Stock Photo Trends in 2019

Content creators, your New Year's resolution list's not done yet! We've got some interesting news and facts to share with you so get your pens, pencils and cameras ready for what is going to be an interesting year. If you're looking for inspiration or guidance on what to shoot and draw, we've put together a list of upcoming trends in stock photography and it's all based on true story. Or better said, true search-and-download history, plus nowadays realities.

Here's how 2019 is going to look, stock photo-wise, according to Dreamstime. Sneak peek: it is going to be fluid and all-inclusive, vividly bright, unruly and uncertain, charismatic and authentic, full of returns to and runaways from, full of opposites and ready for reconsideration all the time.

AI challenge

We start by confessing that the most downloaded image on Dreamstime in 2018 is an AI-related image. Check it out below!

With all the buzz about artificial intelligence, the growing number of news articles and the actual AI race today, it's no secret there's a steady rise in the number of AI-related image downloads and uploads. We've got plenty of AI content already so as we see things, the real challenge in 2019 is how you will illustrate and envision the AI.

You may think you know what AI looks like, but let's face it really and literally. People have conflicting views and feelings towards it, they're optimistic but also skeptical about it. Will it do good, will it harm? How we will re-define ourselves in relation to AIs? At this point, our relationship with the AI is very much complicated. So how will we envision AI concepts this year?

Artificial intelligence. Technology web background. Virtual concept

AI still remains an elusive, not-so-easy to pinpoint or capture concept. Most of it is still under development so you cannot expect to see all but machines or robots, as we do now. The best word of advice we can give you is to move beyond robots, robotics, glowing circuit boards and find new ways of visualizing the AI. It's almost here!

Earth calling

At the other end of the line, we have some down-to-earth major issues going on. Are you there? And by being there, we refer to the basic yet constant need of getting to the nuts and bolts of living on Earth. Like people getting married or starting families. Some of the most downloaded images last year testify to this never-ending appetite for genuine portraits of the simple life facts and living.

Happy family

And speaking of living, we're again concerned about going back to the roots, about living in harmony with nature, and we lust for everything that is nature inspired. The great outdoors still gets much of our attention and interest. So don't ignore your Earth calling, embrace it and rejoice it. You'll be happy to learn that people's favorite background is none other than .... the wood.

Wood texture plank grain background, wooden desk table or floor

When Earth is calling, you'd better pick up. We, humans, have some serious and pressing environmental, climate change facts to deal with. So stop drawing recycle bins and show some serious involvement, some commitment, some clear action. Weave this environment awareness into your designs, get ready to follow the green line with your camera. You'll witness climate change-triggered disasters and 2019 may be a year for environmental sustained action and reaction. Pantone started it: living coral as color of the year 2019 points out to the rapid warming of the oceans that kills coral, unbalancing the ecosystem and marine life. Your turn to highlight this issue!

Tropical leaves texture in colour of the year 2019 Pantone - Living Coral

Show your true colors

Not only did Pantone give a wake up call, but they also set the tone and mood for 2019. It's going to be coral, and living! So in addition to the more serious environmental interpretation, also expect an explosion of bold, vivid colors, an amazingly bright palette of purples, violets, pinks, reds, blues, all going together into one big, colorful design trend. Add metallic, it's very en vogue this year, sprinkle with some neon, it really never went out of fashion, and you're ready to go out in 2019.

Don't shy away from overcoloring, with the right palette, you'll look stunning. Remember that colors are just another way of self-expression and we're looking at very complex and wordly individuals in 2019. We're different, we're diverse, we're beautiful!

Abstract colorful geometric pattern with prism pyramid triangle shape figures. Yellow blue pink green violet red colored

3D, depths, layers and revelations

What once was clear and straightforward will melt into shadows, endless designs and distant borders, bokehs and blurry backgrounds. Just like everything around us, everything's getting fluid and floating, open to interpretations. Sounds too abstract? Well, think of your visuals as expressions of a point of view. Or multiple points of view. Bring your audience into the design, insert it into the design. You won't achieve this with the usual copy space technique. No, you may have to bring small elements and patterns to the center, annul clear cut shapes, create designs that only hint at larger pictures and concepts.

Create open minded and open-end usage compositions. Suggest rather than show and don't be afraid of using bold 3D designs.

3d render realistic primitives composition. Flying shapes in motion

The people have spoken

The world's changing. The AI may be coming but we're still very much in the grips of a dynamic, lightspeed changing world. The AI may force us to redefine our place but the camera remains focused on the individual. The very best subject for photography is the individual, the special, the unique, the different, the beautiful human being. Be it charismatic leader, or mere passer-by, we won't get enough of people in 2019.

We'll continue to see the newly born type of individual: the assertive, socially and politically involved citizen. #metoo, the Women's March, the Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives, these are just a couple of examples of the major increase in civic engagement lately. People are going out of their comfort zones and call out their differences as well as their being different. And they are doing this uniquely, differently, violently, intensely. Get ready to illustrate the unruly individual calling out an uncertain future. Get ready to capture the expression and the message of activists, protesters, citizens. 2019 will be the people's year.

Woman protesting with group of activists

Photo credits: Ammentorp, Anastasia Berezovska, Gorodok495, Igor Mojzes, Vladimirs Prusakovs, Vs1489, Zoia Shevchuk.

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January 25, 2019


"fluid... unruly... uncertain... ready for reconsideration..." You sound pretty certain about that! lol .

January 24, 2019


Nice article on the demand side; thanks. I haven't considered AI, but will try to do so (with the emphasis on try!).

January 21, 2019


Interesting article. Thanks for sharing

January 21, 2019


Thank you very much Carmen for the article! :-)

January 21, 2019


Thanks for this article, very helpful. I will definitely focus on trends

January 19, 2019


Thanks for sharing Carmen.

January 17, 2019


Those are really good! Thanks for sharing Carmen!

January 17, 2019


Thank you for sharing these trends! Your article riches of inspiration and motivates to action!

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