Photography Trends so Bad They Became Memes

Photography is undoubtedly the art with the lowest entry point. You can just pick up your phone and snap away. With billions of images created every day, they sometimes follow trends. Many beginner photographers start following pages on Instagram that “repost bangers.” However, those bangers are very far from what photography is about. In this article, I will talk about some of the worst photography trends that have become memes.  


Art and trends don’t mix. Great artists create their own trends. Photography is not about following trends and producing work that gets lots of likes on Instagram. Pages posting generic portraits of young women have more followers than Annie Leibovitz. Is there something wrong with that? No, it’s what the people choose to like. However, generic portraits of young women say very little about the creative possibilities that exist for photographers worldwide. These trends are goofy, but it’s also sad to see them so popular. 


Oh, baby, this needs no introduction. When lensballs came out, they offered a strangely unique view of pictures. While everything in the ball was in focus, the rest of the frame was all bokeh. However, as more and more people jumped on the bandwagon and made the same generic picture of a lensball, the whole idea got quite boring. That said, there is nothing wrong with using a lensball, but there are perhaps a few things wrong with taking the same picture over and over again. 

Oversized Glasses + Girls + Neon or Christmas Lights = Banger

It’s easy to see why this one is so popular, as it has the two ingredients needed for a photography trend: beautiful women and creamy bokeh. Neon lights offer the unique bokeh with red and blue contrast against each other, and the beautiful woman stands there with a stare as boring as boredom itself. She’s not enjoying the portrait and couldn’t care about the bokeh probably.

Lens in Front of a Landscape

I think this one was started when YouTube landscape photographers became popular. Sure, holding a lens and showing how the image is inverted in it can be interesting. For a few times, that is. Doing it over and over again to show the lens is rather repetitive, and there’s not much you can think of to change this up. But, how about putting the lens on a camera and photographing a landscape with it?  

Woman Looking Back at You While Holding a Hand at an Exotic Place

I feel like all couples have a photo like this. To be quite frank, I can’t quite understand the point of the image. Sure, exotic location, sure, your partner, but why leave them out of the frame?  

Feet Dangling Over the Edge of a Building

By far, the most dangerous one there. Often done on roofs of abandoned buildings, this photo is two things: far too dangerous and possibly illegal, as trespass rules can be strict, morbidly strict. 

Half-Naked Woman in the Back of a Campervan Next to a Unique Landscape or Cliff

Not only are camper photos some of the most Instagrammable things to exist, but with the addition of half-naked women, those images become unstoppable likes collectors. The campervan lifestyle, in general, fits in with the belief of being truly free and independent. Of course, that is if you’re happy to give away a proper workspace and the ability to take a bath for the sake of taking photos with lots of likes.  

Faux Old Ladders With Hollywood Lights Against a Canvas Backdrop

Painted backdrops are a very popular yet expensive thing. They are, actually, very popular both among amateur and professional photographers. I made one myself. However, because they are so popular, the images with them are often ill-executed. Simply sticking a backdrop behind the subject and taking a picture is not good enough. To take a good picture with such backdrops, you need to control your light very well. Sometimes, to add an antique feeling, some put a painter’s ladder or a big Fresnel lamp in the frame. Yeah, we get it, you want Hollywood. But unfortunately, that is far from what Hollywood portraits are. If you want a movie look, you could use a Fresnel to light your model. This would look very cinematic and more like Hollywood. An overhead umbrella is also helpful.  

TikTok’s With “Stranger” Photoshoots

“I’ve asked this stranger for a photoshoot.” 

“At first, she (always a she, isn’t it) was reluctant.”

“But then, she finally said yes.”

“Check out these bangers.” 

Proceeds to show oversaturated photos of girls against Christmas lights with lensball in a familiar location holding hand with a Hollywood light. This needs no explanation. I don’t think strangers would allow you to steal their time for more than two seconds, so the people in the video are fake, and it is creepy if those are real people. 

Speaking from experience, I am aware that stranger’s portraits are a whole movement in street photography, and I’ve done them myself. I think it defies the meaning of portraiture, as a portrait should show a personality, not a human who dressed fancily. Before taking a portrait, the person is best studied, understood, and admired. Then, and only then, is the portrait a work of art and not a “banger.” 

Closing Thoughts

I wrote this article to highlight some of the trends that are plaguing photography now. A year from now, they will be different. One thing will stay the same, though: the idea of following viral trends to go viral. Art shouldn’t be about following trends; if anything, art should defy trends. As a commercial photographer, I have to follow trends to a small degree. It is important to differentiate between trends that are akin to you copying the exact image and trends that inspire you to take the idea further. In my work, I follow a trend of having contrast and vibrant color, mainly because I predict the advertising world drifting that way. I am also following this rising vibrance trend because that is what I like. Ultimately, what you like, find creative, and different should be your trend. A TikTok banger shouldn’t. 

What do you think about these trends? Are they the first step to creativity or are they the worst thing you can do to creativity? Did you ever make a “banger” yourself? Share your experience in the comments! I love reading them. 

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