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.  

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48 Comments

Reginald Walton's picture

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.

Lawrence S's picture

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.

Mike Meyers's picture

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.

Lawrence S's picture

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:
https://www.boredpanda.com/social-media-instagram-identical-photos/

Aeron Smith's picture

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

jim hughes's picture

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

David Pavlich's picture

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.

jim hughes's picture

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

Kirk Darling's picture

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.

David Pavlich's picture

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.

Mike Shwarts's picture

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.

Scott Kiekbusch's picture

...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

jim hughes's picture

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

derek j's picture

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

Deleted Account's picture

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.

Mike Ditz's picture

It takes skill to write well...

Taylor Guerrero's picture

Yes common stuff can get repetitive, but also beeing excellent in basic stuff can become a usefull skill.

R S's picture

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.

Greg Desiatov's picture

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

Lu Natalino's picture

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

Shane Castle's picture

Is there a TL;DV version?

Michael Engshun's picture

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

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Yes.

While the video is playing,

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

:)

Mike Ditz's picture

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....

Fristen Lasten's picture

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

Brahm Sterling's picture

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.

Sam Sims's picture

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.

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