Well-executed conceptual still-life photography can be one of the strongest visuals for marketers to use in their campaigns. Impactful and not subject to seasonal trends, they can deliver a visual punch and reinforce core messages, while leaving room for text if needed. But a great conceptual image can stand on its own.

A great example is this recently license image by Hardi Saputri—it’s powerful, edgy, minimal, and implies a number of concepts while maintaining its charming simplicity.

Midas Touch by Hardi Saputra on 500px.com

The concept behind Hardi’s photo and a subtle fine art flare is really strong, making it usable in a variety of media, from financial editorials to online ads. And, of course, a new contemporary take on a well-known story forms a good bond between a storyteller (our photographer) and the audience. Transformation, or the golden touch, is the obvious message of the image; however, it can also be used to illustrate reaching for the impossible, or the transient nature of life.

In this example, the colors are soft, muted, and solid—in line with visual photo trends of 2016. The photo almost looks like a painting referencing Michelangelo’s masterpiece, and the chosen composition only reinforces this feeling. It is simple, has lots of copy space, and is almost zen-like, which is a great quality for really memorable images. All of these features make it a perfect canvas for advertising designers to work upon.

Brands wanting a clean, contemporary take often lean towards using graphics for their campaigns and content marketing, but conceptual photography is a powerful visual communication tool that can help a brand stand apart from the ever-more-crowded pack.

One of the best brands at this is Target, which has built a consistent and recognizable visual style driven by their use of playful conceptual photography that showcases items for sale with small winks to the logo:


Need some inspiration? Here is a collection of images from 500px to get you started!

kleine oranje boot by Laurens Kaldeway on 500px.com

Be different by Paulo Gonçalves on 500px.com

i.heart.running by Sunil Chawla on 500px.com

Forensic Peppers by Viktor Aladzajkov on 500px.com

drought world map by ionut jay on 500px.com

fat & slim by Nailia Schwarz on 500px.com

coffee time by laurentiu iordache on 500px.com

fire on match by Paul Humbak on 500px.com

Coffee for travelers by Dina Belenko on 500px.com