Photography Trends That Need to Die

You don’t have to look hard on Instagram’s Explore page to see lots of repetition. If you want to stand out from the crowd you need to be actively avoiding some of these photography trends.

Trends exist in all creative mediums. The problem is that when too many people adopt the same ones, that initial creative spark that someone decided to try becomes a played-out, diluted cliche instead. The other big problem with photographers embracing certain trends is that they can date your images very quickly. An image that features a trend made popular several years ago may need to be removed from your portfolio much more quickly than more traditional ones you have made. These concepts and more are addressed in this week's video by the team at The Phoblographer, who discuss many of the photography trends which they believe need to die. Fads such as orange and teal, selective color, and extreme HDR portraits are some of the areas they cover as well as a few of the cliche posing techniques many photographers will ask their subjects to do. The video is a relaxed and fun conversation exploring some of these trends and explains why we shouldn't be doing many of them. I particularly like that this video is not just bashing trends for the sake of it and is motivated more by trying to encourage the photography community to try new things for themselves rather than following the herd or chasing likes on social media.

There is nothing wrong with being on a well-trodden path with your photography, but quite often, the more interesting and rewarding stuff is to be found where fewer people have already walked. Having the ability to spot a trend so you can avoid it can be an important skill to have and why conversations and videos like this are a good idea for all us photographers from time to time.

Are there any photography fads that you think need to die? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Lead image by René A. Da Rin, used under Creative Commons.  

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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So that now that everyone has the tools to do some of these same things, they now need to die? Kinda like when "pro" photographers find these nice secluded or less traveled places and get great images, they don't want "everybody" going to that spot b/c then they will ruin the experience or ruin the place. I think one thing that needs to die is photographers telling other photographers what is art and what is not.

I kinda agree. Accept about those places. It's just a fact that some places, when it gets public or popular, it is ruined. Either by vandalism, graffiti or just being overcrowded. It's a genuine problem if you're into abandoned places, for example. The moment someone shares that location with everyone, it's just gone. And he or she only shares it for his or her own benefit: likes, followers, popularity. While the ones keeping it incrowd are genuinely about protecting the place as a whole and as a location for photographers who respect it. It's really simple.

Yes, BUT, if I see another picture taken through the curled arm of a wrought iron park bench, I’m going to throw my phone off my balcony. Someone found an interesting perspective of a scene the first time they shot it, and then everyone with a camera or phone flooded instagram with various takes of the same. Damn. Thing. Go shoot your own thing. This is tired and played and you’re not doing anything but harming people’s perception of your talent and originality. I think this is the point at the crux of the article.

Instagram sometimes seems to be more than 70% copied ideas. And they keep on multiplying. Because people actually praise you for "doing that thing you saw last week on someone big's account". Unless people don't want to have likes and comments, this is not going to stop. Maybe, in a couple of years, Instagram wil just implode because everything looks the same and people get tired. Or because FB has turnt it into ... Facebook V2.

Also, check this out:

Gatekeeping much? And why this blog is a collection to Youtube videos now? Nobody reads anymore?

Videos about photography are a trend I think could now be allowed to die.

Depends. There's nothing better than Youtube for the beginner to reduce the learning curve of 'fill in your favorite processing software here.'

Then there's the camera/lens reviews. I can't afford to rent all of the lenses I'd like to own. I have a couple of reviewers that I trust and look to them to help in my decision making.

I agree that some of the video stuff can be insufferable, but not all of it.

There's hardly ever anything in a video that couldn't be gotten across in 1/5 the time as text.

It depends on whether the information is truly visual or not. Unmesh Dinda's Photoshop videos would be much less intelligible in text and screenshots.

That is, however, not only a function of the visual nature of his subject but also his excellent video production and pedagogical skills. The same is true of the audio tutorials of Curtiss Judd.

I guess that's where you and I differ. I learn much quicker with a hands on approach. Learning LR when I started using it was fairly easy because of the tutorials available on Youtube.

I agree up to a point. Some stuff is easier to learn watching a video.

On the other hand, this site, and several others, insist on videos without text. At the very least give us the bullet points for the video. I hate to watch a video that doesn't get to the point until the end. Then I often already knew about the point, or the info. is cr*p. In either case, I wasted time. I could have scanned the text or just bullet points to decide if I want to watch the video.


...and click-baity Fstoppers articles that basically just embed 30 minute videos as the body of the article. These can die too. At the very least, throw some bullet points in that hit the key points of the video

Seriously, a text summary of the video would be a great value-add for FStoppers.

i dislike the trend of recording yourself talking instead of writing it down

Twenty-eight minutes long and I bet they loved every minute of it. I did not make it past minute one. I guess it was ripsnorting, fantastic, and interesting however.

It takes skill to write well...

Sorry but Chris Gampat’s photography might be the worst on any mainstream camera news and review site so I can’t take this seriously. Look at the sample images with his reviews.

LOL, I just had a look at his work as I'd never heard of him and... yep

The drop shadow on that title needs to die.. Jesus

Is there a TL;DV version?

TLDR: Don't EVER try doing anything that's been ever done before. You might be participating in a trend.


While the video is playing,

1. Hold down the right arrow for 2 seconds then release.
2. Listen for 10 seconds.
3. Repeat


Ok guys....Since you fellers chose to make a half hour video blathering on about pet peeves and things you hate, why not take advantage of the visual technology and SHOW SOME PICTURES instead of 28 minutes of badly lit selfies....

So right. Not one example image of what they're knocking.

My exact thoughts

My biggest gripe about photographers are, in general, their boring websites. White or black prefab templates with "simplicity" to the point of melba toast. I miss the days when they used to be colorful and more wild, mostly tacky, but at least they were with spirit to reflect who they are as an individual, not just their photos.

Tbh, it can get quite tedious when so-called pro photographers create a YouTube channel but clearly put zero effort into their videos. They either go way over the top with unnecessary shallow depth of field with the autofocus going haywire every time they move and loads of jump cuts or completely the other way where they just sit in front of a camera like they’re on a Zoom meeting with no thought about the background, sound or lighting.

To give a couple of good examples, I follow photographers Sean Tucker and Julia Trotti on YouTube (I don’t know them personally). They both clearly put a lot of thought and effort into their videos which helps to keep viewers engaged. We’re not talking Hollywood production values here but very simple and effective styling and narrative.

Here's some advice from a writer ;

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

– G.K Chesterton

Oh come on FStoppers.. are you really wanting to put your cred recommending this trashing?
Both of them end up contradicting themselves in 2 minutes .. "need to die" unless "it's done right". It all comes off of pretty judgmental and not in the spirit of helping people become better photographers. Instead of focusing on taking a dump on and killing people's efforts, they should focus on teaching how to become more creative.
Et tu, FStoppers? Lee and Patrick - is your editorial staff really ok with this?

I'd like to thank Fstoppers for bringing the phoblographers to my attention. I now know not to watch any content that they put out, no matter what the title may be.
I'd also like to thank the other commentators so far for giving me the reassurance that I am not alone in being unable to get further than 4 minutes into the video.
Fstoppers did ask if there were any trends I dislike so here are mine:
- Bokeh which just appears to be have originated as a way of blurring out poor backgrounds in a studio setting, but has now taken on the trend of blurring out wedding venue locations to such an extent that the happy couple needn't have paid for a top location in the first place.
- Long exposure waterfalls or cascades, you've seen one you've seen them all.
- Taking all the slight imperfections and skin blemishes out of portrait photographs such that everyone looks either like a Barbie or Ken doll. I'm sure this trend has led to teenage anxieties and for what end? Unless of course those being photographed are looking forward to the question, 'Wow, when were these pictures taken, you used to be really good looking? Two years ago you say.., sorry what happened, have you been unwell?'

"Long exposure waterfalls or cascades, you've seen one you've seen them all." I've seen far more than one and I've seen far too many. Especially in advertising. Merciful Jesus, no more!

It has me yearning for crisply exposed water in motion. Splashes, kerplunks, that kind of thing.

Kerplunks.. :) ha.

Yes. I got some deep ND filters a while back and learned how to do it but then decided there are too many already. However, some effects still are nice, like fountains, and it's worth trying anytime you want to do a longer than "normal" exposure.

Agree. Actually had one sold at a benefit auction for the local art museum, purchased by chair person of board of trustees. I just despise seeing it in print ads. If you have seen one babbling brook in a tropical jungle you have seen them all. If we are going full landscape, I say go very easy on that effect. I'd say it works when gently illustrating a confusion of watery and air effects. Simple running water? NFW.

Yeah...I can see how some should definitely die off, but let that be the choice of the individual shooting them. Come to think of it....there isn't any 'trend police' out there to ticket you or throw your ass in jail, so - whatever. I would hope, hope mind you, that these idiots would catch on and get the drift that what they're doing is....just plain boring by now.

I tired of this trend of not dressing better for video conferencing. I know it was cool and all at the beginning of the pandemic, but it's old and played out by now. Buy a decent shirt already.

If you didn't watch the entire video, you like, totally missed out 'n stuff! j/k :D

1. teal orange
2. HDR
3. spot color
4. maternity shoots with hands heart shaped in front of belly
5. forced perspective
6. bokeh
7. pixel peeping
8. high iso worry obsession
9. aps-c/crop vs fullframe
10. crushing the blacks
11. shooting models in urban decay area - breaking in
12. shooting on train tracks
13. fix it in post
14. chris says ansel adams not a photographer but a master chemist
15. fairy lights
16. people creating digital art/composites and calling them "photos"

#14 was well worth slogging thru the rest of the drivel. Weirdest comment I've heard in a long time. Chemist? Really?

#15 The fairly light guy has about a million followers and is probably making exponentially more than these two guys are.

It was so much easier to read your text than to watch those two. Thank you for taking one for the rest of us. A few seconds scan versus 28+ minutes of tedium.

Using "LIKE" in every sentence.. needs to die.. the sooner the better. Do I sound "LIKE" a grumpy old fart?