As we (finally!) emerge from the pandemic, this summer offers more opportunities than ever to refresh your Licensing Portfolio. Late last year, Expedia named the “Greatest of All Trips (GOAT)” as their top travel trend for 2022, citing travelers’ interest in “going big” and creating meaningful experiences post-pandemic. Think spa retreats, off-the-beaten-path destinations, luxe amenities, or even sleeping under the stars.

According to Expedia’s research, 40% of American travelers are more willing than ever to treat themselves and “splurge” on future travels. 21% are most excited about doing things they would never usually do, and 40% want to try food they’ve never tried before. In this quick guide, we’ll look at just a few of the timely topics and ideas to incorporate into your future commercial shoots, from fashion to food and beyond.

Spotlight on: Colorful fashion

From the return of the Y2K aesthetic to the boho renaissance, 2022 has embraced retro looks with a modern twist. Following years of uncertainty, people are diving back into mood-boosting color and bold statement pieces. Think florals, maximalist styling, edgy goth-inspired accessories, and unexpected pops of color. “Minimalism still has its place but is fading in celebration of color and personal expression,” the 500px team explains.

As part of their influential report Pinterest Predicts 2022, the platform named “Dopamine Dressing” among their top trends, with searches for “Rainbow dress women,” “Fuchsia dress outfit,” “Electric blue outfit,” and “Vibrant outfits” rising by 2x, 4x, 140%, and 16x, respectively. Another one of their trends was “Be Jeweled,” with blinged-out search terms like “tooth gem,” “pedicure with rhinestones,” and “crystal eye makeup” all on the rise.

This summer, feel free to go bold rather than playing it safe, and lean into your model’s personal style. By making your shoots a collaboration, you’ll be able to bring out more of their unique aesthetic and personality, resulting in a more authentic photography portfolio. “Maximalism and loud prints offer more room for identity and self-expression,” the team at 500px adds.

Spotlight on: Playful design

As with colorful fashion, we’re embracing uplifting hues at home. Etsy’s Marketplace Insights: 2022 Spring and Summer Trends report named “mood-boosting hues” and “graphic retro” among their top predictions for the season, indicating renewed interest in bold colors and 1960s-70s inspired prints.

Additionally, many are replacing hard edges with curved design details or incorporating natural patterns, wood, and sculptural elements. If we return to data from Pinterest, we’ll find that searches for terms like “Round pool deck ideas,” “curved couch living room,” “curved bar design,” and “curved walls interior” all increased over 2021.

You can incorporate some of these ideas into lifestyle shoots, especially when covering DIY home projects like upcycling old furniture or revamping your living space. The upcycling trend will continue to be in demand as we embrace slow fashion and more conscious choices about sustainability at home.

The warmer months also offer opportunities to reconnect and reunite with friends and family after a difficult few years, so consider small backyard photo sessions. Over on Etsy, searches for “wooden outdoor furniture” saw a whopping 5,474% increase year over year. Think outdoor picnics, barbeques, or tea parties.

Spotlight on: Sustainable choices

Etsy’s Spring and Summer trend report also points to another important movement: even as we move back into entertaining, we’re replacing wasteful paper plates with elegant and longer-lasting tableware. Meanwhile, their research indicates increased interest in sustainable materials like hemp or flax linen.

In lifestyle photography, all the details of your shoot, from the setting of the table to the clothing your models wear, can help reflect an overall eco-conscious philosophy. “Sustainability is still a major movement, especially as it pertains to the home,” the 500px team shares. “Consider composting, zero-waste products, gardening, and planting.”

The botanical trend isn’t going away anytime soon, either—according to Etsy, searches for “plant lover gift” have shot up by 83% year over year. Meanwhile, over on Pinterest, searches for terms like “biophilic office design” and “staircase garden” all rose in the last year, with terms like “vertical plant wall” and “interior garden” trending in Canada.

Spotlight on: Slow travel

Slow travel prioritizes quality over quantity, encouraging us to take our time to connect with local cultures, explore the road less traveled, and give back to the communities we visit through ethical, clean travel practices. It’s about forgoing the air flights and overcrowded destinations in favor of walking, biking, or taking public transport through unique locales that have something special to offer. As part of a recent trend report, Getty Images noted that popular visuals these days tend to reflect this philosophy, especially in the US. Think less sightseeing, more nature.

For your summer-themed shoots, you can also consider a “return to nature” by photographing family and friends hiking or camping. Over on Getty Images, searches for “road trip” rose in 2021, as did searches for “electric car,” underscoring the continued importance of sustainability in advertising and visual communications.

Relatedly, another idea to explore would be the “workation,” or working holiday, an extended stay in a destination where you can mix work and leisure. With more people working abroad or embracing the mobile office trend, photoshoot opportunities abound. Think also about the experiences you can photograph close to home, from small businesses to local hangouts. You might not have to travel far; hidden gems could lie in wait in your own neighborhood.

Spotlight on: Wellness trips

Out of the anxiety of the pandemic has emerged another travel trend: travel as wellness. From retreats in nature reserves to delicious plant-based meals, served up at eco-friendly hotels, travel for health and wellbeing is here to stay. According to research from American Express, in fact, 76% of respondents agreed that they want to spend more on travel that improves their wellbeing. 55% said they’re willing to pay extra for wellness activities on future vacations.

Elsewhere, the Hilton Global Trends Report named “holistic wellness” as a priority for travelers, with 98% of their survey respondents agreeing that they prioritize wellness activities while on vacation. Consider the wellness activities you and your models enjoy, whether it’s going to the spa, taking a digital detox, or simply taking time to reflect in nature.

Spotlight on: Inclusive dining

At the start of 2022, trend forecasting authority WGSN named six top food and drink trends for the year, including climate-friendly kelp and functional prebiotic beverages. Some of their picks, including koji, aka Japan’s national fungus, and jollof rice, a staple in West Africa, speak to the popularity of international flavors. Food in stock photography should be as diverse as it is in real life, so feel free to highlight your culture, its colors, and its flavors through your work this summer.

For further inspiration, Wunderman Thompson, who every year releases their influential Future 100 report, listed “Edible escapism” as one of their trends for 2022, underscoring travelers’ desire to explore the world through what they cook at home. They cited the popular cookbook Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia, known for its beautiful photography. Take this summer as an opportunity to get creative with dishes, meals, sides, cocktails, and desserts, while also honoring food and culture around the world.

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