12 80s Photography Styles Your Album Needs

Discover the flash and dazzle of 80s photography—a time of rebels with cameras. But what iconic moment almost escaped the lens? Dive in...
Date Published
March 3, 2024

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Remember when shoulder pads were a "thing" and neon was the color of choice? Let's rewind to an era of radiance, shall we? Imagine flipping through your parent's old photo albums and being hit by a wave of pure 80s nostalgia—big hair, even bigger fashion statements, and candid snapshots that scream personality. That's 80s photography for you, my friend. A time when film grains were as welcomed as synth-pop beats and every shot told a flamboyant story. So, grab your scrunchies and get ready to dive into the radical world of iconic 80s photographers, retro 80s photo styles, and all the crazy cool vibes that define one of photography’s most expressive decades. And you bet, we're digging deep and uncovering why nostalgia junkies just can't get enough of it!

What exactly is 80s photography

Alright, picture this: You've just flipped open a photo album and BAM! Your eyes are immediately bombarded with snapshots slathered in neon colors, big hair, and even bigger shoulder pads. That, my friend, is the quintessential essence of 80s photography. It's not just about the visual excess—it's a whole vibe that screams "radical" without uttering a single word.

Those iconic 80s photographers? They were the wizards behind the camera, coaxing out that distinctive retro 80s photo style. Think about the way they played with light, shadow, and those oh-so-dramatic angles. And yes, almost everything seemed like it was straight out of a music video because, well, MTV was king and everybody wanted a slice of that camera-ready coolness.

Now, here's a hot tip—get your hands on a vintage film camera if you're craving that authentic 80s grit and grain. Start snapping away and toss those images with a little fade, pump up the contrast, and don't be shy with the saturation. Before you know it, you'll be time-traveling to that glitzy, eccentric decade where every moment was prime for a freeze-frame.

Fashion editorials of the 1980s photography

What set apart fashion editorials of the 1980s? Boldness. That's right, fashion editorials of the 1980s were a raging storm of neon, spandex, and shoulder pads that would make a linebacker jealous. Fashion was more than clothing; it was a statement.

The pages of glossy magazines like Vogue and Elle were graced by models who rocked big hair and even bigger attitudes. Photographers used film cameras of the 1980s to capture the era's vibrancy and spirit. They weren't just snapping pictures; they created art that echoed through time.

Get ready for major flashbacks, because these shoots weren't just legendary – they were iconic. Photographers like Herb Ritts and Richard Avedon made magic with their vintage camera techniques, framing the outlandish and extravagant fashions in a way that defined a decade. Want to replicate that style? Find yourself a film camera and embrace the extravagance.

Fashion Editorials of the 1980s Photography

The 80s was the decade when fashion editorials became more than just pictures; they were events. Big hair, bold colors, and shoulder pads galore, the fashion editorials of the 1980s were as much about attitude as they were about attire. Legendary 80s fashion shoots set the standards for what was cool, dictating the fashion of the streets and the dreams of countless teens.

Legendary doesn’t even start to cover it when we're talking about 80s photography and fashion evolution. Photographers like Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber crafted iconic images that defined an era, merging rock and roll with haute couture. Their work not only captured the fashion but also the cultural zeitgeist, making a statement that resonated throughout the decade.

But wait, you’re here for the real juice—how do you get that quintessential 80s style in your snaps? Pull inspiration from the dramatic lighting and staged compositions that were a hallmark of those legendary 80s fashion shoots. Seek out vintage clothing stores for authentic pieces or raid your parents' closet for those hidden gems. Go for strong contrasts, over-the-top accessories, and don’t shy away from using a little (or a lot!) of hairspray to add volume.

Now, let's talk evolution. The 80s photography and fashion scene was a bold reaction against the minimalist aesthetics of the 70s. Designers used their collections and the photography that accompanied them to push boundaries and make political statements, often commenting on the excess of the era. So, while you recreate these fashion editorials of the 1980s, remember it’s not just about the look—it’s about the vibe and the voice behind the visuals.

In a nutshell, to truly embody the spirit of 80s photography, your shots need drama, decadence, and a dash of rebellion. Get those shoulder pads in place, pump up the color saturation, and capture a moment that’s totally tubular.

Music scene 80s photography

Remember those mega cool album covers from the 80s? Well, you can thank the music scene photography back then for those gem-like memories. This era was wild, man! It was when MTV burst onto the scene and changed how we inhale music forever.

Photographers at 80s concerts didn't just click any old pic; they captured the electric vibe, the wild outfits, and those legendary dance moves. Can you even imagine those legendary concerts without the imagery? Nope, neither can I! This wasn't just about snapping a shot; it was about freezing a moment in music history—forever.

Now, if you wanna rock some music scene photography, 80s style, there are some things you gotta do. You should catch that kinetic energy of a live performance. Just picture big hair, neon lights, and the performer's raw emotion. Oh, and let's not forget the fans! You need to scope out that sea of adoring faces, lit up by the stage lights.

MTV's impact? Enormous. It wasn't just the music; it was the visual spectacle. The channel gave photographers a whole new platform to show off their mad skills. It made music scene photography an iconic part of pop culture.

So, snap away, my friend, and keep the spirit of the 80s alive with each shutter click. Whether it's a local band at a dive bar or a full-blown concert, capture the essence of that unforgettable decade. Who knows, your photos might just be someone's cherished memorabilia someday!

1980s Celebrity Portrait Photography

Imagine stepping into a time machine and winding the clock back to the big hair, shoulder pads, and MTV beats of the 80s—every time you peek at a celebrity’s portrait from that era, that's pretty much what happens. The 1980s celebrity portrait photography scene was a temple of bold expressions and even bolder fashion choices. Oof, talk about a visual punch!

Epic—this is what you'd call the iconic portraits of 80s celebrities. They were more than just glossy prints; they were the storytelling canvases of people's fascinations and dreams. Photographers like Herb Ritts and Annie Leibovitz became the unsung heroes, setting their celeb muses against simplistic backgrounds, letting those expressive gazes and the scandalous lack of smile do all the talking.

If you yearn for some of that vintage glam to drip into your photo albums, start by mimicking classic 80s headshots. Go grab that softbox light, track down a plain backdrop, and drench your subject in soft, dreamy light that whispers sweet nothings of the past. Dive into headshots that frame the face with a confident allure, and do not—I repeat, do not—skimp on the drama!

Now, celebrities in the 80s weren't just people, they were larger-than-life personas. That's why their portraits had to be shot at angles that made them look oh-so-powerful, drenched in hues that screamed "I'm here, darling, and I own it." Want your photos to leave a mark so deep they turn into cultural touchstones? Capture that, and baby, you've got a start to your own 80s flashbulb legacy.

To taste the true essence of the 80s groove, infuse your photography with contrasts, play up the unique contours of your subject, and let your images exude the same unapologetic attitude. You don't just take a picture, you make a statement! So, channel that inner Richard Avedon or Irving Penn, and let's turn your snapshots into coveted time capsules of splendorous zest.

Bridal 80s photography

When you think about wedding photography from the 80s, imagine poufy sleeves, pastel colors, and big hair under even bigger veils. It was all about drama, baby! Wedding photography styles of the 80s were distinct, and they featured soft-focused brides looking dreamily away from the camera. Oh, and don't forget the groom with that classic mustache, standing stoically by her side.

Now, thinking of introducing some of that 80s flair to your big day? Start digging for 80s themed photoshoot props. How about a vintage Polaroid camera or a lace parasol? These props will transport you back in time the second you step in front of that camera, giving your photos that genuine throwback feel.

We can’t talk about the 80s without mentioning those glamour shots. Bride or not, you've got to go all out with the sparkles and shoulder pads. Make sure your photographer knows how to flood those photos with glowing light for that angelic yet totally 80s glamour effect. Imagine the soft edges and the almost holy aura around you — pure 80s gold!

These 80s glamour shots aren't just a blast from the past; they're a statement! They yell, "We are unapologetically embracing the bold and the beautiful!" That's the spirit – go big or go home, right? So tease that hair, slap on some bold lipstick, and rock that retro charm. Your wedding album needs that 80s pizzazz, trust me.

Sports 80s photography

Imagine neon colors, big hair, and even bigger shoulder pads! But what about capturing the action of the decade? Yeah, I’m talking about sports photography during the 1980s. It was all about freezing those high-energy moments on film, where every bead of sweat and expression of sheer determination was immortalized.

In the era of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, photographers on the sidelines had their cameras loaded with film ready to snap the next dunk or touchdown. These iconic photos weren’t just about the athleticism; they oozed the style and swag of the decade—creating images that were as much about the culture as the game.

Rocking the photo world of the time, these images often made their way into famous 80s photo spreads in leading sports magazines—truly a testament to the decade's vibe. This was the time when photos were as revered as the sports stars themselves, showing up in popular culture, defining the era's aesthetics.

If you’re digging this vibe for your album, think bold and dynamic—try to recreate those explosive action shots. Capture that intensity, and let your photos tell the story of the energy and passion of 80s sports legends. And remember, nothing screams 80s like a good action shot with a side of retro nostalgia!

Landscape 80s photography

Let's talk about immersing yourself in the absolute vibe of 80s nature photography. Picture yourself, standing amidst a scene with vivid colors and dramatic lighting—a true signature of 80s nature shots. You got your chunky, manual focus camera; the world is your oyster.

To nail the 80s look, you'll want to capture a mix of untamed wilderness and that retro-pop urban essence. Embrace high contrast and over-saturation to give your photos that full, in-your-face 80s punch. Experiment with analog effects to add graininess, or go for that classic soft-focus look.

If you're by the coast, 80s beach photography is your pearl. Think high sun, strong shadows, and the glistening sheen of sunblock on skin. It's not just about nostalgia; it's about recreating an era where every photo tells a sun-soaked story. So snag that vintage windbreaker and get shooting!

1980s photojournalism

Let's chat about 1980s photojournalism, guys! It wasn't just news; it was an art form, with photographers sprinting around the globe to capture moments that defined an era. Think big—like hair and shoulder pads kind of big—but with cameras and gutsy photographers. They delivered iconic news images that screamed the '80s.

Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am! These photographers didn't just snap a pic; they told an entire story with one frame. 1980s reportage photography had this raw energy you could practically feel zapping through the photo paper. Turned out you didn't need to time travel—you just needed a corkboard full of these electric shots to bring you back to the Age of Excess.

You wanna be a hotshot like those 80s photojournalists? Easy! Nab yourself a camera and start telling stories through the lens. Capture the essence, not just the event. Ready to immortalize your cat's nap like it's breaking news? Go on, give it that 80s flair, and who knows, you might just create your own iconic image. But remember, it's all about the moment, the emotion, and the epic tale behind the click.

Cultural Influence on 80s Photography

Imagine flipping through a photo album and every picture screams the '80s at you. That's what happens when pop culture wriggles its way into the heartbeat of photography. During the 1980s, photographers didn't just capture moments; they froze entire cultural trends in time. So, why was the cultural influence on 1980s photography such a big deal? Because it was everywhere!

Photographers were out snatching bits of everyday life that echoed the loud and vibrant culture of the era. From walls plastered with neon graffiti to folks strutting down the streets in shoulder pads and leg warmers - 80s snapshots are like pop culture encyclopedias. Pop culture in 80s snapshots wasn't just some casual fling; it was the love story of the decade, immortalizing icons, movements, and fashion faux pas we're still obsessed with!

What's more, the cultural events captured in the '80s - like epic concerts, street parties, and, you know, that small thing called the fall of the Berlin Wall - made 80s photography a witness to history. It's not just about a style; it's a USB stick of the era, holding all the files on what made the '80s tick. So grab your camera because you, too, can channel this time-traveling wizardry into your photoshoot. No DeLorean required.


Q: What was photography like in the 1980s?

A: In the 1980s, photography featured vibrant colors, bold patterns, and a preference for capturing candid moments. It also saw the rise of film manipulation and mixed-media techniques.

Q: How do I get an 80s look in photography?

A: To achieve the 80s photography look, use bold, saturated colors, embrace grain, add vignettes or light leaks, and experiment with film or retro-styled digital filters.

Q: Did the 80s have colored pictures?

A: Yes, the 80s definitely had colored pictures. Color photography was popular during that era, with striking saturation and contrast becoming a signature style.

Q: What was the art trend in the 1980s?

A: The 1980s art trend was characterized by the rise of Neo-Expressionism, vibrant color palettes, bold graphics, and a blend of high and low culture in artworks.

Q: Who are some notable 80s photography artists?

A: Notable 80s photography artists include Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cindy Sherman, known for their influential and diverse photographic work.

Q: What are some 80s photography techniques?

A: Techniques that marked 80s photography included the use of off-camera flash for a dramatic effect, cross-processing film, and creative post-processing methods.

Final Words

Alright! We've time-traveled through the vibrant world of 80s photography, from the neon fashion editorials to the ground-breaking concert shots that practically hum with the era's anthems. We've peered into the exclusive 1980s celebrity portraits and strolled down the aisles of bridal glory. Not to mention, we've witnessed how culture was both captured and influenced by the lens of the 80s.

Your final take? This decade was more than just big hair and synthesizers. It was a hot melting pot of creativity and expression that still echoes in today's visual culture. Embrace that retro coolness in your own snapshots by experimenting with some 80s photography techniques. Who knows, maybe your shots will one day be as iconic as the legends we chatted about. Ready to rock that old school vibe?

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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