Do you use Instagram as a marketing channel? Do you enjoy taking images and sharing them with your friends or subscribers? We do too, which is why we decided to get down to research and figure out what the latest Instagram photography trends are this year.

Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, this will be as fun to read as it was fun for us to research. Some of the trends are brand new, while others made an iconic comeback from the last decade. There are also a couple of photography trends that have already been relevant for professionals for years, and in 2020, they will still be just as relevant and on-point. 

If you’re looking for inspiration, are short of ideas or want to find out about new ones, check out our list of Instagram photography trends that will skyrocket your feed into the new decade. 


Instagram photography trends for 2020

Ugly candid photography 

The trend on candid photography has invaded all of our Instagram feeds. Every social media user had their own interpretation of how a candid image should look like but there’s one thing that until today united most of Instagram’s candid photos – the pursuit for perfection. It concerned everything – from the angle from which the image was taken to composition and post-production. 

At some point, over-polished, sometimes staged pictures became boring and the ugly candid photography trend came to replace the old one. Ugly candid photography isn’t meant to be taken literally, simply that candid photography can be interpreted in many ways. The one message to take away from all this is that even authentic shots can be stripped of perfection and the fact that we can relate to them results in more likes. Even if some may consider them as distasteful. 

In 2020, trendy Instagram photos will be about unconventional angles, personal aesthetics, and an absolutely bold approach to running an account promoting your taste. Instagram photography will no longer be about inducing positive emotions and showing happy lives and travels. To some extent, it will be about sharing real stories by posting slightly skewed imperfect images. But at least they’re authentic.  

Vertical shots only

As we’re now shopping, messaging, and reading more and more content from our mobile devices, vertical visuals become a major photography format and basically, a kind of necessity for all social media users. We have to think about the appeal of images on social media in context of the format of mobile phones. 

For photographers who use Instagram as a marketing channel or simply like to stay on top of trends with their works, the popularity of vertical photos and videos is a chance to experiment with orientation, angles, and even gear. Besides, if experimenting with your Instagram account was one of your New Year resolutions for 2020, making a shift to vertical might be a good starting point. 

Get out of the standard horizontal view we were taught to stick to in art school and photography courses. 2020 brings new challenges and one of them is adapting to the ever-changing landscape of social media and our preference for mobile devices.  

Aerial photography

When it comes to making your Instagram account stand out from billions, the first thought that comes to mind is surprising your subscribers with a different perspective on ordinary things. Lately, this approach has been taken into consideration by many professional photographers and liked by Instagram users who are tired of selfies, food flatlays, and photos from the gym. 

In 2020, capturing everyday life for what it is – traffic jams, residential districts, people resting in parks or hurrying to get to places in the city centre is one of the Instagram trends particular to lifestyle photography. However, experiments with viewpoints and angles find a slightly different manifestation – photographers using drones and looking at things we are closely familiar with from a bird’s eye view. The results will definitely be inspiring and will encourage people to find out new things about areas they think they know too well. 

Honest close-ups

In the 19th century, the idea of photography was to share with others what our eyes can see. A century later, the technological revolution allowed us to also share what we feel and capture a series of images that tell whole stories. 

This year, telling stories on Instagram will be a huge photography trend. You can communicate a great deal with one shot but now the storytelling aspect provides the opportunity to do so in a series. This requires a different kind of mindset and content curation with your images in the feed. The aim can also be to share a moment or experience in a way that establishes a deeper connection with your followers. 

You can already see Instagram photographers and brands taking this route by posting honest close-ups of goosebumps, scars, eye wrinkles, freckles, and other natural imperfections. As an example, these images communicate very simply about the very real and relatable beauty of aging. At least, that is what everyone hopes we take away from honest-closeups like this. 

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Short atmospheric videos 

As a large part of our lives revolves around online activity and the Internet, even the generations that grew up in the digital era start to appreciate the importance of ambience. They enjoy watching videos and looking at images that in detail translate what’s happening in the real world. This tendency is perhaps closely related to the new term VIDMO (viewed it on Instagram so didn’t miss out).

What this means is that this Instagram photography trend will be about sharing the atmosphere of an event, space or location with a short video. As 49% of videos are 0 to 60 seconds long and the number continues to decrease, here’s a brief guide to give you a better understanding of this photography trend. 

In 2020, if you post videos directly to your Instagram feed, make sure they are authentic, translate the mood and vibes of a place and are approximately 10 seconds long. 

Cyberpunk aesthetic

The game “Cyberpunk 2077” has not been released yet but it has already resulted in a splash of creativity in various industries. Designers and illustrators are enriching their projects with cyberpunk vibes, using neon colors and altering the scapes of already existing locations into dystopian ones

But designers and illustrators are not the only creatives who will be influenced by the cyberpunk aesthetic this year. Although for photographers it might be challenging to add dystopian vibes to their works, all effort they make while chasing neon signs, futuristic skyscrapers, and underground movements may result in truly impressive projects.

Film photography 

2020 will definitely be about JOMO – the joy of missing out, replacing FOMO – the fear of missing out. Meanwhile, the latter is about being present online and always staying up-to-date with the latest events, JOMO is about enjoying your “boring” everyday lives. In brief, a desire to spend more time with your family and friends and do what you love without hurrying anywhere also be translated through shots and projects.

For instance, you might want to get back to your teenage hobby of using an analog camera and there’s definitely some magic and joy behind taking a series of images that you can’t post-process straightaway on your phone. The sweet temptation of waiting until you can actually see the final result is also exciting. Why not share those creative photos on Instagram?

Here are the two ways to do that:

1. You can digitize your photos and post them on Instagram. You can also describe the details of the process and give some insights from the photoshoots

2. You can simply apply film filters to your smartphone images. For instance, the app “8mm” is easy to use and is fitting to help give your Instagram photos that old film look.

In brief, all 2020 Instagram photography trends will to a great extent be about an alternative look on everyday things. Whether you’ll be taking selfies on film, capturing honest close-ups of your curves or shooting a romantic dinner you cooked for your beloved one – all these things will make both enthusiasts and professional photographers get out of their comfort zone. We hope this encourages you to experiment with new aesthetics, formats, and viewpoints. 

To find out more photography tips and trends check out these articles:

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