If you’ve skimmed through our 2018 visual trends, you might have noted that it’s an abundance of knowledge for marketers, designers, entrepreneurs and most importantly photographers. Today we ask the bigger question of what these trends mean to you as a photographer, and how you can use the new trends to draw ideas, inspiration and plan ahead to shoot topics that will be in high demand.

I think we can all agree that some topics never go out of style. You can always rely on images with people and sincere emotions to sell and other popular concepts that you’ve noticed on the rise. We’d like to propose something a little different and inspire you to put your own twist on the visual trends for next year.

Trend #1: Impact Photography

So much about being a photographer is about being at the right place at the right time. Although as a stock photographer, you likely carefully plan your photoshoots, it might be worth your time to inject some spontaneity into your portfolio with the help of your phone.

Impact photography is so much about what’s important right now and although it might be of little interest to you or you might not see how it fits into your portfolio as of today, there’s a a time and a place for images that don’t fit in. Use the best images shot on your smartphone for other means – competitions, blog and social media. After all, we’re all active participants in the events that influence us. Be the first to tell a story that will touch viewers around the world.


Ideas to consider:

– expand your portfolio to include editorial images and mobile photography

– document important events around you

– start selling your mobile photography

– participate in iPhone Photography Awards with your best shots

Trend #2: Perfect Strangers

You carefully select your models, probably curate their looks and maybe even makeup. But every photographer has had that moment  when you did stumble on those perfect strangers on the streets that you thought would make for excellent models. Do something unexpecting, offer strangers to get photographs taken, tell them about your profession and your business and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how you can network in this direction as well.

You’re probably thinking about street style photography with this trend, and it’s true that there is that correlation. What is your take on street photography? Could you work backwards and maybe even make your models look as natural as the candid street photography images? Some food for thought here for every photographer.


Ideas to consider:

– start a side project about people in your city

– focus on capturing people and sincere emotions

– try your hand at street photography

– test shoot strangers from the street

Trend #3: Artistic Expression Through Travels

There’s two types of photographers – those that continue working on vacation (aka, continue seeing through with their artistic vision), those that take a complete break from photography when away from home and the hassles of what fall under ‘work’. Of course, there are also those that make vacation an integral part of their work.

Even if you visit the most ordinary vacations, and the standard capitals – there is so much to be explored! Grow your portfolio, include unusual sights and locations that will refresh your portfolio with something unexpected. We all travel differently, so document your idea of the ideal vacations. You don’t have to make your vacations about work, we know that happens inevitably anyway. It’s more about having fun and sharing your artistic vision.


Ideas to consider:

– find a theme that ties together your interest and passions during travels

– use your travels as an opportunity to expand your portfolio

– start a niche side project about your travel life

– focus on making ordinary locations look different

Trend #4: Deadpan Photography

Other things that are dear and important to you are things like good lighting and composition. Although this trend doesn’t imply that you should completely disregard every rule in photography, it is about a slightly different aesthetic that we don’t see a lot of in stock photography for obvious reasons.

The next question is how is this applicable? In our trends report, we mentioned how deadpan photography is influencing UGC, with a notable example from food photography. Deadpan photography stretches beyond this niche, and can actually be applied as a separate style of photography. All you need is a little bit of research to implement the old tricks of the trade. Interestingly, Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II” (the most expensive photograph in the world) is shot in the style of deadpan photography.


Ideas to consider:

– start a project about letting go of perfection

– see what happens when you take emotion and basic rules of composition out of your photography

– explore the origins of deadpan photography and put your spin on it

– find ways to capture product photography in a new light

Trend #5: Video as a Tool of Communication

Technology is in the process of constant change, and video remains as popular as ever. Given the nature of how integral video has become in our daily life, the documentation of the role of video as tool has not been explored enough in stock photography.

This is a simple trend that can be a small part of your portfolio – simply how we use video to communicate, the flood of emotions we get when talking to our close ones or the same concept in a professional context. If you don’t have videos as part of your portfolio, it’s never too late to start.


Ideas to consider:

– experiment with video for your portfolio

– focus on how people use technology to communicate

– capture the emotions of someone talking using their laptop or phone

Trend #6: Motion as a New Norm in Graphics

We often cover design tutorials using Crello as the easy-to-use graphic design tool. If you don’t have any graphic design knowledge, Crello could really help you with things like your personal branding and posts on social media. Photographers could adapt this tool and use it for their marketing needs, as we all know just how important marketing is when you’re running your own business.

Animated designs are just another extension of Crello. With this new format, you can experiment with a more fun and dynamic type of content or learn to add movement to static images on your own as a side project.

photography trends 2018 8

Ideas to consider:

– experiment with Crello for your projects and personal branding

– start a dynamic personal page on social networks using animated designs

Trend #7: Blurred Lines of Reality

How can you illustrate futuristic concepts becoming a part of everyday life? If you scroll through any stock photography library, you’ll notice that there simply aren’t enough images to capture the concepts that are no longer from a distant future. With this trend, we’re really talking about similar concepts that are relevant today, like augmented reality, which really should be better represented in stock photography.

One of the reasons we don’t see enough visuals that capture these concepts is because not many photographers think the images will be in high demand. Rest assured, as a new year approaches, new technologies and formats are going to become a must for many marketers.


Ideas to consider:

– document the use of new technologies

– include AI and AR in your portfolio

– organize a photoshoot about what you think the future of technology will be

– add video content about new technologies to your portfolio

Trend #8: Creative collages

It doesn’t take long to master some basics of more complex design tools to put together collages. One of our notable contributors, Evgenia Porechenskaya, creates really bold graphics, with a slight twist of collages. It’s a great example of what you can do with some of your photographs to give them a chance at another purpose.

Repurposing your images could be a great artistic escape. It’s a way to also combine some of the trends and try different effects, color overlays and the combination of different photographs to create something completely original.


Ideas to consider:

– learn some of the basics of photo editors

– enrich your portfolio with a combination of photography and graphic design

– experiment with layouts, layering and mix and matching images

– give your website an update with collages

Trend #9: Brave Color Choices and Effects

As an extension of the aforementioned application of trends, 2018 is really going to be the time to experiment with your existing content. A few tweaks to even the simplest photograph can make it immediately more appealing to potential customers. You can add color overlays to images to make them really bright, a pastel shade or a combination to achieve the duotone effect.

This too requires mastering a few basic skills with editing tools, but can also be seen as just an extension of the post production work that you already do. Give yourself the freedom to experiment, and look for ways to repurpose your existing content.


Ideas to consider:

– be on the lookout for bright objects and backgrounds

– experiment with brighter colors in post editing

– follow Pantone for latest news on popular colors

– learn basics of editing for interesting effects

Trend #10: Accept Me For Who I Am

The purpose of this trend was the bring in a social aspect of the trends, to talk about how the industry is changing in terms of what is considered beautiful. As people remain the most popular subjects in stock photography, you really do have to embrace the changes and redefine the standards of conventional beauty.

Using interesting people in your projects could give you an advantage in the microstock business because changes in the modeling industry inevitably influence what clients look for when they want to include people in projects. That being said, it’s important for every photographer to be more inclusive of a diverse range of people that are all beautiful and interesting in their own way.


Ideas to consider:

– focus on people and their quirks

– hire models that are unconventionally beautiful

– document eccentric people in their home environments

– find your own definition of beauty and run with it

Let the new year be a little nudge towards a more creative and innovative direction for your portfolios. You can experiment with new formats, repurpose old content and try your hand at different photography styles to inspire a new aesthetic and a completely different take on old and new concepts.

Read about visual trends for 2018

Start on Depositphotos for FREE. Get 10 downloads! Start Free Trial

Read top articles of the month!