13 Youth Culture Photography Ideas to Get Inspired

Need some creative youth сulture photography ideas? Learning how to represent the youth accurately in your photography is essential, but it’s difficult to achieve this. Today, I ‘ll dive deeper into 13 popular subcultures and social groups.

Top 13 Youth Culture Photo Ideas for Photographers

Discover the main social groups, and learn about what locations, props, and clothes you should use for each subculture.

1. Hippies

hippies youth culture photography ideas

Those, who call themselves hippies usually pursue a carefree life, so this is exactly what you need to show in your images. You should opt for lifestyle photography and relaxed poses if you want to get true-to-life results.

To create a harmonious composition, you can use cheap photography props, flowers, handmade jewelry, and other colorful items. Hippies were originally environmentalists, so everything that belongs to the material sphere is of no interest to them. That’s why you should take photos only in the open air.

hippies youth culture photography ideas

Hippies favor colorful and pattered clothes, so keep this in mind while preparing an attire for a model. To accentuate the earthy and natural aspects of the outfit, choose leather, hemp rope, linen, and straw. Recycled fabric is another fitting option. To show a tight connection with nature, you can ask models to pose barefoot.

2. Cyberpunk

cyberpunk youth culture photography ideas

To take a youth photo of a person interested in cyberpunk, you need to perceive this culture as a separate world with a strong emphasis on computer technologies. Actually, this is a mixture of neon photography, futuristic clothes, bright makeup, glowing technology, and vibrant colors. To produce lifelike shots, you need to arrange shooting in a tech-heavy environment. A good starting point is a city spot surrounded by many glowing signs and shopfronts at night.

cyberpunk youth culture photography ideas

Since cyberpunk compositions involve many colorful items arranged in grungy cityscapes, don’t limit yourself to ordinary lighting setups and patterns. It makes sense to try something like colored gels to produce that tech-focused spirit. You can also add chromatic aberration in Photoshop, using digital distortion to your advantage, which is especially suitable for cyberpunk photos.

3. Activism

social justice youth culture photography ideas

Activists try to make our world a better place to live by uprooting injustice, propagandizing social equality, and defending human rights. Hardly can you come up with a more powerful idea than capturing activists when they are making a social justice statement.

Primarily, you need to define what social justice sphere is the most important for you. Monitor current news, keep tabs on the most serious cases, and it will be easier for you to take powerful pictures that tell a story that will appeal to a multi-million audience. You can also bring your photography series ideas to life by attending protests and marches that touch upon the most burning topics.

4. Skateboarding

skateboarding youth culture photography ideas

If you plan to take pictures of young adults, who are fond of skateboarding, you have to adhere to the principles of high speed photography. This typically involves using high shutter speed to capture fast movements and stunts. In terms of clothing, skateboards usually wear bulky sneakers, baggy jeans, and hoodies. To take images that make other people feel the motion depicted, I highly recommend shooting from low angles.

Besides, you should use fisheye camera lenses, as they create a special 3D effect. Such images look interesting and impactful.

5. Boho

boho youth culture photography ideas

Boho is a youth subculture that originated from the hippie movement. Representatives of this cultural group follow a Native American style, wearing fringe jackets, feather headdresses, and tribal makeup. Similar to hippies, they like natural materials and flowy silhouettes.

boho youth culture photography ideas

A typical symbol of Boho youth culture is a teepee, so make sure you have such a prop at the shooting. If you want to succeed in Boho culture photography, you should take images only outdoors to highlight their freedom-loving lifestyle.

6. Post-Apocalyptic

post-apocalyptic youth culture photography ideas

The world “post-apocalyptic” implies that depicted events take place after a catastrophe or apocalypse. People, who make up the “post-apocalyptic” subculture, share the belief that humanity is fated to die because of our inexhaustible violence. If you want to delve into the world of post-apocalyptic youth photography, you should take images in abandoned places and houses, wastelands, and moody environments. Dark clothes and makeup are obligatory.

post-apocalyptic youth culture photography ideas

Common clothes for people, who wait for the end of the world are cargo paints, heavy belts, and hip holster bags. They choose black, khaki, and olive drab colors. To show life after a disaster as realistically as possible, models can also wear goggles and gas masks.

7. Steampunk

steampunk youth culture photography ideas

This subculture is very interesting, being the mixture of 19th-century aesthetics and science fiction. Such a combination looks very interesting, as technologies used are related to our modern realities, but the energy source is steam instead of electricity, gas, and oil. If you want your viewers to feel that particular atmosphere, I highly recommend filling the frame with smoke.

steampunk youth culture photography ideas

The steampunk style is mainly based on the fashion of the Victorian Era in England, Belle Epoque in France, and the Civil War era in the United States. However, the initial variant of attire is slightly modernized with mechanical elements with gears. Since this is a fictional world, you can’t do without a photo manipulation service to relocate models to the steampunk setting.

8. Gothic

gothic youth culture photography ideas

While preparing Gothic youth culture photography ideas for your next photo session, you need to remember the mood in the first place. Everything that is dark, gloomy, and even a bit spooky is OK. The most popular colors among Goths are black, grey, and white.

You can also use other colors but remember about a sullen atmosphere that defines this subculture. As for locations, choose any that looks haunted – old houses, castles, woods, misty valleys, etc.

gothic youth culture photography ideas

Many photographers, who try to reveal the essence of the Gothic philosophy, often use B&W filters. While selecting clothes for models, consider the roots, namely punk fashion, Victorians and Elizabethans. Dark eyeliners and lipsticks, numerous accessories, and unusual headdresses are also welcome.

9. Hipster

hipster youth culture photography ideas

Hipsters are usually men and women in their 20s -30s who see this world in a different way. They believe in progressive politics, a free-thinking society, a special role of art, indie music, and creativity.

hipster youth culture photography ideas

Since hipsters appreciate non-conformity in everyday life, you need to find a corresponding place for shooting. This can be an underground spot without hectic crowds. If you are also into film photography, you can grab your film camera and photograph hipsters giving your images a vintage vibe.

Don’t discard creative photography ideas, as you never know what will work best in each particular case.

10. Rock-N-Roll

rock-n-roll youth culture photography ideas

Rock and roll youth photography is very popular, and the subculture itself was inspired by the rock-and-roll music genre in the late 1940s and early 1950s. You can easily recognize members of this subculture by denim clothes, leather jackets, colorful tops, and rock-n-roll emblems.

rock-n-roll youth culture photography ideas

Another typical feature is long hair. If you think of organizing a rock-and-roll photo session, I highly recommend shooting in clubs, concerts, and festivals to capture genuine emotions and feelings.

11. Punk

punk youth culture photography ideas

Punks like listening to loud music and try to show their disapproval of well-established rules with highly theatric use of cosmetics, tattoos, accessories, and clothes. They also often experiment with body modifications, so they are instantly recognizable among other citizens.

punk youth culture photography ideas

Since everything in this subculture grounds on music, you should use the methods of music festival photography. Arrange the process so that you capture stage diving and crowd surfing, which largely defines punk bands.

12. Skinhead

skinhead youth culture photography ideas

This subculture appeared in the 1960s in London when working-class youths started to express their attitude to life in a very conspicuous way. Usually, these guys have several tattoos and shaved-off hair.

Since they like spending time in groups, you need to prepare a list of creative group photo ideas for your thematic shooting. Finding a grunge background is a must.

13. Cybergoth

cybergoth youth culture photography ideas

Cybergoths have borrowed the most prominent elements from goth, raver, rivethead, and cyberpunk styles. They fancy fluorescent colors and different artificial-looking materials, that can be combined into futuristic compositions. They have hair of unnatural colors and with many bright accessories called cyberlox (made of wool, rubber, and foam).

cybergoth youth culture photography ideas

If you want to take a cybergoth youth photo, go to clubs and desolate areas. Take advantage of led lights for photography to get interesting lighting effects in shots.

Bonus Tools

tools for editing youth culture photography

If you are seriously engaged in youth culture photography, you should be attentive with color correction and various effects. With these presets at your disposal, you can cope with the task in virtually no time and get a consistent look across all images.