6 Trends in Lighting and Style for 2016

Another year, another sweep of photographer trends to follow. But we have to admit, we fully approve of the new trends this year as photographers become more experimental, more invested in their subjects, and more willing to use a wide range of tools to tell a story. Hit the jump for several of the lighting and style trends you should try out before summer is gone!

1. Finger Off the Mute Button: Muted colors and landscapes have been very popular for a few years now. We’ve all seen those photos of pensive fields, rugged introspection, and the general feeling that there’s a storm just above us. Now, people are finally tired of it. The new and building trend is all about brighter images that find innovative uses for color and celebrate light in a multitude of ways. It may not be as edgy, but it’s a lot more fun for photographers and gives you a lot more room to work with.

2. Get Natural, Please: Filters… worked, at least for a while. There was a big filter craze in movies and smartphones alike, which naturally made its way into professional photography for some time. Now the craze is dying down, and it’s being replaced with a new desire for natural lighting and style. This also gives you a whole lot more freedom to experiment with interesting focus options and warmer styles that focus less on clarity and more on feeling – and the natural skill of the photographer, which should make some of you very happy.

3. The Casual Flash: The flash is in now, yes. If you are looking for someone to blame, we suggest the selfie culture that lauds taking impetuous photos in low-light conditions. But it’s better to embrace the trend and find a way to use the flash and flash-like lighting in intelligent ways. You can hone your lighting expertise and probably learn a few new tricks, too. A lot of photographers are using this trend to mimic various “Old Hollywood” looks, to some success.

4. Light and Faces – Still a Popular Option: One trend that picked up in the last couple years is still here to stay – experimenting with light and faces. One of the reasons it remains popular is because there’s so much to work with here: From a line of reflected light across the cheek to a ray of sun in the eyes, it’s easy to find interesting portraits and you may find yourself getting lost in the shadows, quite literally. Experiment with these possibilities if you haven’t tried much yet.

5. Clarity, Not Dreamscapes:
Along with our “color, not muted” trend we also have a growing tendency toward more clarity. For a while a lot of professional photography has been about just how much you can hide, or how little you can have in focus. People these days are gravitating more toward clear pictures that provide greater detail and don’t fuzz out over too much. They tend to be more emotionally satisfying, and give you greater room to tell a story instead of just a haiku.

6. Talk with Color: Color psychology is often left up to graphic designers, but if you haven’t studied any then now is an excellent time. More and more photographers are using color to tell a clear emotional story with their work, and some of the results have proved fantastic. Keep an eye out for natural color palettes in the everyday world and the different stories that they can tell.

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