The Portrait Photographer’s Guide to Keeping Up With Trends

The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Keeping Up With Trends


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Who remembers the boom of selective coloring in the early 2000s? Everywhere you looked, you’d see black and white images but for a pop of red in the subject’s shoes or a vivid, bright bouquet colored by hand with colored pencils.

Trends come and go in all creative industries, including photography. While staying current on photography trends can help with branding your photography business and staying relevant, there’s also something to creating classic portraits. Let’s look at how (and when) portrait photographers can keep up with the trends.

Trends Move Fast

In art, including photography, you have rules, and you have trends. The rule of thirds, for example, is a classic composition rule. Trends and fads, on the other hand, can change quickly.

Each year, there are new and evolving ideas in photography. For portrait photographers who are building a photography business, it is crucial to keep up with the latest styles in photography and editing techniques. You want your images to look fresh–not stale or dated. Staying in the know can keep you ahead of the curve and help you improve your skills as a photographer and as a business owner.

How to Keep Up

1. Be Active on Social Media

Social media provides a wealth of real-time information. You can stay current on what’s popular and trending by following influential portrait and fashion photographers and relevant hashtags. Pay attention to the posts and images that get the most likes and shares. Staying active on social media can keep you updated on the latest styles, equipment, and photography techniques.

Platforms created to be primarily visual tools, such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok, can open you up to diverse styles and perspectives. While following local competitors will be beneficial in staying aware of emerging trends in your area, it can also be inspiring to follow photographers whose work you love from around the world.

2. Read Photography Industry News

What’s new in portrait photography can be discovered in the latest industry blogs and magazines. Regularly reading industry news can keep you artistically inspired and informed on emerging trends. As there are an excessive number of blogs and news sites out there, be sure to stick to reputable sources.

Popular magazines such as Aperture or even Vogue can give you ideas about popular portrait styles. Professional photography associations often maintain regularly updated blogs. Influential and successful photographers have blogs to share what’s new with their own work.

3. Seek Out Further Education

One of the best ways to learn about new and popular photography techniques is to attend a workshop, in-person course, or online photography school. Continued education can help keep your work fresh and inspired.

Attending photography classes and workshops will introduce you to new ideas, creative techniques, and other photographers. Whether you are just starting a portrait photography business or a seasoned professional, there is always something to learn.

Consider checking out your local camera shops and professional photography labs for information on local workshops, new products, and inspiration. Photography labs will feature exciting products you may want to offer to your clients. You’ll find gear to up your game in camera shops.

4. Grow Your Photographer Network

Networking is an essential part of being a successful photographer. There are so many benefits to expanding your photographer community, including personal and professional support, collaboration on creative products, more client referrals, and learning new photography skills and techniques.

While photography workshops and classes are a great place to meet other photographers, you can also make friends in the industry by joining local communities and networking events. Not all networking events have to be local or in person, either. Online communities and forums are great places to connect with people and to share discussions on new techniques and trends.

5. Experiment On Your Own

Experimenting with new equipment or techniques you’ve not tried before can help you expand your creative horizons. You may just find that you’re a trendsetter yourself.

Art always needs fresh perspectives to change and evolve. While keeping up with what other artists are doing will inspire you, being open to exploring new ideas yourself will ensure you continually grow. In a rapidly changing industry, being innovative and creative is important to standing out and attracting new clients.

Staying current on portrait photography trends will keep your business and images fresh and can help you improve your skills. While it is important to be aware of what styles and techniques are popular and to recognize changes in the industry, sticking to the latest trends and fads is not always the best idea and does not guarantee success. Portrait photography is a creative field, and there will always be a need for each photographer’s unique perspective and artistic expression. An artist’s strength is in their own creative vision.

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