As a creative medium, photography is perhaps one of the most fluid. The continuous evolution of technology and the changing world means more options for creative expression through the lens. The past year has been particularly challenging and inspiring for photographers, spurring new trends and focal points. Here are six memorable photography trends for 2021.
Drone photography has been rising in popularity in recent years, partially due to the increased accessibility of drone technology. According to Run Gun Shoot, video content creators and photographers can get the affordable DJI Mini 2 for less than the price of a DSLR camera. The accessibility of drone technology also ties into a burgeoning photography trend of capturing stills from videos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also fueled this trend, as it allows for better distance photography and depth. Whether you’re exploring scenic landscapes while staying away from crowds or capturing historical events and protests, drone photos add a new perspective.
Distance and Dimension
It’s hard to believe the term social distancing has only existed for a little over a year. It’s the need for social distancing that has created so much complexity for photographers and disrupted the industry so severely.
Fortunately, you can always count on the creatives to turn adversity into opportunity. Photographers are exploring new angles and spacing when photographing groups, using distance and dimension to create incredible (and safe) photos. Whether it’s a large family scattered over an open landscape or fashion models staggered on a large staircase, the wide-angle, zoomed-out trend of the past year has been a bright spot in challenging times.
In the past few years, there’s been a significant shift in perceptions around photo editing. The body positivity movement has highlighted the mental health implications of growing up in an airbrushed world and how distorted our perception of the world becomes through over-editing. In response, many photographers are moving away from heavy editing and embracing the natural beauty of the world and its people.
The cry for more authenticity and transparency has been spearheaded by initiatives like Aerie Unretouched and inclusive businesses like Knotty Knickers. Many photographers who typically relied on Photoshop and airbrushing are pushing back as well, pushing for diversity, inclusion, and representation through their work.
As technology improves, high-quality cameras become more accessible. The small point-and-click digital cameras are an entirely different creature from what they were even a decade ago. Smartphone cameras are capable of capturing stunning, clear images without the need for bulky equipment.
This accessibility has sparked a new trend of minimalism in photography. Many photographers are leaving their bulky equipment behind and focusing on honing their skills with minimal gear. This back-to-basics approach works well with the influencer lifestyle and modern marketing considerations as well.
Another trend that evolved from the events of 2020 is the introduction of remote photoshoots. With this trend, photographers are using video conferencing software like Zoom to facilitate the photoshoot. They direct the subject on how to position the camera and how to pose while using screen captures from the session.
While the clarity and crispness of these photos are incomparable to in-person shoots, there’s novelty and a sense of timeliness that make them worthy of note. The subtle grain from the webcam also adds a vintage feel to many of the images, perfectly capturing the essence of our strange modern times.
Nature Meets Materialism
Finally, the need to be outdoors and socially distanced has revolutionized fashion photography in the past year. The runway for London Fashion Week in fall 2020 was a path in the forest, allowing the models to stay safe and distant while showcasing the hottest trends of the upcoming season. Many fashion photographers are following suit, creating a unique crossover between nature and materialism.
It should be interesting to see how these photography trends evolve over the coming years. For now, these are memorable trends worth trying for aspiring photographers navigating these turbulent times.