Digital cameras have successfully reversed the decline that photography was suffering towards the end of the 20th century, and there are now more casual, hobbyist, and professional photographers than ever before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there has been an accompanying increase in the size of the photography market as well.
This increase is particularly acute in the online sector, helped along by the large number of galleries and exhibitions which were closed or cancelled during 2020. In our modern, social media-centric world, those who are looking at buying photography online are just as keen to explore the latest trends as the photographers themselves.
To that end, we have taken a deep dive into the endless resource of photography information, tips, and tricks that can be found on the web in 2021. Whilst predicting can never be an exact science, there are plenty of patterns beginning to emerge which provide fascinating clues as to what the hottest photography trends might be as we move into 2022. Let’s take a look!
Predicting what styles might be popular a year from now is incredibly difficult in every area, but on the plus side, art seems to have a much longer shelf life than the latest fashions or popular music. Here are five styles which seem to be gaining traction in late 2021, and could explode in the coming months:
Sharply contrasting (no pun intended) the look of the minimalist and unedited styles we’ll be discussing shortly, at the other end of the spectrum there seems to be a push towards using ever brighter and stronger colors. With upwards of a million images shared on sites such as Instagram and Facebook every day, it can seem impossible to make your shots stand out from the crowd.
Some photographers are not impressed, however; photography is usually about capturing accurate, natural scenes. On the other hand, the trend within the wider art world towards graffiti and street art has made it “cool” to walk in the opposite direction to established trends. So, color? Or dark and moody? Which side will find a place in your work, or on the walls of your home?
The camera market has been built on top of photographers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for greater complexity and an ever-expanding suite of options and features. In recent years, progress appears to have slowed down suggesting that camera technology might finally have matured past the level which many photographers require.
Composition, color management, lens selection, and post-production; these techniques (and many more) are now seen as essential to getting a good shot. Some photographers now believe it is time to take a step back, refocus on the subject, and take a more minimalist approach to getting the “perfect” shot. Simpler scenes require less time to set up, allowing photographers to be more spontaneous with what they capture.
Taking minimalism to what some might call an extreme level is the trend towards unedited photographs – a brave choice when photographers know that their work is likely to be compared to filtered, retouched images captured by their competitors.
Nevertheless, this trend towards unfiltered beauty has been evident in the marketing and fashion worlds for some time now, so it is unsurprising that it seems to be spreading to the art world as well.
It is slightly easier to predict how things are likely to progress as far as photo technology is concerned, as capturing pictures has effectively become a utility function of our devices. The temptation to fight back against the seemingly unstoppable progress of technology has thrown up a couple of wildcards, however:
Back on Film
When film was the only option for taking photographs, it was often seen as being too difficult for casual and amateur photographers to use. The ability to view your picture immediately after taking it sparked a revolution, helping those who were unfamiliar with the multitude of settings on their camera to experiment and learn much faster than was possible in the past.
Surprisingly, an increasing number of people are now flocking back to the film-based cameras which were shunned in the past. Film forces photographers to think much more about what they want to capture and getting the perfect shot first-time means dedicating plenty of time to choosing the right modes and settings beforehand.
Many younger photographers are now exploring dark room techniques for the first time, rather than relying on filters and retouching software to enhance their creativity.
Sony Mirrorless Cameras
The digital SLR was a breakthrough product, finally convincing many professional photographers to ditch their film-based cameras and move into the digital age. Smartphones and compact cameras are quickly catching up with their more expensive cousins however, leaving some photographers wondering if they really need to carry a bulky, heavy, SLR camera to capture their latest shots.
At the professional end of the market, Sony’s mirrorless Alpha 7 series has plenty of fans. With a resolution of up to 61MP at 10fps it’s easy to see why, but the cameras are currently prohibitively expensive for enthusiasts. It will be interesting to see if these technologies can topple the DSLR as the professionals go-to camera next year.
360 Degree Photography
The use of 360-degree imaging to share accurate views of properties for sale has been growing steadily over the past decade, but looks set to explode into the wider photography market next year. Shooting panorama’s of outdoor scenes has proved popular with smartphone owners, and virtual reality headsets are now able to take these images and map them back into view at a later date.
Expect to see 360-degree drones become much cheaper next year, and ever more creative ways of sharing the finished images such as physical globes.