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 long exposure and remote locations to storytelling through food, here’s what’s trending in the 500px Licensing collection.

Long exposures & remote destinations

As in our last trend report, dramatic landscapes are still a core feature in Licensing, but here, photographers have taken to the night, shining a light on long exposures, remote locations, and movement in the night sky.

These far-flung locations accentuate crystal clear skies, dazzling star clusters, and fantastic aurora borealis light shows. Long exposures pick up on even the most subtle movements in the night sky, capturing motion and leading the eye within the frame. Instead of dramatic landforms being the sole focus in these images, they instead complement the experience within the composition, often drawing your eye to the centre of the frame. The sheer scale of these isolated locations provide room for your eyes to wander, evoking a sense of peace as you look at the landscape.

The Journey of Santa by Mu Memories on

Wharariki Beach by Gordian Schuster on

Ship&Aurora by Norbert Nawrocki on

Rutland Church by Dawid Kamela on

Domesticated life

The not-so-secret life of pets is having a moment. We took a closer look at some of our favorite, fun-loving companions and spotted a few key themes. See: pets in action, playing with friends, and getting dirty.

Funny dog trick by Inuk dutch shepherd on

Timmie by Mathias Ahrens on

Happy French bulldog by zhao hui on

And after a full day, sometimes a pet just needs some good ol’ downtime. Lounging around the house is an essential pastime for these subjects.

Beagle dog by ????? ??????????? on

By Katie Lukashow by Katie M. Lukashow on

Relax in Neko Café by Valentina Landucci on

But from one extreme to the other, life is not all fun and games. Pampered pet life may be #goals, however, we have also unearthed the less-enjoyable side of owners’ #petlove. Such as bathtime:

Bath time by Geoff Griffiths on

Wet kitty by Dusica  on

Questionable hair days:

?????~ by zhao hui on

And fashion faux pas:

DSC05315.jpg by Pablo Garcia on

Shih Tzu dogs and their friends by zhao hui on

Jokes aside, we’re seeing a lot of distinctly soft backgrounds, creating this highly identifiable look and theme to pet portraitures. These trending shots are highlighting expressions and moments, while also surfacing narratives that are instantly familiar to many pet owners.

Knopa by Valery Kovalenko on

A bug’s life

Macro photography allows photographers to zoom in on small, otherwise-unknown moments, like getting up-close-and-personal with insects. We have the opportunity to see them interacting with one another, which we can see in ‘Just say hi…’ by Nico Yoas. We’re also encouraged to take in every hair, leg, and eyeball on a tiny arachnid, such as in ‘Black Jumping Spider?’ by Suparmanto Bong.

just say hi... by Nico Yoas on

Black Jumping Spider? by Suparmanto Bong on

Some instances of macro photography scale the subject to such a size that it appears abstracted, similar to new age poster art referencing biomechanical, lovecraftian horror.

BROWN EYES .. by Avismita Bhattacharyya on

Connecting moments

Family ties and connection—especially moments between children and siblings—are also trending in the collection. The strong connection of an older sibling to a younger one is shown in ‘Sister love’ by Joan Marc Cots. We also see new beginnings and early bonds formed with a proud sister and new baby in ‘Welcome to the family lil sis:)’ by Elena Hecht. Moments on vacation also command focus, showing sisters playing in the sand or having a good time on the beach.

Sister love by Joan Marc Cots on

Welcome to the family, little sis:) by Elena Hecht on

Adorable little girls playing with sand on the beach. Back view of kids walking along the beach by Dmitry Travnikov on

Concrete jungles

Dramatic skyscrapers and downtown skylines are captured from all angles in the collection. Current contributions have us looking into the sky from a first-person perspective, creating long lines and an extension that towers above the ground.

Zenith by Chang Yong Choi on

Hong Kong Apartments by H.R AN on

From above, the photographer delivers a high-level look at the concrete jungle, seas of skyscrapers, and city grids. We also face cities straight-on, seeing them from a different, equally-dramatic perspective.

Vancouver | British Columbia by William Self on

Over Downtown by Jon Trend on

The story of food

Food photography has grown into a storytelling experience, showing us the process of food creation from start to finish. We see documentation and narrative in the series, as seen in Banislav Nenin’s recording of the making of a pizza. He suggests an element of film with different angles in the various stages of pizza construction, like stop-motion animation; movement and instructions are communicated within the four frame series.

While the chef remains off-camera, a human presence is still felt throughout the series. The chef’s presence is implied, but not the focus, humanizing the experience and queuing our inner monologue: “I can do this, too.”

Stack of tomatoes in basket for sale. Market sale. by Branislav Nenin on

Preparing pizza. Chef's hand adding tomato sauce on pizza dough. by Branislav Nenin on

Delicious pizza preparation. Top view. by Branislav Nenin on

Close-up image of hand of chef baker cutting pizza. by Branislav Nenin on