It’s odd to consider from our modern perspective, but photography wasn’t possible until 19th-century inventors developed a way to etch light onto a plate to capture an image. This means photography is as much a technological application as it is an artistic pursuit. The two go hand-in-hand.
Flash forward to 2020. Photography trends continue to evolve alongside technological advancements and artistic tastes. Only today, the technology to produce and share amazing photographs is more widespread than ever, meaning anyone can influence its artistic direction.
And 2020’s photography trends demonstrate that influence.
Smartphones have shortened the technological gap between their cameras and their digital peers. The largest leap came recently with the iPhone 11 Pro and its three rear lenses— the “wide,” “ultra-wide,” and “telephoto” lenses.
All of them sport an impressive 12-megapixels, and together they allow the iPhone to perform some magnificent feats of photographic excellence.
The real game changer is shaping up to be that telephoto lens. With it, smartphone shutterbugs can get 2x optical zoom without harming image quality. This helps smartphone users to capture better pictures of faraway subjects.
It also allows for an improved Night mode, where the lens takes in more light to remove noise from those low-light scenarios. Enhanced add-on lenses can push the iPhone’s capabilities even further.
As long as there are winter wonderlands and sunsets over the bay, the horizontal shot will have its place. But smartphones are the world’s camera now, so the vertical orientation continues to trend upward.
Unlike a camera, which orientates horizontally by default, a smartphone is held in the vertical position. It just feels natural. This means the more photos taken with smartphones, the more will be vertically oriented.
Selfies and portraits look great this way, and the devices we use to view them—which are smartphones—frame the images best with this orientation.
With that said, don’t feel you have to force your photo to fit the trend. If your desired composition looks better horizontally, go for it!
Other technological shakeups
Of course, technology exists outside the smartphone. New technologies and advancements in old favorites will impact the way we take and view photos. Here are a couple trending examples to look for in 2020:
- The digital single-lens reflex camera (or DSLR) was the king of the photographic hill. But today it’s losing ground and not just to smartphones. Digital mirrorless cameras can match or beat the image results of the best DSLRs with less weight, a more compact chassis, and fewer accessories.
- Drones continue to annoy as much as they inspire, but as the price of the technology drops, the popularity of drone photography will increase.
- Today’s cameras can create stunning and intriguing panoramic and 360° shots. These images can immerse viewers and capture the presence of being in the moment. As technology like virtual reality becoming more available, these images may see more use beyond real estate and Google maps.
- Augmented reality (or AR) photography allows text, cartoons, and other paraphernalia to be placed directly on a photo. Right now, it’s used for gimmicky additions like planting a Pokèmon on a friend’s shoulder. But it may find a role in education and to blur the lines between photography and animation. Keep an eye on it.
The increased desire for authenticity has disrupted everything from advertisement efficiency to celebrity relatability to company viability. That wider trend has made its way into photography. Real, natural, and above all candid photos are in.
Look for those action shots and quiet moments that speak toward real life, while shying away from the manicured, the pristine, and the perfect. Even studio sessions with artificial light and backdrops should aim for that honest expression.
Does that mean editing is out? Not exactly. Minor edits will be acceptable and may be preferable if they help the composition evoke its essence. But the heavily edited image that removes all imperfections will find fewer fans.
It’s a bit ironic. Photography is a tech-obsessed pastime, yet photographers can’t get enough of the outdoors. With candid photography getting the likes, the call of the wild will be even stronger in 2020.
Wildlife doesn’t pose for the camera, so sincerity is guaranteed. Just shoot quickly or you may miss your opportunity.
New technologies and better lenses will make macro photography more accessible to more people. And a vast, open, beautiful landscape never goes out of fashion.
Nature continues to sneak its way into more traditional photographic events, too. Think weddings and family portraits. The trending photographer will find unique ways to make that connection strong in their compositions.
Vivid and vibrant
There are a lot of photos on the internet. A lot. We can’t even keep track of all the photos on our hard drives. Because of this barrage of images, photos with vibrancy and color will be the ones to catch our attention.
Lucky for photographers, brightness abounds in our lives. We just need to look for it.
Get outside during those golden and blue hours. Discover how the city comes alive at night, or how neighborhoods light up on the holidays. And art museums are chockablock with gorgeously vivid subjects.
Minimalism offers a true challenge to the photographer, but the rewards are unparalleled when done right.
It can be a single reed against a still lake. It can be a lone succulent carefully place in a window, or a child in a brightly colored coat contrasting with a white stucco wall.
This trend may seem at odds with 2020. Does minimalism mean limiting color? Does it mean curbing those candid actions or slice-of-life moments? Not at all.
Minimalism simply means utilizing the fewest elements with deliberate placement aimed to generate the most intense effect. Simplicity and sparseness are key, but there is no limit to what those colors, backgrounds, and elements can be. Let your artistry cut loose.
Making photo books on iOS
Our final 2020 photography trend blends art and technology seamlessly. It’s making photo books on the go with your iPhone or iPad. Thanks to Motif’s iOS app, you can create a photo book with all the tools and amenities you love on the macOS platform.
Its Autoflow system curates your photos to select the very best. It then constructs an attractive photo book spread in mere seconds.
For the DIYer, Motif’s suite of user-friendly tools let you crop, arrange, and dictate text on the fly. You also get access to all of Motif’s layouts and backgrounds to make your photos pop on the page.Download Motif iOS on the App Store today and make your memories trend for years to come.