Instagram Photo Trends In 2020


If you use Instagram regularly, you have surely noticed certain photography trends, especially in portraiture and landscape photography. Many of them aren't brand new trends – they have stuck around for a few years and they are still going strong.

You don't have to follow these trends if you have great ideas on your own, but it's still useful to know what's popular. If you admire some of these trends and want to capture similar photographs, following popular accounts and hashtags can be beneficial. Other people's work can be a great source of inspiration and reignite your creative fire. 

Read on to learn more about the most popular current trends on Instagram!

Photo by Kate Torline

1. Body Positive Images (#bodypositive)

In case you don't know, body positivity is a social movement created to empower women and men in different shapes and sizes. Body positivity advocates the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, gender, race, or appearance.

This movement has been quite controversial but it's still going strong on Instagram. It doesn't feature only plus-sized models but also average bodies with physical imperfections such as stretch marks and cellulite. Unedited images of fitness models are very popular within this movement because they help people to form realistic expectations when it comes to appearance.

Photo by AllGo

2. No Makeup Shots (#nomakeup)

This type of portraiture is getting more and more popular on Instagram and it exists as a counterbalance to apps such as FaceTune and various beauty filters. Many young people are proud of this no-filter approach, as they want to learn to accept their imperfections and share them with others.

The function of such shots is similar to body positive images, but it focuses on facial features and embracing the diversity in terms of skin, eyes, nose, lips, and so on. Shots of various celebrities and influencers without makeup and before plastic surgeries are highly sought after.

Photo by Myron Edwards

3. Minimalism (#minimal)

Minimal landscapes, portraits, and product images with a super clean look are extremely popular on Instagram. It makes sense because the less-is-more approach is common in architecture and interior design too. Instead of bright and colorful images, you’re more likely to find a monochrome, neutral aesthetic in many realms of art and design nowadays.

Minimalism combines well with black and white photography. If you appreciate this kind of aesthetic, feel free to check out our article on minimal photography.

Photo by David van Dijk

4. Drone Photography (#drone)

Drone photography is getting more affordable these days and many Instagram influencers want to surprise their followers with a different perspective on ordinary things.

Using a drone will allow you to capture everyday life for what it is but with an exciting twist! Photos of traffic jams, residential areas, and people resting in parks feel almost hypnotizing from a bird’s eye view because it's an unfamiliar perspective for us.

If you want to learn the basics of drone photography, check out this useful guide.

Photo by Omer Rana

5. Film Photography (#film)

I'm sure you already know that film photography is having a big comeback. Interest in film photography has been growing over the last five years and it is not a short temporary fad. There are zillions of accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube dedicated solely to film photography.

There is some magic in taking photos you can’t post-process on your phone right away and many young artists (who didn't have any previous experience with film photography) appreciate this kind of magic and are happy to learn photography the old-school way.

If you want to publish your film photographs on Instagram, you can easily digitize your photos. Of course, you can also apply film filters but that would count as cheating!

To learn more about film photography, check out this article.

Photo by Jonas Liubartas

6. Neon Lights (#neon)

Neon lights are part of the cyberpunk aesthetic that is popular thanks to various games, animations, and movies. Many photographers, designers, and illustrators are enriching their projects with neon colors and futuristic skyscrapers, which can add dystopian vibes to portraits and landscapes.

What's great about neon lights is that you can find them basically anywhere if you live in an urban area. Consult the color wheel if you want to take great portraits illuminated with neon lights!

Photo by Chester Wade

7. Direct Flash (#flash)

Quite literally, direct flash portraiture is the style of taking your light source (usually an on-camera flash) and placing it right in front of your model. The result is a very harsh light that many photographers find unpleasant. However, this style is incredibly popular with mainstream fashion photographers and editors and you can see it on Instagram a lot.

If you want to experiment with this style, it's usually good to combine it with simple plain backgrounds. Check out the portfolio of fashion photography Terry Richardson who made many cult portraits using this method.

Photo by Gerardo Marrufo

8. Messy Still Life (#stilllife)

Even though minimalism rules the world of still life, there is also the opposite approach which is getting more exposure these days. Chaotic still life and product photography might sound like a bad idea, but if you can arrange many objects and colors in a visually pleasing way, you can create something opulent or playful and comical. It all depends on the message you want to convey.

To learn the basics of still life photography, check out this great article.

Photo by Chris Lawton

9. Throwback Selfie (#tbt)

It perfectly makes sense that throwback selfies (#tb or #tbt) were extremely common on Instagram in 2020. Because of the pandemic, we didn't enjoy this year and many of us resorted to recalling more cheerful times by reposting old photos, mostly taken somewhere outdoors.

Let's hope that 2021 will be much more enjoyable for us photographers and everyone else too!

Photo by Anna Earl

Further Reading:

About Author

Jasenka is a photographer with a background in web design. You can find out more about her on her website, see some of her newest images at 500px or get to know her better here.

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