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 warm landscapes to soft black tones and domestic animals, here’s what’s trending in the 500px Licensing collection.

When looking at a sample size of images submitted to Licensing, we can see that our images are submitted from locations that are all over the world. But in examining the content from the top four countries that contributed to that Licensing sample, stylistic qualities within the imagery become apparent in their top four categories.

This can be seen with the tendency to shoot warm-toned, rocky landscapes within the United States, whereas the European landscapes lean more toward the dramatic, with rolling hillsides and early-morning mist. There is a stronger presence of cooler tones and soft blacks within landscape imagery from European destinations, moving into the realm of moodier landscapes.

We can also see differences in the Animal category. Content from the US and United Kingdom has a stronger focus on wildlife photography, with sharp, true-to-life colors, while Germany, domesticated animal photographer was more popular. The US touts crisp action shots in the Animal category, whereas there is a less-prominent use of depth of field compared to shots from the UK, Italy, or Germany.

United States: Landscapes

Playa Primeval by Mike Lang on

Arizona Afterglow by Robert Warrington on

These Landscape images tend to capture warmer tones and focus on the extreme environments that can be found across North America. The warm tones not only help emphasize the sheer scale of a mountain face or the different peaks that become accentuated during a sunrise or sunset, but the dry deserts and erosion that occurs from the harsh climates found in these locations.

And then impeccable orange by H Peter Ji on

At the morning under Reflections Canyon by Anton Seleznev on

United States: Animals

Content within the Animal category from the US has a strong focus on wildlife photography, but we find consistency with a common theme: freezing expressive moments that communicate action, as in the images below.

Fish! by Melissa Nicholas on

Downhill Run by Robert Warrington on

Nursing Bear Cubs by JDay Photography on

Snowy Owl by Wendy Blanchard on

United Kingdom: Landscapes

House with a view by Adam Spandel on

Canoeing in No Man's Land - Old Harry Rocks by SydsPics  on

Landscapes here focus on a different type of rock formation with cliff edges that cascade into the ocean. The cooler tones represented in the depths of the ocean are again reflected in the blue skies above, creating a different atmosphere and understanding of the landscapes before us. These again speak to the environmental conditions that are associated with these destinations.

United Kingdom: Animals

Scottish Red Deer Stag by Andy Catlin on

Listen out by Daniel Farrington on

Within the Animal category in the UK, shallow depth of field is helps drive the eye to the subject. It creates a heightened focus, allowing the viewers to hone in on the details that define the image.

Little Owl by Alan Smith on

The Four Seasons: Spring by Tiphaine Brydniak on

Italy: Landscapes

What a beautiful morning by Marco Regalli on

Lake Karersee, Italy by Natalie Finnie on

Landscapes within Italy often feature mountains in the distant background. This is where we can really see the use of soft black tones to enhance the depth within the image. Motion captured within the clouds leads our eyes to the tip of the mountain peaks, or horizons that grow distantly lighter as you move through the image, causing your eyes to shift throughout the space.

Val D'orcia by Marco Rocchigiani on

Sunrise at Alpe di Siusi by Aleš Krivec on

Italy: Animals

We see a strong use of a shallow depth of field employed again within the Animal category. This helps to emphasize the subject in the photo, drawing focus and attention.

stambecco by Angelo Crippa on

The goose attacks by Filippo Carlot on

The Pigeon of Venice by Omar Abdel Samad on

Running or Flying? by Edoardo Navarria on


Landscapes that were submitted from Germany provide us with a broader view of the surroundings, focusing more on the overall landscape ahead.

2017-3083 Bastei Wetterkiefer Sunrise by Manuel Gomera Deaño on

Frozen Creek in the Woods by Lukas Hartmann on

Germany: Animals

Nova reflection by  elfmet on

Nova on the gallery by  elfmet on

The Animal category in Germany focused heavily on the domestic pet, providing us with highly-styled photography—a stark contrast to the spontaneous wildlife photography we see from other contributing countries. The animals are framed perfectly within the image, with just enough negative space to allow your eyes to wander and appreciate the patience that would go into producing this kind of content.

Double Aria by  elfmet on

Aria at the Orangerie by  elfmet on

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