Inspiration, Learning, Trends

Creative Visual Trends and Top Insights for Your Photos in 2018

Every year, there are keywords that remain at the top of the charts. These highlight trends and spikes in events, holidays or what’s fresh in visual content. As an author, it is important to understand how these trends affect your items and align with your customers growing interests, fluid identities and changing landscapes.

In 2017, we found visual trends in nature and simplicity – a desire to break through the fake, unnatural and artificial. It highlighted a shift in design and photography, challenging traditional notions of gender, work, travel and more.

As we continue to refine these trends, 2018 marks a new chapter to examine how diversity and current events shape our world of stock photography today.

Here, we have highlighted some of the most popular images, keywords and best examples in 2017 as chosen by our Content Specialist on Elements to provide some insights into what you – as authors, should look for in your photos going into 2018.

1. Business/Office

Designer at Work in Office

Top View of a Working Desk

Business Conversation

2. Food

Healthy Eating and Cooking

3. Technology

Brainstorming Workplace Concept

4. Family

Newborn Feet in Mothers Hands

5. Fashion

Girl with Red Hair Wig

6. Wedding/Love

Couple Dancing Wedding

7. Beach

Aerial View of Woman on the Beach

8. Travel/Transportation

Traveler in the Mountains

9. Medical/Science

Medical Team Performing Operation

Microscope in Laboratory

10. Fitness/Sports

Powerlifter Hands in Talc

11. Construction

Building Construction Industry

12. Holidays, Celebrations & Events (E.g Christmas, Festivals etc.)

Christmas Gift Boxes

Dance Club

You will notice that these images have been processed fairly naturally, have good lighting and good composition. That’s precisely the type of content we are looking for. The retro filtering, heavy vignetting, digitally added lens flares and sun effects that have been so trendy in the last decade is something we are moving away from. This is not to say that filtered images no longer have commercial utility, simply that we are building a library of natural-looking images that people can easily relate to.

These images better represent the world we live in and are more likely to withstand the test of time. Obviously, with certain subjects like technology, some images might have a shorter lifespan than others. E.g Like that time flip phones were so cool..

Check out this article here on how to best prepare your items for the busy shopping/holiday season.

2018 Key Insights and Recommendations

Looking forward into 2018, there are some key areas to consider when refining your portfolio and getting prepared for trends throughout the year. These highlight the need to capture realistic, authentic and timely images in a world where news is instant and trust in the media is often lost.  

Authors are encouraged to explore new ways of self-expression and connection in photography and how can be used to communicate messages in a more relevant, authentic or unusual way.

Keeping it Current

Demand for certain images can also fluctuate with current events. In the past year, a very popular topic has been cryptocurrencies. When Bitcoin hit record highs during the year, there was a clear increase in the number of searches for the subject.

On a side note, it’s important to remember that we do not have an editorial collection so all images need to meet the commercial licensing requirements and legal considerations even if they are related to newsworthy subjects.

Bitcoins and Dollars

Keeping it Real

Later this year, we will be announcing a new policy in line with France’s new legislation which requires clients who use commercial images to disclose whether the body shape of a model has been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

We think this is a major step in the right direction after decades of advertising defining beauty instead of embracing the beauty in diversity.

Woman Jogging in Nature


There’s always a demand for high-quality images containing variations in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age – while being careful to avoid stereotypes. We can always use new images of women working in non-traditional fields of work like construction, mechanics, welding, agriculture just to name a few. The same applies to men, not all are businessmen or lumberjacks.

It’s also important that the images look credible. In the following examples, it’s possible that these models are not actually a carpenter and a florist but nothing in these images leads us to believe otherwise.

Woman Worker in the Carpenter Workroom

Flower Shop Business Owner Working


In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a lot of desaturated photos, by processing or simply by choosing subtle colors. Bold colors are gradually making a return. Pantone’s color of the year for 2017 was Greenery and for 2018 it’s Ultra Violet.

Now, this doesn’t mean all images should contain purple or bold colors in 2018, it’s simply something to consider when the subject suits itself for a dash of color. Pantone’s choice of color is based on observations across the entire design industry, from cars to fashion.

Fresh Ripe Figs in a Bowl

If you have any questions, want to continue the conversation or share your photography insights, jump over to the forums and connect with your fellow author community.