New and upcoming photography trends to look out for (for the rest of 2023 and beyond)

First published:
March 14, 2023
Updated:
January 31, 2024

New and upcoming photography trends to look out for (for the rest of 2023 and beyond)

First published:
March 14, 2023
Updated:
January 31, 2024

Juice shop by Tom Parkins

The latest trends in photography you might want to try for yourself

Just like other areas of art and culture, trends in photography come and go. What might be a big and popular trend one year, might fade away, be completely replaced or stick around for many years.

Some aspects of photography will be perennially popular, but others might seem to appear overnight. These days, it’s quite easy to spot or find new trends, with the prevalence of sharing online. If you find a trend you like, or find inspiring, it’s worth seeking out hashtags related to that trend so you can see more of it.

It’s also quite easy to have a go yourself at a lot of these, some of are straightforward, and some rely on editing which you can always adjust down the line in if you shoot in raw format and a typical style falls out of fashion.

If you’re not sure where to begin with spotting some trends, here are some big ones which are making waves right now and look set to stick around for at least a little while.

Authentic, minimal editing 

Images which don’t appear to have been heavily edited are popular in many genres, including landscape. Photo by Clive Ingram - f/16 | ISO 64 | 1/50s

In a world proliferated by “fake news” and an increasing emphasis on artificial intelligence, it perhaps comes as no surprise to learn that authentic imagery with minimal or even no editing is proving very popular.

These days, people seem to want to see “real” people and situations in all their glory, without the saturation slider ramped up to the top and the pores removed from faces.

Of course, this may mean you spend more time getting it right in camera, or it may mean creating a cleaner, more natural look in software such as Photoshop which gives the appearance of a lack of editing.

People also seem to be tiring of the heavily filtered Instagram posts that were once so popular when the app first launched. Think carefully about your next set of images - would they benefit from a lighter touch than perhaps you’re used to. Perhaps you might also want to go back through your portfolio and reduce some of the editing you’ve done in the past (again, if you have the original raws, this is a lot easier).

Search for hashtags such as #nofilter, #noediting, #unedited, #uneditedphoto and so on to get an idea of what’s going on.

Neon noir, low key imagery 

Most towns and cities will have opportunities for creating noir-esque nightscapes. Photo by Tom Parkins - f/4 | ISO 800 | 1/50s

Looking like something out of a movie, low-key night time images, preferably with some kind of neon element are having a bit of a moment right now.

The beautiful vibrant yet somehow muted palette of a city after dark is commonly found in big cities like Tokyo or New York, but most people can find something similar - if not exactly the same - in their own towns and neighbourhoods if they look hard enough.

Playing with the weather in your shots to create an even more dystopian look can also be quite thrilling.

For inspiring shots, look for hashtags like #neonnoir, #neonnights and #neoncity. 

Bold and vibrant colours 

Bright, bold colours are having a moment in photography, art and fashion right now. Photo by Tom Gowanlock - f/10 | ISO 400 | 1/50s

After a couple of terrible years for the world, arts, culture and fashion seem to be reacting by celebrating life with explosions of colour.

Not so long ago, muted pastels, greys and beiges were a big deal, but these days bold, vibrant, luminous and wacky aesthetics seem to be more in favour.

In photography this can be anything from seeking out boldly coloured architecture, creating colourful abstracts, dressing in models in vibrant shades and more besides. 

Again, this is something you can try with re-editing of older photos - perhaps you toned down the brightness in something, you could try re-upping it, or cropping to only include the bolder areas of a shot. If you don’t have anything suitable, try heading out into the world and looking for those shocking and vibrant colours. 

Check the hashtags #brightaesthetic, #boldcolours and #brightfashion to get a good starting point.

Minimalism

Minimalism in landscape photography offers a different viewpoint from the norm. Photo by Dominique Dubied - f/11 | ISO 100 | 1/250s

The minimalism trend in photography has been around for a while, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere just yet. This isn’t the same as minimal editing - it’s all about the contents of your photograph. 

It can go hand in hand with mindful photography techniques, whereby you slow down to really appreciate the world around you - looking for clean and clear lines in your shots. It can also just be an aesthetic choice, too. 

Look for scenes which don’t have lots of distracting elements - perhaps create shapes and contain only a couple of colours. This can be as simple as the sea against a blue sky, or it could be straight lines on a road. You might try to incorporate large swathes of negative space in your shots. Really, anything goes so long as it leaves you with a calming feeling. 

Search for the hashtags #minimalismphotography, #minimalphotography and #mindtheminimalism.

Vertical images

Vertical images show you a different perspective - and are ideal for social media. Photo by Primpaul - f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/20s

This is perhaps no surprise given the prevalence of social media trends such as Instagram Stories and TikTok. These days, the vertical image has arguably never been so popular.

For traditional photographers, the simple notion of rotating your camera 90 degrees might be something you never, or almost-never do, whereas for smartphone users, the opposite might be true.

The world looks different in portrait format, than landscape format, and it can be a real step outside the comfort zone if you're not used to shooting in this way. Different fields of view are created and you’ll see your subject completely at odds from normal.

Give it a go - or perhaps you could try cropping some of your existing landscape-format pictures into the portrait format and seeing what you come up with. 

Abstract

Creating abstract images by picking out small details and filling the frame is very popular. Photo by Cosma Andrei - f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/500s

With more than 3.6m instances of the hashtag #abstractphotography on Instagram, it’s pretty clear that this is a big trend.

The great news is that it’s one that is perfect for trying out even within the confines of your own room, home, or street. Looking for small details and creating entire vistas out of them is a fun challenge that can ignite some fun into your portfolio.

Experimental or unusual photography techniques are also quite popular at the moment, with typical analogue styles such as double exposures - something which can easily be created either in-camera or with specialist apps for your smartphone, having a bit of a renaissance. 

Other hashtags to look out for include #experimentalphotography, #abstractphoto, and #photoexperiment. 
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