The Top 10 Trends Shaping The Future Of Imagery & Marketing


Facebook has more than doubled its daily video views to 8 billion since 2008. Snapchat sees 10 billion. 95 million photos are posted to Instagram everyday. The latest iPhone camera competes with industry-leading camera systems. Twitter live streams NFL football games and Presidential debates.

In the past few years, technological innovations have made the production and distribution of visual media low-cost and accessible to nearly everyone.

As a marketer, visuals have allowed us to communicate in more impactful ways. The old saying says that a picture paints a thousand words. By the looks of it, though, we’re headed to more like a million.

With 2017 fast approaching it’s important to look for the trends that are shaping our future.

How are visuals continuing to change the way we communicate and connect with one another?

Stock photography giant Shutterstock asked hundreds of their curators, designers, and reviewers around the globe for their predictions on the top trends shaping the future of imagery.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 trends shaping the future of visual imagery and how it will affect marketing…

10. Street Style

Photo sharing networks like Instagram have given rise to plenty of street style photographers who specialize in capturing moments. Armed with only a camera, they share candid moments of the human experience.

Recent social outrage calling for an end to body image misrepresentations (photoshopping) on mediums like magazine covers and advertisements show that a majority of people value authenticity. A trend towards street style is a trend towards what is real — not perfect.

9. Hyperreality

Recent technological breakthroughs like VR (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) and augmented reality devices (Magic Leap, Snapchat filters) are beginning to meld our physical reality with digital.

Where is hyperreality going to take us next?


Fantasy and reality won’t be apart for much longer. Want to test out the latest Volvo before it drives off the assembly line? Put on your VR goggles and jump behind the wheel and explore the cabin while you drive down a scenic highway. Soon what we’d like our audiences to experience will only be limited by our imaginations.

8. High-ISO Images

Camera sensors are becoming better than ever, able to shoot sharp images even in poor light. Photo shoots that require intricate lighting setups are becoming a thing of the past.

This trend is being shaped by society’s need to feed the never-ending content machine. Once nighttime rolled around it used to mean that artists and content creators would have to pack it up and wait for daylight. Not anymore, camera sensors support photographers who want to shoot in low light or almost no light at all.

If the trend continues, sensors will become even lower cost and better in the dark. This technology will allow more content to be created, much of which has never been seen before because of technological limitations.

The video below is shot entirely on a Sony A7S mirrorless camera and lit entirely by moonlight. Before the release of this consumer grade camera, creating a video of this quality was literally impossible for the average creative. Technology is allowing creators to go further and stretch the boundaries of their imaginations.

Moonlight | Sony A7s from Edward Khoma on Vimeo.

7. Hand-Crafted

Now that the internet reaches all corners of the globe, niches are proving that everyone’s unique style and creativity is appreciated. Hand-crafted styles can bring a real and nostalgic feeling to a brand, further emphasizing a push towards merging the physical and digital.

The Oatmeal and WaitButWhy are proof that there is a huge demand for hand-crafted art. The more a brand can inject personality and originality through things like hand-crafted art, the more they’ll be able to carve out their place in the market.

6. Contextual Images

Stories are huge. There is no doubt that a powerful story creates actions and reactions, just look at the ethical footwear makers at Toms.

Images that are unposed and unfiltered provide context to your message. The growing noise and distraction of today’s connected culture is trying its best to drag our attention in every direction but a quality story is hard to ignore.

Look for more content to be supported by candid images shot in relatable situations. Consumers are not stupid, highly produced and filtered images are becoming less effective at swaying buyer decisions. Authenticity and having a personality behind the screen is becoming more and more relevant in distinguishing a brand.

5. 360 Photography

Technology is allowing us to capture images from angles that have yet to be explored. The complete picture has been redefined.

360 photography helps to further immerse viewers in the scenario. Every nook and cranny of an image is ready to be explored. For marketers, 360 visuals are a step away from actually being in the moment.

Explore a restaurant you’ve never been to, take a stroll along a beach in Spain, or look across the horizon off the Great Wall. 360 photography aims to provide a more immersive experience for those who hunger for a complete experience.

4. Daily Stories

Daily stories or visual diaries of one’s day are quickly becoming the format of choice for many social sharers. Real time and unedited (for the most part) access are the elements that help bring viewers closer to creators. Global personalities and industry-leading brands are giving their audiences inside looks into how they bring brand stories to life.

Where can you add a little more transparency to your brand? How can you connect more with your audience by giving them exclusive access? How can you make them a part of your brand’s story?

3. Drone Photography

Drone technology is becoming more advanced and affordable by the day. Content creators don’t need to rent out a helicopter to get a bird’s eye view anymore.

This continues the theme of technology pushing back limitations for content creators. Explore an entire theme park from overhead, fly over dangerous terrain, or just get a perspective from above. Creativity is becoming your only limitation.

2. Crowdsourced Photojournalism

Recent political and socio economic controversies like the black lives matter movement have shown the power of crowdsourced photojournalism. Breaking news isn’t captured by on-the-ground news crews anymore, most of what we see now comes from civilian cell phones. Unedited, unbiased footage has painted a picture for most of the world during moments like war, riots and terror attacks.

Communication is no longer a one way street. Your audience has the ability to respond and react in their own ways. A botched ad campaign will spread like wildfire. A small miscommunication can become big if the wrong group catches wind.

Use the crowd to your advantage by being open and honest with them. Get them on your side and allow them to work with you. Your audience should be able to participate and contribute to your brand story. And if you don’t, be sure they’ll end up telling your story for you.

1. Mobile Photography

Mobile photography has come a long way since the days of the Motorola Razr. The newest iPhone camera can compete with some of the best digital camera systems out there.

Now that anyone can take a semi-decent photograph, anyone can contribute to the overall conversation with their own unique perspective. Anyone can take high-quality images and videos and share them instantly.

Poor quality content is becoming more and more inexcusable in terms of marketing. With low-cost tools and resources, every business should be able to provide a quality content experience to their audience.

[Infographic via Shutterstock]
shutterstock image trends


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