services.
Rustic backgrounds can provide a somewhat neutral backdrop that’s harmonious and appealing. They can work with a wide arrange of subject matter and colors as well without getting in the way of the key elements of the photo itself.
What would you consider a rustic look? Generally, anything with a background having an organic feel and originating from nature.
Things to look for and consider when looking for good textures include:
Any rock element
Wood and wood grains
Looking for a bold and big impact? High drama is the way to go. These tend to be stunning images with a cinematic feel and are trending in a major way. You can achieve this look by selecting natural settings that help make your product stand out or work your magic in post. Either way, you want to give thought to the message you want to convey as well as the feeling it should give viewers.
Some useful examples of high drama photography include:
Settings and actions that almost don’t look real
Bold or unusual colors
Tight zooms and wide drone shots
Use of motion
Broad natural elements such as colorful skies and wide views
High contrast elements such as color on black and white
Silhouettes are back in a major way and for good reason.
The use of just a silhouette comes in very handy when you want to tease a product or build anticipation to its reveal. You might also utilize them as an accentor as a frame to draw attention to something specific.
What’s great about the use of silhouettes is that they can provide different areas of focus in a scene without highlighting the individual or product in the image. This makes silhouette options great if you are working with stock photos or don’t want to show specific individuals or worry with elements such as style trends (clothing options on models can quickly date photos).
Without a doubt, social media has been a strong driving force when it comes to the use of subtle filters. Instagram has had a hand in this for some time now and we have seen the spread throughout other platforms and options on phones and cameras.
One of the most popular uses of filters is with a softening of the light in images. Doing so helps create a bit of color cast. The muted tones help create a distinct feel for the image and go a long way to set the desired mood.
Bird’s Eye View
When getting a dramatic overview is the desired look, nothing checks the box quite like deploying a drone. Drone photography has made one of the most dramatic and cinematic looks very attainable to even the novice. More projects are using these images and videos to capture attention and really pull their target audience in.
Careful composition of the shot makes this photography trend work best. Not just any drone photo will do. You need the right eye to create a dramatic birds-eye-view that speaks to what you are trying to convey and that demands attention and even several practice runs.
Create images with strong shapes, identifiable and leading markers to hold and guide the eyes of the viewer. Images that pull you in are key as you try to take in all the details of the scene and understand the story the image is trying to tell.
Having discussed the use of filters, it is also key to understand when not to use them. Photos that look untouched or without overdone effects resonate with users as they are “authentic.” The imagery is more relatable to the viewer and thus authentic.
Authentic images would also be without the stage or posed look that is often associated with commercial photography – even though you are going to likely stage these shots. If using models, you want to be sure they aren’t overly made up and the background/setting isn’t exactly flawless and clearly staged.
This photography trend applies especially to websites, brands, and printed brochures and projects. In architecture, you would want the images to show people using it to prevent it from looking sterile and unused. You want to create a connection between that which is being featured to the end-user.
Bright colors that dominate are also creeping into photography. You can think of it in a similar way to the use of shadows and silhouettes. Color can be used in very much the same way.
Backgrounds, foregrounds, and brilliant accents draw users into photos and help them understand the content. The use of color also makes images stand out so that they are more visually intriguing. When used properly, selective coloring can be used to direct attention to a product or idea.
All of these photography trends can work together or as a stand-alone. The main thing is to utilize them in a way that is unique to you and your product/service and to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of ads flashing before people so take advantage of imagery, whenever possible, to make a statement.