Keep up with key trends in licensing as 500px’s Art Director & Creative Research Lead, Karen Biilmann, analyzes common threads and current themes throughout our contributors’ photography submissions. From dramatic landscapes to expressive animals, here’s what’s trending in the 500px Licensing collection.

Key trend: Dramatic landscapes

We’re able to travel the world as our photographers capture moments of inspiration found in striking scenery. Photographers such as Konstantin Shitov help to showcase how truly vast our landscapes are.

north Vietnam by Konstantin Shitov on

We return to the topic of perspective when photographers reach for new heights, soaring into views from above with a surge in the popularity of aerial photography. This not only captures a huge area, but channels a new wave of thinking when it comes to landscape photography. Sometimes merely looking directly down at the landscape creates a dramatic view, as it’s an unusual perspective we are not naturally able to acquire, as seen in the image ‘Serie costas, el canelo’ by Dario Vargas.

Serie costas, el canelo by Dario Vargas on

Light and color also play an important role. Light is used to accentuate the size of the landscape, helping to cast dramatic shadows or enhance the mood of the image: from the magical experience of soft and romantic morning light coupled with rolling mist, as depicted in ‘Toscana’ by Peter Fabianek, to the sultry, overcast, and monochromatic landscapes that build layers of awe and intrigue, such as ‘Vesturhorn – Still’ by Ratanachai Kitichai.

Toscana by Peter Fabianek on

Vesturhorn - Still by Ratanachai Kitichai on

We also see landscapes juxtaposed with architectural features, contradicting the elements and experience within the image. A harsh environment paired with the comfort of home provokes curiosity while also indicating scale in relation to how large the surrounding rock formations are, as in ‘House in Bluff’ by Julian Thomas.

House in Bluff by Julian Thomas on

Key trend: Travel

This is a category that takes us through diverse landscapes on a grand scale, often reminding us of how small we are, as seen with the explorer aesthetic in ‘Reynisfjara Rocks’ by Fritz Bacon, ‘Sunrise driving at Salar de Uyuni’ by Bastien Poux, and ‘Long way’ by Anna Karaulova.

Reynisfjara Rocks by Fritz Bacon on

Sunrise driving at Salar de Uyuni by Bastien Poux on

Long way by Anna Karaulova on

We launch into an immersive travel experience through a first person narrative, seeing through the eyes of the photographer as if we are along for the ride: ‘Above choppy water’ by Fabio Silva and ‘Rockies Relaxation’ by Jake Graham.

Above choppy water by Fábio Silva on

Rockies Relaxation. by Jake Graham on

We as viewers are also invited to looking beyond the traveller in shots featuring the back of the head, leading our eye to the expansive landscape destination beyond. It’s a glimpse into a moment of reflection, as the subject contemplates the view they have traveled to see: ‘Looking at Galacia’ by Zhana Yordanova and ‘Soak in the sawtooths’ by Sam Brockway.

Looking at Galicia by Zhana Yordanova on

soak in the sawtooths by Sam Brockway on

Key trend: Animals

We find images of animals capturing satirical expressions or moments of comfort, humanizing animals and communicating their emotional connection to one another and their environments. Moments such as a penguin’s death-defying jump, ‘Leap of Faith’ by John Dickens, cheekily communicate that even animals struggle with their morning commute.

Leap of Faith by John Dickens on

We are also shown moments that are all-too-familiar, such as a greedy monkey possessively enjoying a lollipop in ‘Monkey in Angkor Wat’ by Léonard Rodriguez.

Monkey in Angkor Wat - Cambodia by Léonard Rodriguez on

Or the pure shock this frog has managed to express, similar to when you receive your credit card statement at the end of the month: ‘Little Frog’ by Alex Mayer.

Little Frog by Alex Mayer on

We are also provided moments of camaraderie, such as this gang of confident ducks that rule the farmyard: ‘Swans and ducks in a farm’ by Naazira AN, or the emboldened frog hitching a ride in ‘Best Friend’ by Edy Pamungkas.

Swans and ducks in a farm by Naazira AN on

Best Friend by Edy Pamungkas on

Key trend: Food

Food reveals trends like first-person perspective, as seen in ‘Summer pizza’ by Marina Kuznetcova and ‘Marian plum fruits on the old wood’ by Thai Thu.

Summer pizza by Marina Kuznetcova on

Marian plum fruits on the old wood by Thai Thu on

Marian plum fruits on the old wood’ by Thai Thu also references Renaissance still life paintings, drawing inspiration from artists such as Fede Galizia and his painting, White Ceramic Bowl with Peaches and Red and Blue Plums, circa 1610.

We can see this through the depth in coloring and tonal range within the image. Textural elements create a holistic experience; mixing the rough burlap with the warm wood and antique scissors, and the contrasting between the smooth peel of the plum and the crisp leaf on the stem.