If you want to create work that's in-demand, & aligned with current business & industry needs, learn how to stay ahead in the dynamic world of photography trends with our tips, & refine your photography accordingly...
In this guide:
- Market research data
- Press releases
- Photography institutions
- Galleries and trade shows
- Social media
If you're looking to produce photography work that corresponds with the current trends, it can be a minefield in terms of working out precisely what is popular and relevant, and what you should do about them in relation to your own photography practice.
These tips below will help you find out more about current trends, relevant news and data at a deeper level, and tailor your photography to suit ...
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1 Analyse market data that is publicly available
When it comes to current trends and what's popular in photography, there is so much data out there, it's just a case of knowing where to find it…
Many different areas of the photography industry put together annual reports and market research each year; which includes what images they see as being an upcoming trend, or what will be important in the future. They also analyse what is currently popular or relevant when it comes to photography as a medium and practice.
The places that produce these reports, or "state-of-the-photography-industry" insights are usually the big camera manufacturers, galleries and educational institutions related to photography, marketing agencies, and stock photography portals. These reports are widely available to read on their websites usually in the news area (Can do a quick Google too). You can normally download them, too, so you can read them in your own time on your iPad or tablet or print them out.
"Many different areas of the photography industry put together annual reports and market research trends each year, which includes what they see as being an upcoming trend."
Usually with stock photography websites in particular, they’ll provide a detailed breakdown of what types of images have been trending and selling, right down to the type of subject and what keywords were were commonly used to search for images over the course of the past year. Which can be hugely helpful, not just for stock images, but for all other areas of photography too.
Taking some time to read these reports and analyse the data within will provide you with a very detailed an in-depth look at findings on photography trends and what the industry imagines will be relevant in the future. Ideal for planning ahead and tailoring your practice toward what will be the new, popular thing in photography.
Just remember to look at data relevant to your niche of photography, or your market demographic. For example, if your primary customer base is intended to be in the UK, make sure you're looking at reports from UK sources!
2 Read press releases from big photography brands
Press releases from photography companies are a fantastic resource for discovering current or upcoming trends. Often new releases of cameras, retouching software, and new types of post-processing techniques can have a significant impact on photography trends.
For example, when a camera manufacturer is about to launch a new camera model, they’ll always do a press release for it. Usually, what’s currently trending or in demand will have a significant impact on their products, for example, many camera manufacturers are bringing out new models based on 35mm compact cameras–and that’s precisely because that 35mm look is so trendy right now.
You’ll usually find press releases in the press section of the manufacturer’s or company's website. But also, photography news sites like Fstoppers and PetaPixel will share information from releases too (see the tip below).
3 Follow influential photography institutions and news sites
World-leading photography institutions like National Geographic, Magnum Photos, and World Press Photo will always be influential sources for what is trending, newsworthy and current.
Follow these (or any leading institutions related to your niche) on their social channels and sign up for their email newsletters. By doing so, you'll be fed a stream of interesting and trending photography content, which you can use as a source of inspiration for your own work.
The same goes for photography news sites like, Fstoppers, PetaPixel and ePHOTOzine which are excellent sources for photography news, and provide daily updates on what's going. Again it's incredibly worthwhile signing up to daily bulletins and newsletters so you have the latest photography information sent directly to your inbox.
"...it is incredibly worthwhile signing up to daily bulletins and newsletters so you have the latest photography information sent directly to your inbox."
4 Go to photography events and exhibitions
If you're serious about creating images that line with the current trends and what's popular in photography, you should be making an effort to go to photography exhibitions and similar events; like photography trade shows. Which are usually held on an annual or semi-annual basis in most major photography markets..
In most large cities and towns, there will be some form of gallery where there will, more often than not, be a photography-related exhibition in their events calendar or schedule. In big cities, you'll find many of the world's most renowned galleries for photography, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Foam Gallery in Amsterdam and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. You could easily plan an entire trip just visiting the many galleries in one city. See our guide on the 10 best galleries for photography in the world.
By attending exhibitions, trade shows and events, you'll get an excellent all-round holistic idea of what's going on in the world of photography, who is leading with trends, and what to expect to be coming up in the near future. As well as all this, it's also a fantastic opportunity to network with other creatives and professionals in the photography industry. For more networking tips, see our dedicated guide.
5 Keep an eye on social media trends (but beware these change frequently)
Of course, one of the most obvious places for discovering what's currently trending in photography is to look at social media.
You'll find almost unlimited resources showing you what's happening in photography. Simply by searching through hashtags like #photography will give you millions of results.
However, it's always worth keeping in mind that social media trends can change incredibly quickly. Something may be trending for months, while something else might trend for only a day or so. With this in mind, don't put all your eggs into one basket when it comes to viewing social media for trends. What I mean by this is don't tailor your photography practice wholly to social media trends, as you'll likely find that it may be obsolete a short time later.
I hope the above tips give you a good idea and understanding of where you can find extensive information on photography trends that runs deeper than what you would typically see, particularly on social media.
Spending time looking at annual reports and market research from the big photography companies, reading press releases, following well-known photography institutions and attending galleries and shows will give an excellent all-around overview of what’s happening in the world of photography, both currently and what will happen in the future. So you can tailor your practice and potentially find new followers and customers for your photography.