New trends in concept photography

Double exposure portrait of a businessman
RossHelen editorial / Alamy Stock Photo

Concept photography is a type of photography that is staged to represent an idea or a concept. Since the invention of the camera, artists have used it as a medium to create false realities and to create visual stories communicating an idea. With its versatile look, concept photography has always gone hand in hand with stock photography, so we thought it was about time to have a look at the latest trends within this creative art form.

Girl Gaze

Have you noticed the #girlgaze swirling around on your Instagram feed yet? If you are not yet familiar with what caused the fuss I can tell you that it started with a woman called Amanda de Cadenet. After reading an article in New York Times Magazine about the disproportionate number of men working behind the camera in the film industry compared to women, she got inspired to do something about it. With a focus on female photographers she started up a project on Instagram where women could submit their work, gain more exposure and get the chance to shoot an editorial for Teen Vogue. It didn’t take long before over 2.8 million images were submitted with a #girlgaze. Following this, a book was published touching upon themes such as body image, mental health, race and gender. It’s certainly not the first time, but a new trend has been born on Instagram and it is all about the female gaze.

Surreal lips
Emma Ashwin / Alamy Stock Photo


Surrealistic imagery is such an exciting image form where you are completely allowed to unleash your inner creativity. There are no rules!

The best place to start looking for surrealist image inspiration is by looking at contemporary fashion photography. A good place to start is at Natalie Lennard’s “Miss Aniela” website. Her images are rich and complex, and it allows the viewer to let go of any preconceptions and dwell within her dreamy universe. Surrealist imagery can take many forms, but the bottom line is they all make us stop up and challenge our conventions. This trend is very popular with commercial brands and advertisers as it allows them to stand out from the crowd with a completely different visual message.

Elegant beautiful nude woman with perfect sexy body. Naked elegant lady pose in studio. Art photography of nude sexy woman.
George Mayer / Alamy Stock Photo

Creative Collages and Double Exposures

In this trend imperfection meets beauty, another form which is fun experimenting with in concept photography. Alamy contributor Emma Ashwin uses both techniques in her work, and the result is fascinating. As with surrealistic imagery her work challenges us to rethink what is normal. Neither collages or double exposures are exactly newcomers to the table, but they are constantly evolving and so should we. The trend has emerged from the graphic design industry so don’t be afraid to mix different mediums and introduce unexpected elements.

Bold colours and reality with a twist

Vibrancy and hypeyreality are the two keywords here. It looks like 2018 will be a year where there is no point in being shy or humble. Get your images out there with bold colours that shout out your idea loud and clear. Using duotones is another way of creating loud imagery (think Spotify ads). Images with duotones work especially well with other design elements and typography which explains why it has become such a popular photography trend. We’re expecting to see more hyper-real concepts as well. This could include landscapes with unnatural colours, or humans in slightly unrecognizable situations. As technology grows we can feel the future catching up with our everyday lives and it’s important that our conceptual ideas and photography reflect that.

Hillside covered in flowers high in the clouds with mountains in the background
Hayden Williams / Alamy Stock Photo

Naturally Unnatural

Following the above trends it is tempting to go to far but it in order to create a compelling story that draws the attention of the viewer it’s also important to not overdo it. “Authentic” has been the biggest keyword for image trends over the last couple of years and this will not change for 2018. Concepts photographed in a more natural way are easier to familiarise with, but with subtle hints the photo can still keep its strong visual message.

Luc Kordas / Alamy Stock Photo

We’re looking forward to see your individual takes on the above trends. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to experiment with it.


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