Along with computers and phones, photographic technology has improved dramatically throughout the years. Faster, more powerful cameras continue to push the boundaries of how high-quality photographs are captured. Cheaper, more widely available cameras and smartphones flood the markets, allowing anyone to carry a camera anywhere and at any time.

Cameras will continue to improve in the future, and it’s clear that we’ve made vast changes in the past decade regarding the technology and how it’s utilized. Here are ten trends we’re seeing in professional design and personal photography today, captured in an infographic by Shutterstock.

10. Street Style

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 10: Street Style

With quality cameras more available to the general public, street photography has become a popular genre for photographers — amateurs and professionals alike — to capture candid moments. The style is somewhat interconnected to photojournalism, but street photography doesn’t always tell a story or cover a newsworthy event. The images are also becoming a popular form for showcasing fashion because it takes styles off the runway and to a location that looks more familiar to the customer.

9. Hyperreality

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 9: Hyperreality

It’s no longer required to draw surreal images by hand to create astounding futuristic scenes. Photo manipulation using programs like Photoshop or Gimp creates hyperrealistic pictures by incorporating many photographs into a single image. Visually stimulating images create extremely interesting and unique artwork, and it’s a popular way to attract modern customers.

8. High ISO Images

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 8: High ISO Images

A camera’s light sensitivity is measured by its ISO, or International Standards Organization. It’s the universal scale used in digital cameras and originally film. The ability of camera sensors to capture images in low-light situations has improved dramatically over the years, along with the availability of such cameras in the general public. Cameras can be set to higher ISOs and subsequently faster shutter speeds, thereby creating sharper, higher-quality images with less noise.

7. Hand-Crafted

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 7: Hand-Crafted

Though not a true photograph, a hand-crafted image created through digital drawing can feel fresh, personal and free to interpretation. Using any number of photographs available on the internet as reference, inspiration for hand-crafted images is equally as infinite.

6. Contextual Images

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 6: Contextual Images

A sister genre to street photography, this form focuses on candid shots that document daily life. With smartphone photographic capabilities rivaling those of most point-and-shoots, contextual images can be taken by anyone, anywhere. These images can document details and stories that may not otherwise be brought to light, or they can help provide a certain feeling or aesthetic for blog writers or web designers.

5. 360° Photography

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 5: 360 Degree Photography

Before Google made it easy to place yourself anywhere in the world and look around, people were fascinated with 360° views. Instead of going through the trouble to stitch together multiple images to create a single 360° image in post-production, you can use smartphones, tablets and editing software to stitch together photos in seconds. You can use programs to create flawless panoramic images in seconds and share “rotatable” images on social media platforms.

4. Daily Stories

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 4: Daily Stories

A story without words can be powerful. Visual stories — made popular through social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat — allow you to share multiple images that tell a story in short amount of time, which is perfect for quickly scrolling through feeds.

3. Drone Photography

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 3: Drone Photography

With updated laws that positively affect personal drone pilots and their ability to use their crafts more freely, drone photography has experienced a boom in popularity. Flying over otherwise unreachable destinations and capturing birds-eye-view images opens a new world of photography that common photographers have barely explored.

2. Crowdsourced Photojournalism

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 2: Crowdsourced Photojournalism

With more affordable cameras, more photographers are available for contract or crowdsourcing by the media. Hired photographers can’t be everywhere at once to capture newsworthy events, but people at the scene can share important images and videos. Not every photo will come with journalistic integrity, but crowdsourced photojournalism can be helpful in capturing stories in their immediacy.

1. Mobile Photography

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery – 1: Mobile Photography

Cell phone cameras can’t truly compete with the power of a full-fledged DSLR camera, but the quality of mobile photography has indisputably improved over the past few years. Higher megapixels, faster shutter speeds, better low-light sensitivity and the ability to share instantaneously on social media make up for the lack of complete manual control.

Louis Daguerre and Henry Fox Talbot — the competing inventors of photography back in the mid-1800s — used then-cutting-edge technology to capture images truer than what the hand could draw. Since then, we’ve drastically improved the availability of camera equipment and the quality of the images produced. The fathers of photography would surely be proud.

Where will photographic technology be in the future? What new ways will images be used, and what will the devices on which we capture them be like? If we can imagine it, we will probably create it. And along the way, we may find new uses and technologies we haven’t yet dreamed of.

Check out the full infographic by Shutterstock below:

Shutterstock: Top 10 Trends Shaping the Future of Imagery Infographic

About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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