Let's take a look at last year's Instagram photo trends, its masters, and muse on which are here to stay.
This beautiful hand-holding trend chronicles the travel adventures of Russian couple Murad and Nataly Osmann. After going viral in 2012, it has inspired many remakes and even parodies, but the original series remains as breathtaking as ever, featuring some of the world's most iconic landmarks. As per the Daily Mail UK, it started by accident when Nataly, annoyed with Murad for always taking pictures, grabbed him by the hand to pull him forward. Even though it started with an iPhone, Murad has since upgraded to a DSLR for a wider field of view.
Characterised by (but not limited to) an intense, powerful stare; the "female gaze" is about how women see other women. A new wave of image-makers are challenging gender stereotypes and body representation, allowing women to tell real stories free from sexual overtones. It lets society reimagine how we portray women, essentially creating a new aesthetic narrative.
Studies have shown that images with blue as the dominant colour perform 24 percent better on Instagram, so it's no surprise that some of the most beautifully crafted Instagram feeds feature a dreamy pastel pink-and-blue colour palette. South African Instagrammers @campsbaygirl and @visualrev do it well, and even sell their presets online so you can recreate your own dreamy skies.
Fairy lights are a type of mood lighting that creates a beautifully whimsical bokeh effect (those out-of-focus light specks in the photograph). Use this technique in low light with a large aperture. You can even use other light-reflecting objects (like the lights on a Ferris wheel) to illuminate your subject. New York-based @brandonwoelfel creates the most fantastical fairy-light photographs, and so does @i_khan_kapture.
The unicorn-inspired #rainbowlight filter trend is oh-so-pretty and will likely remain popular. Instagrammers are literally chasing rainbow light (using mirrors, old CDs, etc.) to refract technicolour light onto their faces. Sounds too scientific? You can use photo editing apps (or the Instagram face filter option in Stories) to make your own rainbow-light selfie.
Top Instagram influencer @garethpon pioneered this trend by taking photos of people through windows as part of his #gpwindowportraits. Use the reflections bouncing off the window panes to add mystery and tell a new kind of story.
There's a new art to master, and it is the cinemagraph. A product of photography and videography, cinemagraphs feature subtle movements like rippling water or a crackling fire. Have a look at @ellemayleeckenby for some moving stills (pun intended).
The new selfie on the block is the plandid shot (the words "planned" and "candid", combined). Done right, it will look as though you weren't aware of having your photo taken. No more overly directed stiff shots – do "effortless" beauty.
Every now and then, it's rumoured that film is making a comeback, but I would dare to say that it is. Its raw quality remains appealing and kindles our nostalgia for the simple life. Fine art film photographer @lauraadamsphotography show us how it's done.