Photography Trends 2021

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Here it is - our guide to photography trends 2021!

We take more and more photos with every passing year, and new trends seem to arrive more and more rapidly. You can keep one step ahead of the Instagram gang with our overview of the 2021 photo trends.

Street Photography in the Smartphone Age

Photography went through a revolution as the equipment became lighter and more portable. Candid photography, or street photography, pioneered a new approach to cataloguing everyday life. The new mobility and simplicity of the kit allowed for a new style that was jazzy and kinetic. Figures such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank became masters of this subjective and dynamic art.

Our age is seeing another revolution, as the phenomenal spread of smartphones has tipped the number of photos taken each year above one trillion. Cameras are simply everywhere, and the expectation of capturing and being captured is part of our routine experience like never before. This gives today’s street photographer the chance to push the form even further.

New photo trends for 2021. Young couple with a shopping cart.

Today’s subjects are more relaxed and open than ever before, so use this to your advantage. Approach total strangers. Keep a conversation going as you work. Shoot quickly and you’ll head off any lingering instinct to pose. As the formal distinction between Photographer and Subject becomes looser, trust is built up more quickly, and those precious moments of verité become less fleeting. Giving you more and more chance of catching one – for keeps.

A Wedding Photography Trend with an Extra Hit of Grit

It’s a tradition that’s as firmly established in Moscow or Singapore as catching the bouquet is in Bath or Edinburgh. The happy couple, still togged out in full wedding attire, are driven around on a whistle-stop tour of their town’s iconic locations for a string of photo ops. Even if you don’t have Sydney Opera House conveniently to hand, there’s sure to be an imposing town hall or romantic little bridge within driving distance.

Maybe the full hotspot tour is seen as a bit too grandiose in a country like the UK. But that shouldn’t mean that your special photoshoot needs to be confined to the studio. Scout out some less predictable outdoor locations and you can put together a daringly different set that will get other couples saying, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

Head away from the prettified town centre and seek out elegantly crumbling walls and forgotten backstreets. The cracked paving stones and shadowy corners of a secluded courtyard will contrast strikingly with a pure-white wedding dress or shiny-black Oxford shoes. Don’t be afraid to use flash to accentuate this. Picture-perfect wedding finery will only look more beautiful juxtaposed with a bold touch of grit. And if a hard-living street cat saunters into view, so much the better.

New photo trends for 2021. Newlyweds in a parking lot.

A new approach to wedding photography calls for a new approach to photo display. Try canvas prints to give your most stunning images the presentation they deserve. Pin-sharp resolution and unparalleled colour richness in combination with this stylishly traditional medium will be sure to leave your loved ones speechless.

Get Busy with Landscape Photos

Gianni Versace once said to his great rival Armani the immortal words, “Giorgio, less is a bore.” As in fashion, so in photography. The trend in recent years for strict restraint in landscape photos is set to be relaxed a little, so take the chance to experiment with audacious detail and unashamedly rich colours. A busy image can be just as striking as an austere, stripped-back photo with a clear point of focus. The key here is composition.

We know the natural world can be lush and dynamic as often as it can be quiet and spartan, so it’s time to embrace this diversity. Seek out uneven terrain and vibrant energy to give your image potency, while you please the viewer’s eye with verdant plant life and bold colours saturated with light.

Careful composition can make the difference between rich detail that enraptures and clutter that overwhelms. You’ll still need to leave areas of space so your image has room to breathe. Condense the action away from the centre to avoid stimulus overload. Just keep one fingertip in touch with the old traditions of restraint and you can dare yourself to go further – and ramp up the drama to the very edge of what you thought was acceptable.

A Crystal Clear Photo Trend – Learn to Play with “Bokeh”

Learning the rules of focus is an entry-level skill for any aspiring photographer. But as with any art, those with more experience will start to follow the maxim “know the rules and break them”. And this will be one of the photography trends 2021 ushers in – more adventurous approaches to focus, as more of us learn to distinguish between “good bokeh” and “bad bokeh”.

New photo trends for 2021. Man with an umbrella on a rainy evening.

The word derives from the Japanese for “blur” or “haze”. Any photo that’s not in very deep focus will feature bokeh one way or another. If the parts of your image that are out of focus produce a pleasing visual effect in themselves, then congratulations – you’ve achieved good bokeh. Shallow focus allied with creative composition can produce a rather unearthly but strikingly dramatic contrast. You can experiment with deliberately drawing the viewer’s eye away from the plane of focus and making a feature of blurry points of light and indistinct detail. Careful colour choices are essential to achieve the right balance, so you’ll need a bold palette for those parts of your photo that will appear out of focus.

Action! Pet Photography Freed from the Studio

There’s another sector of the photography market that could benefit from getting out of the studio. People love their pets so much that the allure of more sentimental pastel-hued portraits has been hard to resist. All that effort to get Buster to lie still for five minutes – is it really necessary?

Our pets are beautiful to us and we want to remember them that way. But it’s time for a new perspective, time to proclaim that an animal’s at its most beautiful when it’s doing what it loves. Think of a dog on a windy hillside, eyes shining and tongue hanging out, spattered with mud from nose to tail. Captured with real professional flair, this kind of spirited action shot will be a timeless reminder of any pet in its prime.

New photo trends for 2021. Happy husky running roaming free.

Get out to the countryside with the dog, or just step out the door into prowling territory with the cat. No posing or styling will be necessary. You won’t have to wait five seconds before your subject loosens up and starts doing what it was born to do – running, climbing, jumping…or maybe just scratching. Let instinct do half the work and your photos will soon come to life – naturally.

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