Photography trends – how to make a good picture in 2021?

January 27, 2021

Every year the best photographers all around the world compete for the honor of winning the World Photographic Cup. A few days ago WCP 2021 announced top 10 finalists and ‘Best of National Award’ winners. We see this as a great opportunity to discuss trends in modern photography and highlight those that will be of particular interest in the current year.

The beauty of imperfection 

Everyone has their own interpretation of what the perfect image should look like, but one thing that most of these photos have in common (especially on social media) is the pursuit of perfection. This is about everything – from the angle to composition and processing. At some point, over-polished and staged photographs began to seem boring and fake. 

This is why an emerging theme for this year is being authentic. Sometimes even a small imperfection makes a photo more candid and lively. It is a reminder that nothing is perfect in life; the new shot should be about non-standard angles, personal aesthetics, and everything else that emphasizes the value and uniqueness of your brand. Photoshoots with less makeup and more vibrant emotions are more likely to gain trust among your audience and potential customers.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels

Capturing emotions and feelings

Continuing with the previous trend, modern photography is also about showcasing your raw emotions and ideas. Capturing our feelings and associated emotions through photography is a great way to connect different people by highlighting shared experiences.

If you want to bring more emotion to your images, find a ‘native’ and comfortable environment for your models. Another simple tip is the photoshoot in action (for example during a wedding photoshoot): ask your models to do what they like. Focus on their eyes and facial expressions, and don’t underestimate the power of genuine, unplanned emotions. 

Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash

Inclusivity is more than just a trend

In many ways, photos we see in the media have created our culture and defined the standards of who and what is supposedly good, accepted, and valuable. However, the majority of people do not fit the ‘default’ description, and in reality, we are much more diverse than on media projects. Inclusivity means focusing on people with different life experiences, skin color, body types, genders, and ability levels. Being one of the most discussed topics in society, the support for diversity and inclusivity becomes a new direction in trend photography. This includes portraying people outside of stereotypes they are usually associated with and showing them at work, hobbies, with their partners and friends.

Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

Bright colors and neon flair

The trend of using bold colors to create a breathtaking composition isn’t going away anytime soon. The use of bright and neon colors is especially popular in commercial photoshoots, for example, in the food industry and fashion. 

If you want your photos to become widely recognized, play with neon elements. Shine and glow will turn any look into a catchy masterpiece. Neon photography is a kind of retrospective of 80s commercials but in a modern manner. By illuminating the background or subjects with rich colors, you can get the effect of neon signs. 

Photo by Masashi Wakui on Pixabay 

Back to nature

Regardless of the season, nature provides a light backdrop to create a simple homely atmosphere. For travel, there is nothing like a beautiful landscape to prove how stunning this place is. Even an ordinary park or garden is a good idea for photoshoots. If we’re talking about an indoor session, you can complement your background with plants, natural materials, and raw wood furnishings.

Moreover, the human impact on the environment and the steps we must take to save the planet remain among the most discussed issues. People integrate environmental and social criteria into their value system. We expect more companies to use the concept of environmental protection (for example, showing second-hand or recycled items) when shooting their products.

Photo by Alex Glebov on Unsplash

Vertical frame

For quite a long time, the vertical frame has been associated just with portrait photography and commercial posters. The era of mobile gadgets dictates its own rules – it is more convenient for all of us to hold the phone upright. No one wants to waste time on unnecessary editing, so most videos and photos are uploaded today vertically as well. The pandemic made this trend even more popular: we work and entertain at home, spending a lot of time with our phones. Vertical content shows no signs of slowing down, and we definitely don’t expect it to disappear in 2021.

Bottom line

Photo trends reflect our reality and show what has intrigued us over the past year, and even decades. With long-term lockdown and social protests that took place in different countries, photography 2021 will become one of the pillars for authenticity, diversity, and emotions. This means photographers should look for new creative ways to capture emotions, such as focusing on facial expression or body language and using natural surroundings to convey the meaning of a shot. 

Check Printbox Pro editor for professional photographers.