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 unfamiliar angles in macro photography to contrasting backgrounds in food and forced perspective, here’s what’s trending in the 500px collection.

In this Licensing roundup, our sample size highlights trends within five categories: food photography, macro, travel, people, and city.


Russia contributes the most to this particular category in our sample, enough to identify a few key features within the images themselves, primarily, the use of dark- or light-colored backgrounds.

Grilled tomahawk steak by Natasha Breen on

Cherry tomatoes on a dark background by Ekaterina Fedotova on


A large number of the submissions featured either dark grey, or lighter whites and pastel backgrounds, making it easy to separate and analyze these two groups. While the two background styles create a stark contrast between themselves, they are used to isolate similar attributes within the photos themselves.

Glass jar of oat granola by Cseh Ioan on

French beans on the dark background by Thai Thu on

King mandarins-Orange slices by Thai Thu on

The dark backgrounds utilized in food photography are used to help emphasize the contrast between light and shadow. The darker areas in the image help to guide the viewer’s eye to the brighter parts of the composition, where the subject is positioned within the frame. This usually includes a pop of color, as seen in ‘French beans on the dark background’ by Thai Thu, or ‘Cherry tomatoes on a dark background’ by Ekaterina Fedotova, showcasing the vibrant focus of the image.

Beetroot marinated salmon sandwiches by Natasha Breen on

Unusual black camembert cheese with white mildew by Fascinadora  on

Roasted duck leg with mashed carrot and dried prunes by Konstantin Senyavskiy on

Similarly, lighter or white backgrounds can be used for this purpose as well. When pairing a lighter background with lighter accessories, the only color within the images comes from the food that has been incorporated, driving your eyes to the subject and making the colors pop within the frame.

Delicious cupcakes on the table by Teeradej Srikijvilaikul on

Traditional middle eastern dish of shakshuka in a pan. by Konstantin Senyavskiy on

Ice cream popsicle by Alena Dziamyanka on


Macro photography is another category that Licensing Contributors can’t get enough of, often being one of our top categories to submit to. Germany was the largest contributor of macro photography to this sample, followed closely by the United States. We often find that a soft background and sharp subject is what defines these small macro moments. However, some of the more unexpected angles become particularly striking within this collection.

Bajo el Rocio by Jesús García on

Batocera by Eduardo Alonso Morales on

Shooting these tiny critters on an angle provides us with an added element of interest. We not only are viewing the subject at an increased magnification with which we’re unfamiliar, but also view the subject at an uncommon angle, adding dimension (depending on the lighting), visual impact, and conceptual meaning, to name a few.

For example, looking down on the lizard in ‘In Between’ by Spencer Jones amplifies how small the lizard is, hiding between the folds of the leaf, whereas being eye-to-eye with images such as ‘Jumping spider’ by Kurt Hohenbichler or ‘Bajo el Rocio’ by Jesús García provides us with powerful and surreal, slightly-horrific viewpoints, despite knowing in the back of our minds that these are magnified, macro images and the subjects are, in fact, quite small.

In Between by Spencer Jones on

Jumping spider by Kurt Hohenbichler on


Photographers from the U.S. submitted the most amount of content to the travel category. This group of photographs focuses on what is hidden during travel—private and unseen moments that connect the traveller to the experience. With global travel becoming increasingly accessible, there is a desire to seek out undiscovered moments within these destinations, both from a first-person perspective and an experiential perspective.

Happy Elephant by Smon Satitayangkul on

Girl on the beach by Vasit Buasamui on

Images such as ‘Girl on the beach’ by Vasit Buasamui have a narrow focus, encouraging you to dive deep into your memory and think of times that you have stepped onto the wet sand, heard waves gently wash across the shore and smelled salty breeze as you casually walk across the beach, careful to only let your toes meet the crisp water’s edge.

Couple making a wanderlust vacation, exploring iceland with thei by Cristian Negroni on

Group of friends having fun at the lake in the morning by Cristian Negroni on


There was a spike in submissions from Serbia in the people category, capturing an action or freezing a subtle movement, helping to translate the experience within the image.

Family celebration or a garden party outside in the backyard. Close up. by Jozef Polc on

Images such as ‘Family celebration or a garden party outside in the backyard. Close up’. by Jozef Polc and ‘Hands showing little buds in the soil’ by Cristian Negroni are captured from a close-range, first-person crop, which produces a forced perspective.

Images taken from forced perspectives ensure the viewer runs through a series of thought processes as they consider the image. Ownership is encouraged as you are looking at the image through a first-person perspective, as if witnessing the action through your own eyes. The viewer then interacts with the content and relates the captured moment to an experience they once had.

Hands showing little buds in the soil by Cristian Negroni on

An unrecognizale senior woman kneading dough in the kitchen at home. by Jozef Polc on


The U.S., again, contributed the most amount of content to the category in this sample, however, it was closely followed by Italy. City photography tends to focus on cityscapes and architecture within different cities around the world. Similar to travel photography and journalism, these images tell a similar story from different perspectives.

Breaking Through The Clouds by Robert Schmalle on

Golden Gate Bridge by Bill Vorasate on

Hong Kong city residences area. Low angle view image of a crowde by Prasit Rodphan on

Building from The transformer 4 by Pattarapol Kornsakoo on

Photographers seek out these city locations and photograph it from various viewpoints, opening up the space and allowing the viewer to explore and interpret the destination in a variety of ways. It showcases the visual process behind composing the images in these particular locations, and how different photographers choose to approach the same location.

Rainbow Houses by Bart Hendrix on

Reitdiephaven, Groningen. by Nicholas Vaiarini on

houses at the water by Marcel Derweduwen on

Higher Ground by Sebastien Kaisergruber on

Empire State Building Flare by Julian Slaughter on

View of 14th Street and 6th Ave From Above by Brandon Blattner on

Downtown manhattan view during sunset by Andriy Stefanyshyn on

Want to see more of what’s trending in Licensing? Check out the 500px collection.