Visual trends are things that are gradually formed by different photographers in the process of shooting, based on their observation, tastes, current topics, and, of course, under the influence of related areas of the creative industry. This process is endless and continuous, that is why some trends were popular both in 2020 and will flow smoothly into 2021. It is very important not to confuse trends with short-term hot topics like the wildfire hype in Australia or hurricanes in Japan. In general, the problem of coronavirus can be attributed to such short-term phenomena, but until the pandemic recedes, the topic will be in trend.

The art of photography for all its years of existence has been divided into many types and genres. Accordingly, each of them annually has its own new fashionable trends. For a detailed analysis and consideration of them, more than one volume will be required. Therefore, we will consider some of them. Let's start with subject photography, although this does not exclude its use in fashion, portraiture or any other photography. Of the main directions for the development of such photography in 2021, the following can be highlighted.

  • Covid-19. Photos about quarantine, social distancing, teleworking, videoconferencing, vaccinations, hygiene and other related topics will probably be in demand for quite some time this year. First of all, this can be applied to photographers who shoot for stocks. Many people have already pretty much put on all these restrictions, and when they are mentioned, negative emotions arise, but still...
  • Shooting through glass. Shoot objects through glass, such as a vase, glass, or an aquarium that is partially or completely filled with water. For the sake of revelation, it was popular last year, but the topic is interesting to this day, because water refracts light differently, which gives a very interesting result.

  • Geometric pattern. Open composition geometric patterns are still in demand today. This is true in advertising and stock photography. On a separate line, we can mention this kind of pattern with cats sitting in different poses with hard shadows in the background.
  • Love to the animals. Smoothly from the cats we got to the animal world. In principle, the issues of protecting the "smaller brothers" have been relevant for many years and are not going to fade away. Photos of people with their pets, or just pictures of animals, where you can feel our love for animals, caring for them remains relevant and sow the day.
  • Home plants. This trend is aimed at the comfort and coziness of our homes. A background of flower abundance, the presence of house plants in the frame, or even a home garden will look great in the frame. Living in a "concrete jungle" you want to have a piece of nature at home. When photographing interiors, pay special attention to this trend - because it will create additional attractiveness in the pictures.

  • Shadows and smudges. This is a very highly specialized trend, primarily popular when shooting cosmetics. Although it may well be suitable for shooting other pasty substances. Hard shadows cast by a brushstroke create additional texture.
  • Paper scrapbooking. In a curtain sense, this trend is already losing its relevance, as well as torn paper with arms / legs sticking out of it advertising items. Although in some parts of the world paper crafts were not very popular, apart from a few large brands, this is apparently due to the significant cost of such filming and small / medium-sized businesses were simply not ready to pay the amounts during quarantine.
  • Mirrors. The topic with mirrors is also not new, but it is still interesting to the viewer - after all, using one or more mirrors in a subject photography, you can show the subject from different sides in one frame, which adds to the image of the viewer's involvement. In portrait photography, you can play with additional angles of a person, show only his reflection in pieces of mirrors, or even cover your face with a mirror and take a depersonalized frame.

  • People without a face. A very popular trend of 2020, which smoothly flows into the future, the essence of which is that a person is present in the image, but his face is not visible. It is cut off by the edge of the frame or is covered by some object, or turned away from the photographer. Depersonalization is very popular in advertising, stock photography and as an element of photo history in street photography.
  • Monochrome. This is another of the longest-running visual photography trends. The point is simple - there is one color in the image with some variation in brightness and color saturation.
  • Balance and geometry. This is a very, very relevant thing in 2021. We use geometric shapes and various objects, creating more complex compositions from them, where balance or imbalance is clearly expressed.
  • Neon. Neon shooting is a kind of flashback of advertising from the 80s and 90s, but in a modern manner - we use color filters for light sources. By illuminating the background and the subjects being shot with rich colors, we get the effect of neon signs, but with much more intense colors.

  • Miniature figurines. This trend originated in Asia. Sometimes similar works among American photographers were noticed, but the origins are somewhere in South Korea, China, Japan. In addition to the main items, advertising photographs actively use miniature figures of people, animals, superheroes and miniature copies of cars, airplanes and other familiar objects.
  • Minimalism should not be listed as one of the trends, nevertheless this trend is very popular, but this trend has been going on for several years. And, perhaps, this is more a matter of not even a trend. but some separate directions in visual, architecture, fashion. So, do not be lazy to make sometimes simple but juicy shots.
  • The next three points are more logical not to single out in a separate group, but rather to mark it as an "additional feature" to the main composition, a highlight. Mushrooms - it sounds funny, but recently one of the five kingdoms of wildlife has been very popular. Often, “budding mycologists” use mushrooms as one of their subjects in combination with several other trends. But on the Internet it is easy to find pictures where mushrooms are the main active object and it looks very cool. Panicles - different vegetation with panicles fits perfectly into the image, gives beautiful shadows to the background from hard light and perfectly matches in color with pastel tones and human skin. Among other directions, it should be noted the tendency in the frame to be natural and normal, to show imperfection in the frame. Recently there was hype over the excessive use of Photoshop in glossy magazines. Excessive detail and ultra-high quality of modern technology encourages photographers to take deliberately blurry, blurred and not sharp shots - many are tired of detailing when you see little things in the photo that are practically invisible to the naked eye, and the photographer, instead of showing his creative essence, is forced to spend a lot of effort on technical flawless frame.

After the trends in subject shooting, let's draw our attention to the general trends in the photography industry in 2021. It is important to follow the trends, since the provision of modern spectacular visuals is nothing more than the result of creative experimentation and careful analysis of one's experience. Through a high-quality image on social networks, people attract an audience that shares their aesthetics, interests and vision of the world. And when a loyal community gathers, inspired by your content, it becomes easier to develop a brand. The main task of visual content is to convey atmosphere, energy, emotion and create an impulse inside the beholder. An impulse of inspiration, motivation, the feeling that you and the author (brand / expert) are thinking in unison.

So, where to look when talking about technical trends. First of all, this is technical "imperfection". These are mobile photography (shooting with IPhone), online shooting in Zoom / FaceTime and shooting with devices that are a means of self-expression in themselves: film, old photo and video cameras ("soap dishes"), old phones, and more. Next, you should pay attention to naturalness, the most natural light and color in combination with a low exposure key. Complex shooting remains popular. Filming with complex visual effects, lighting and post-processing.

There are also emotional trends. Among them, the most popular will be: naturalness - people are tired of ideality, glossy pictures and after world events (pandemic, black lives matters, etc.) they will not want to return to it for a long time. Everything is shaky, there is no strength to pretend. Therefore, the existing trend towards the natural display of a person "as she/he is", his body, features, emotions will only intensify; web punk - shooting stories and people on the verge of common sense: non-standard types, crazy image or stylization, non-standard poses.

It is also very important not to lose sight of and closely follow the trends in photo processing, since having carried out a stylish and effective shooting, you can "miss the mark" due to the outdated finishing improvement and photo decoration. Modern trends this year will be: low exposure key, sepia, non-contrast b / w, grain, processing without processing (example of an ideal reference: film + low contrast); blurred photo, artistic imperfection of the image; combining digital and manual creativity. Any experiments are possible here: for example, atypical collage, multiple scanning of a printed digital or film photograph; using real art tools. Brush and paint strokes, markers, pastels, wax crayons, paper tape, embroidery, etc. - all over the photographs and for later scanning. Especially suitable for special projects.

Special attention to such a direction of the photography industry as a photo session should be paid. This type is one of the most popular, therefore every self-respecting photographer is obliged to follow its fashionable trends. Everyone wants to be on the wave of popularity and follow modern trends. Social networks have made their own adjustments - now we think not only about fashionable things and accessories, but also about fashionable ideas for a photo shoot. Accordingly, we will further consider what photo communities "breathe" with and what kind of photo sessions will be in trend.

Realism and body positivity

Gloss and artificially created masks become boring and annoying to more and more people. Today, you will not surprise anyone with retouched photos, on the contrary, they cause a smile or annoyance that a person is trying to hide himself behind a perfect picture. But open neglect of the exposition, foreshortening and other things also causes criticism and irritation of the public masses. In 2021, on the wave of popularity, frank realism, revealing life as it is, without embellishment. If this is a photo session in nature - the beauty and riot of nature, without "smoothed" backgrounds. Hair, tousled by the wind, squinting from the bright sun without fear of a net of wrinkles in photographs. If a photo shoot held in an urban jungle it is a reflection of all aspects. These are cracks in the asphalt, a broken tile, and a slightly lopsided sign. This is both the perfection of new buildings and the beauty of dilapidated houses. A kind of unkempt that is familiar to us from everyday life.

With regard to body positivity, the new movement has tightly captured the mind of mankind, and people increasingly refuse to play other people's games, exposing their soul and essence. Overweight? Yes, they can be pulled into a corset or hidden under the folds of clothing. But emotions caused by discomfort and self-doubt will be read on the face. Or you can relax and create great pictures with your extra pounds, imperfect eyelashes or slightly protruding ears. But at the same time, you will be in the photo, and not a wax figure, it would seem, similar to you. And most importantly, the sparkles in the eyes and the memory of the photo shoot are worth the love of body positivity.

Reflect your inner world

We are all alike and we are all different. Each of us has our own appearance, our own profession or vocation, our hobbies or dreams. If a few years ago, the trend was film-style photo shoots, events, retro photos, fabulous photo shoots, etc., now the fashionable idea for a photo shoot in 2021 includes the opportunity to reflect yourself, expose your inner world, your dreams and addictions. If you love reading books, then your trend is a photo session with a book. Do you like to play computer games? A themed photo shoot that reflects your passion. The main trend of photo shoots in 2021 is to reflect individuality, show personality, erase bias and cliches. If you are a photographer - peel off artificial husks, look for an approach to each client.

Magic realism

For those whose thoughts flow faster than dry realism can convey, photographers offer to plunge into magical realism with neon colors, unusual geometry and delightful solutions. Magical realism is a trendy idea for a photo shoot in 2021. As models, both bright representatives of subcultures and owners of a classic appearance, complemented by unusual makeup and extraordinary clothes, can act. In magical realism, the incompatible is combined, opposites are combined and play in contrast. Look for new solutions in your style and ideas.

Style in the frame

And again about individuality. Yes, template photo shoots are still in vogue, but they deliberately move towards anti trendy. Even if the photo session is thematic, the spirit of creativity, independence, a kind of anarchism and freedom should soar in the frame. The classic photo poses are being replaced by dynamic poses. In this case, it is not necessary to "catch" the model on the go. She/he can run, but freeze for a second and at this moment a shot is taken. The photographer should have his own style, which he reflects in the image, angle, light and tilt of the camera. At the same time, the model does not fit into the photographer's templates. On the contrary, her/his personality and style echoes the style of the master and a unique combination is created. As fresh as a gust of spring wind.

Photo session in the studio

Studio photography is still at the peak of popularity, but certain innovations are also visible in it. A fashionable idea for a photo shoot in 2021 in a studio is not cozy locations, but graphic backgrounds, textured putty in muted colors, as well as the entire palette of beige and brown. Special attention should be paid to colored backgrounds, which were used only occasionally before. Poisonously bright image, daring outfit on the background of acid orange or light green backgrounds - and you are on the wave of trends. Also, do not forget to combine facial expressions. A person is not a carnival doll, she/he does not smile 24 hours a day. So during a photo shoot, a person should not constantly stretch his lips, and girls should not portray fatal seductresses with half-open lips and a seductive bite of a lower lip. These templates are so worn out that they make people sore.

Photoshoot in Vogue style

For those who still love luxury, beauty and glossy photos, there are good news - there is a direction that will be in trend. One of the trendy ideas for a photo shoot in 2021 is a Vogue style photo shoot. In short, the philosophy of Vogue-style is that every girl, woman or grandmother deserves a glossy cover. A photo session in Vogue style does not suppress individuality, but only helps to become bright, attractive, and unique.

The image is in the smoke

Do you want to create a special atmosphere and be ready to work hard at the same time? Fashionable idea for a photo shoot this year - a photoset with artificial colored smoke. Depending on the idea, it can be either daylight street light or studio light. Photo sessions with colored smoke in the dark, illuminated by a spotlight, look especially luxurious.


How do you feel about contemporary art? If you are delighted, there is another fashionable idea. And this is a photo session with the use of illusions. To work, you will need ingenuity (well, or partial plagiarism from modern geniuses), mirrors, a play of light and shadow, etc. Such a photo session is very laborious and difficult. But the result will be admired by everyone: the photographer, the model, and those who can appreciate the result of creative ambitions.

Digital decadence

Digital decadence is another innovative trendy direction for a fashionable idea for a photo shoot in 2021. Such work, most likely, will not be suitable for social networks, if your pages do not have an audience of true connoisseurs of art. But this trend is good for photo shoots, the result of which will be paintings, posters, a special album for memory.


The world of the future attracts and captivates us. One of the trendy ideas for a photo shoot in 2021 is working in the style of nanotechnology. Silvery suits with a laconic graphic cut, boards, imitation of electronics are welcomed. Such photo sessions are performed on plain backgrounds, or among countless looped mirrors or screens. This is only gaining momentum and will become a real explosion on social networks.

So these were current trends in photography only in a few genres of photo art. Hope after reading everything that was mentioned above, there will be inspiration to create new amazing and spectacular shoots.