Visual Communication

4 Photo Industry Trends Brands Should Watch Out for in 2019

By Lindsay Pietroluongo - 5 min read

Discover four essential photography trends in 2019 that will help your company connect with your customers with a meaningful and long lasting impact.

Look at a photo of a street fight during a protest and try not to feel something.

In 2019, brands have to choose high-quality photography that forms a connection with their audience – by showing what you have in common with your customers, you’ll bring them closer.

This article covers four photo industry trends for 2019 that focus on realness and show an intolerance of falsehoods. By tapping into what society as a whole is thinking and feeling, you’ll better relate to your customers and remain competitive in your industry.

Portrait of young women holding hands while standing at park

1. Authenticity and Humanitarianism

As you explore photography industry trends for 2019, two themes are going to pop up over and over again: authenticity and humanitarianism. The world has grown sick of false information and there’s a push for all-things-real.

Self-expression has gone to the extreme, sometimes even being disruptive. Humanitarian photos take a stance or make a comment on social issues. They aim to creatively and intensely show what it’s like to stand up for your identity and be an individual in 2019.

This can include images of, say, protests, but the photos you use don’t necessarily have to have an agenda. The overarching agenda is truth, and viewers can make their own choices about which side of the issue they fall on. This can help companies that want to show they’re in tune with what’s going on in the world but that don’t want to alienate a segment of customers by being too opinionated.

Another way to be authentic is to use photography to show how your industry is changing this year. You can also narrow the focus down to just your company, which will create more transparency between you and your customers, and in turn instill trust.

Silhouette man standing on rock at snow covered mountains against sky

2. Dramatic Nature Photography

One of 2019’s photo industry trends is even more nature photography than in 2018, and this time it’s full of drama.

Photographers will showcase the natural world more, often representing it as an escape from the digital world. Again, there’s an overarching humanitarian theme that emphasizes caring for yourself and the world around you.

Moody landscapes of remote locations will fill the entire frame, which is different from the more minimalist, white space-heavy nature photography we’re used to seeing. You don’t have to stay inside during bad weather, either – it’ll add to the theatrics.

Consider color, too. In the past, landscape photographers tended to underexpose and under-saturate during editing. In 2019, nature photography will have higher contrasts and bolder, more vivid colors.

Products that use natural resources can take advantage of this trend. Outdoor product photography works for a number of industries, too, from accessories, clothing and tech equipment to hospitality brands.

Close-up portrait of young woman

3. Candid Portraiture

With a greater focus on reality, modifications and heavy editing of portraits are frowned upon now. Searching for “Photoshop fails” on Google returns 38,700,000 results, including plenty of criticisms of leading, respected magazines. Over-edited portraits aren’t the honest, human images we want.

In 2019, portraits aren’t overly-produced. You won’t see the subject in an unnatural pose. Gestures and expressions look genuine in order to evoke real emotion. Natural light is used as much as possible. When models are photographed, they’ll interact with the world to create everyday-style images, similar to street photography.

The belief is that it’s not the light or the posing that makes a portrait powerful. The subject doesn’t have to be traditionally beautiful to get a reaction from the viewer. What makes portraiture successful is when the image shows us something more than just the person – it may reveal a secret or a truth that a lot of us can relate to.

This approach is true for everything from fashion photography to wedding photography, and it’s something that every brand can try out.

Aerial view of trees growing at park

4. Drones

Once upon a time, drones were too expensive for the everyday photographer. Now, even small budgets can handle them – they cost less than your phone, in some cases.

Aerial photography is ideal for landscape and travel photography, as well as for hospitality or locally-focused brands. While drones used to be something only the wealthiest brands could afford, now even small businesses can get on board.

Aerial photography is also an excellent way to create evergreen content. It’s removed enough so that you can’t make out details, like store names, so unless the location drastically changes with new infrastructure, you’ll be able to use those images for years.

Photography trends will come and go, which is why it’s so important to think of them as just the start of inspiration. Lean toward your own style and brand’s visual identity, then mix in trends that sync with your brand.

Explore more humanitarian-focused photography with EyeEm