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 foodie flatlays to minimalist everyday snapshots, here’s what’s trending in the 500px Licensing collection.

Animals, two by two

In animal photography, one of the largest categories in Licensing, photographers are currently gravitating toward pairs. These matches offer a glimpse into animal behaviors, individual personality quirks and interactions with their habitat.

We see moments with parents, highlighting the tenderness of animals nurturing their young through the early beginnings of life, as in SG Wildlife Photography’s shots. And there are the inevitable clashes oddly reminiscent of sibling rivalry, like ‘Ouch, That hurts’ by Paul Wild, and ‘Dancing bears’ by JDay Photography.

Baby Spotted hyena with his mother. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Baby Mountain gorilla sitting on his mother. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Ouch, That hurts by Paul Wild on

Dancing Bears by JDay Photography on

The pairs also present instances where photographers are able to play with symmetry and mirrored movements within the composition. The subjects mimic one another, almost with a purpose, creating a point of interest and showcasing moments that line up all-too-conveniently.

Volunteer Point by Tsutomu Asaba on

Two Springboks pronking in the grass. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Two Southern ground hornbills in the high grass. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Two Gemsbok standing in the grass. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Two baby Impalas starring at the camera. by SG Wildlife Photography on

Mastering the foodie flatlay

Telling the story of how food is prepared is a common theme in the foodie spread. The dish in its final stage is typically the hero of the image, with the ingredients playing supporting roles to the star attraction. This helps us to deconstruct and identify not only what is in the food that is photographed, providing a visual ingredient list, but also helps conveys to the audience that whole and healthy foods are going into the prepared dish.

Green detox smoothie or blended juice in glass bottle on white by Vladislav Nosick on


Apple granita with honey by Yulia Vinogradov on

Mastering the food flatlay also requires a good sense of how textured backgrounds can enhance what you are photographing and the story you are telling. Textiles such as marble, timber, concrete, among others can heighten the visual experience without detracting from the central focus. A light background can help us identify with “clean eats,” similar to ‘Paleo yogurt bowl with banana, kiwi and coconut flakes’ by Vladislav Nosick, whereas a darker, more heavily textured background can be associated with a raw, gritty, and earthy experience, like ‘Raw Brown Pioppini Mushrooms’ by Brent Hofacker.

Paleo yogurt bowl with banana, kiwi and coconut flakes by Vladislav Nosick on

Raw Brown Pioppini Mushrooms by Brent Hofacker on

Minimalist, everyday moments

Captures in the People category take a seemingly minimalistic approach, cultivating small, everyday moments. Otherwise mundane experiences are ones most people can relate to, allowing us to associate a personal memory with the visual message. Also of note is the eye-level position of photos like the ones below, allowing the viewer to engage with the images from a stronger first-person perspective.

Adorable blonde little girl having fun at home. Family time. by Branislav Nenin on

Cheerful woman using laptop while sitting on sofa with dog. by Branislav Nenin on