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News & Insight

Photography Trends For 2018 | Fashion, Lifestyle, Portraiture, & Even Wedding Photography

By Brittany Smith on November 10th 2017

Cooler temperatures, fewer hours of daylight, and cuddling up on the couch in our favorite sweats while sipping hot cocoa are upon us. With the changing of the seasons comes the changing of the guards of new influences and new trends.

Why is this important? Many fashion photographers are creating fashion stories that are at least one season ahead, and therefore being on trend is of the utmost importance. Additionally, it is now part of the job requirement to be on top of the upcoming styles in order to remain relevant, especially in fashion and model development.


That scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly schools Anne Hathaway on how fashion filters down and influences our every day lives, whether it is realized or not, is very real (see clip below). Decisions pertaining to even the most basic of wardrobe choices were already predetermined by those in charge. Also, the images and styles adopted by fashion invariably trickle down into lifestyle and even weddings photography.

2017 Coach Campaign.

Fashion photography is one of the most popular forms of media and is seen by the masses; it is natural that it strongly influences other areas of portraiture as well as other genres of photography. So, what can we expect to see in 2018?

Rosy, Peachy and Golden

Color grading is making a comeback and the toning is heavily influenced by the Winter 2017 and Spring/Summer 2018 Pantone colors. It isn’t as simple as clicking an action in Photoshop. Even brands that are known for their neutral palette now capture models with rosy, peachy and golden skin tones. There is obvious care and precision with the toning and the color palettes are reminiscent paintings.

Modish colors of influence as identified by Pantone.

Moody Lighting

In terms of lighting, the barre has been lifted significantly. Learning to manipulate available light to create a striking image is a must. The fad of shooting in harsh light and creating rule-breaking shadows has been replaced with mixed lighting and traditional lighting patterns.

Meanwhile, the light being created in the studio is no longer being held hostage by perfectly bright midtones and a minimal ISO. It reflects the control and craftsmanship of an artisan who has mastered this skill; the light is being feathered and delicately envelops the subject.

The recent Dior campaign captured by Brigitte Lacombe is a prime example of moody lighting. Brigitte is consistently producing impeccable work and it is no wonder that her photography is in high demand by major brands, and her Instagram account makes for great study material.

Darker Midtones

Midtones ultimately dictate the overall look and feel of an image and it is no surprise that darker midtones go hand-in-hand with moodier lighting. The art direction of the editorials of the major magazines such as Porter Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar are laced with stories that have more tonality, and are darker as a modish, collective whole.

Mixed Media

Video continues to dominate, and going forward the desire to learn video needs to be upgraded to more than a bucket list status. Slow motion portraits, cinemagraphs and even interactive video games are being adopted by major brands and being paired with visually-impactful still images. The recent ad campaigns of major fashion houses such as Miu Miu and Coach this year made  it very clear that mixing various forms of media is the way of the future.


Strong women and diversity are still in high demand as the fashion industry continues to re-establish its vantage point after a rocky few years. Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging, and ultimately want to see someone that looks like them included in the ads they see. The emotions depicted and stories being told through the images need to be authentic.

Last but not least, any altering of the body will be highly scrutinized and skin retouching will continue to be done with a light handed approach.

Authenticity within the realms of women’s bodies, skin and emotion will continue to reign supreme. The pendulum seems to have caught momentum and is swinging back toward that of a very skilled professional among photographers, assistants, retouchers etc. Essentially, images are being created that differentiates the work being created from those with the alarmingly decent smartphone cameras and filters. Images that look simple and minimalistic are anything but, and emotive images are in.

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Brittany is a fashion and beauty photographer who works between NYC, Montana and LA. She photographs the way she has always wanted to feel and believes in the power of raw simplicity. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local coffeeshop, teaching fitness classes at the YMCA, or baking something fabulous in the kitchen.
Instagram: @brittanysmithphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kristine Paige

    Brilliant and informative.  What’s your take on the lighting I used for this set:

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  2. Marco Santiago

    Great article! Highly inspired . . . and thanks for sharing :-)

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  3. Photography Rogue

    Thank you for sharing. :)

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  4. Mark Kelly

    Very well written article thanks Brittany 

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