What is a portrait photography fad? A fad is something that has a short term boost in popularity. To me, a photography “fad” can be a pose, prop or style of photographing or editing that becomes extremely popular for an isolated period of time. While fads tend to be exceptionally popular for a short time, a trend has staying power. Sometimes something starts as a fad but ends up a trend. Occasionally it’s hard to determine whether something is fad or trend.
There are dozens of photo fads coming and going all the time. Now, with social networking so prevalent, fads can occur fast and be more widespread. Think about photography forums, photography blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. When you visit these places, you see images of other photographers. And chances are, no matter how original try to be, something may catch your eye. You may get an idea. You may see a prop you like or see a pose that you want to try. You may be inspired to try new techniques, locations, lighting, or editing. And through this inspiration, if enough are interested and influenced, a fad may evolve.
Many photography fads originate with props. At the moment, faux wood floorings (barnwood mats) are extremely popular. A few years ago, most infant photographers put babies in over-sized teacups. As far as editing and Photoshop, do you remember the popularity of sepia tones, hazy-edited images, over-edited eyes, intense glowing color, selective color, soft glow, heavy vignettes, heavy plastic skin smoothing, deep burning and dodging, and I could go on and on…
This post is NOT meant to make fun of the latest craze or recent fads. In fact, many of the included images are works of art. As you look through the photos below, I suspect you may think some of the following thoughts:
- “I remember doing that.”
- “I still do that.”
- “I love that prop.”
- “I love that image.”
- “I want to try that.”
- “I cannot wait until my next session to do that.”
- “I wonder where I can find that… or how to do that.”
- “I cannot believe I did that.”
- “How did that become a fad?”
- “Why would anyone want to do that?”
You may look through some of these and realize you still do a certain technique or have a certain prop. You may remember when you did. You may feel embarrassed. Or you may wonder why a photo made the list because you don’t think of it has a fad or trend, but more a staple of photography. All of these thoughts and feelings are valid.
Photography fads are NOT bad. You may personally think some are, and that is fine too. In many cases fads inspire. When a fad is done well it can actually result in a timeless heirloom photograph. You may look back and wonder why you every got swept up in a particular fad. Trust me, I look back at my 80′s big hair, arms full of rubber bracelets, and neon clothing in that way. But with photography, images create memories and capture a moment in time. You and your customers can still love them, trend, fad or not.
Thanks to all my contributors for sharing their images below. These represent some of the fads and trends I have seen in the past few years. Some of these images make me want to go try a prop or location, even if they are or were a fad. Others, I may be less fond of. But remember, for something to become a fad, lots and lots of photographers have to try it.
So when you look through these, what is going through your head? Be honest and add your comments.
Love them? Hate them? Which fads did you try? Are you now inspired? Did they give you ideas? Which did you like or not like? What other fads have you seen come and go, not listed or shown here (I listed some Photoshop ones but did not have room for examples of these)? I know there are many fads that I did not include, so please share them and feel free to link to an image of yours that represents a fad. Which of these do you see as trends versus fads? Just because something is a fad, it does not make it forbidden. Many of these ideas were overused at one time, but used sparingly, may be a great addition to your work. All things to consider and think about!
The big, bright lollipop * this may be the biggest one yet:Amanda Andrews Photography
The newest trend seems to be fake flooring, like the “Barnwood Rug”:Kari Durbin Photography
And using these rugs for both fake flooring and backdrops:Kari Durbin Photography
Baby in the teacup:Amanda Andrews Photography
Baby in a flower pot | Baby with a flower cap prop:Photography by TracyT
Baby in an antique carriage prop:Photography by TracyT
Baby with angel wings:Photography by TracyT
A high school senior portrait | Senior posing on a railroad track:j’lynn mak
Baby wearing knit hat | The hands under the chin pose:Photography by TracyT
The big puffy skirts | Pettiskirts by Kaiya Eve:
Photo courtesy of MCP Actions
Pier One colorful woven blanket:MCP Actions
The cake smash – infant posing for 1st birthday pictures:Marissa Vargason Photography
Using colorful umbrellas as a prop | Graffiti walls in the background:MCP Actions
Victorian chair placed outdoors in a field with greenery:Amanda Andrews Photography
Baby on a platter | Wrapped tight in blanket | Big flower on head:Amanda Andrews Photography
Baby in a drawer:Maggie Martin
Newborn baby hanging in mid air:Pea Head Prints
Child in focus and parents out of focus:Michelle Wells Photography
Maternity photography | Husband’s hands making a heart on her belly:Pea Head Prints
Family member’s hands all over pregnant mom’s belly:Amber Katrina Photography
Capturing the feet of the entire family:Amber Katrina Photography
Everyone on the ground forming a circle in the middle looking up | Shown on a basketball team:Laureen Carruthers Photography
Photographing people in window sill and frames:Amber Katrina Photography
Baby bundled in a knit blanket and hat | Placed in a wood serving bowlPhotography by Shawnee
Baby in metal bucket/tin | Extensive texture on smooth backgroundShimmers Photography
Wedding rings placed on a baby’s toe:Alleyway Photography
Unborn baby’s name spelled in blocks for maternity photo (note the selective color too – I know I said I was not going to show editing fads, but… just this one):Photography by TracyT
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