Top Photography Trends to Adopt

Posted on February 7, 2023 | Updated on October 31, 2023

Photography started in the early 1800s in France. Camera obscura image projection combined with the understanding of light and its impact on objects made the first photographs possible. From there, photographic technology advanced until today we can snap an image with a portable smartphone and common people fully understand how to make the most of top photography trends.

Whether you snap a few photos for your brand’s website presence or you’re a professional photographer, it’s important to understand popular photography trends and why they’re loved. Designs can look quickly dated without an understanding of modern methods. 

Is Photography Growing or Shrinking?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates photography will grow at a 9% annual rate, which is higher than average for most jobs. Some of the popular categories include portrait photography and wedding and event.

However, when you look at photography trends, it’s clear other areas are in demand, too. For example, product photography grows alongside e-commerce demand. The United States e-commerce market is worth an estimated $419.9 billion and growing at a 9.3% rate. 

You can learn from each photography trend and improve photos for your business or your photography company with each new lesson. What are some of the top trends that are likely to stay around?

1. Rustic Backgrounds

Natural, rustic backgrounds help set the tone for various types of products. You might place products on a wood surface or something with a bit of texture. The composition of your product shots can make or break sales.

You also want to ensure images are similar for the same company website. If you offer a variety of products, you might choose one trend for one category and something different for another. 

photography trends rustic background
Rustic backgrounds give photographs a homey, country feel. 

You might feature backgrounds such as:

  • Grass 
  • Trees 
  • Stumps and logs 
  • Wood tables, fences or walls 
  • Rocks and natural stone

Anything you can find in nature works well as a rustic background. 

2. Minimal Vintage

A recent photography trend offers a nod to vintage without a full-blown retro look. The photographer might include some vintage colors, add a touch of fade to the edges of the photo or vignetting. 

photography trends vignette
Vignetting softens a photo and gives it a somewhat vintage feel. 

To achieve this look:

  • Soften the edges
  • Find a central focal point versus rule of thirds
  • Worry less about lighting

You’ll achieve this look through editing, but the positioning of the subject matters when you take the photo.

3. Silhouettes

Silhouettes aren’t anything new. Photographers have taken photos of shadowy outlines as long as there’s been photography. However, they are making a comeback as one of the top photography trends around. 

photography trends silhouette
Show off a pose for a fitness site with silhouette photography. 

You’ll see silhouettes used frequently in wedding photography and maternity photos to showcase outlines and capture special moments. However, there’s no reason you can’t use it to showcase a special event at your company. Some other ways you could use silhouettes:

  • Hint at a new product release and build mystery
  • Make company about pages interesting and unique
  • Show off a special event

As social media sites with a focus on beautiful photography continue to grow, expect to come up with unique and exciting ways to reach customers. 

4. Goodbye DSLR

In the past, photographers always turned to high-resolution, DSLR cameras to get professional shots. However, the advances in smartphone technology put excellent cameras in the hands of anyone who owns a modern mobile device. 

photography trends mobile phone cameras
Today’s smartphones come with powerful, high-resolution cameras.

Some of the advantages of a smartphone camera include:

  • Your phone and thus camera is always on you for candid shots
  • No need to carry multiple piece of equipment
  • Has a more natural look
  • Easy to upload to the cloud

In a recent survey of 881 people who take pictures for work, around 64% of professional photographers stated they take over 50% of personal photos with their smartphones. Not quite as many use them for jobs, but the number keeps growing. 

Expect to see many more photography trends spring from the use of smartphones, such as specific editing styles and square photos. 

5. Masks and Distancing

When you think about photography trends, you might not think about the ways the pandemic impacted professional photography. However, many companies think about these issues when coming up with brand photos.

photography trends masks and distancing
The images we showcase today look quite different from pre-pandemic. 

For example, industries impacted by COVID-19 changes include:

  • Restaurants
  • Hospitality
  • Medical offices
  • Small retail businesses

Photography trends you’ll notice include more distance between people in a photo. Some or all may wear masks. Diners in a restaurant will have additional space between them. The world is different now, and so are the way photographers set up shots. 

6. Subtle Filters

The use of social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok have spurred an entirely different set of photography trends. Even Facebook offers filters for the “Stories” people post. The filters were really bold in the beginning. Think Snapchat adding deer antlers to an image. However, time has made them less pronounced and a filter might only slightly soften an image or add some minor effect.

photography trends subtle filters
The result of subtle filters is natural looking but interesting. Some look almost ethereal. 

The key to using professional photographs and filters on social media is to stick with similar filters throughout. You don’t want two images side-by-side that are vastly different. If one is bold and unfiltered and the other soft, users will feel you aren’t authentic. 

Keep Watch for New Photography Trends

Some trends take hold in the industry and become mainstays. Others are there for a minute and then fade away like an old photograph left unprotected from the elements. Keep an eye on what other professional photographers and businesses do with their images. If you like the way something looks, try it out on your photos. You can always change things up and get rid of what doesn’t work. Have fun with the latest techniques and changes in technology. 

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About The Author

Coraline (Cora) Steiner is the Senior Editor of Designerly Magazine, as well as a freelance developer. Coraline particularly enjoys discussing the tech side of design, including IoT and web hosting topics. In her free time, Coraline enjoys creating digital art and is an amateur photographer.

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