What makes a picture beautiful? The answer usually depends on what kind of photography is popular at the moment. Each year sees the invention of new techniques, styles, and aesthetics – and together they affect our taste and perception.

At EyeEm, we keep close tabs on what community members share with each other. This allows us to spot new trends as they bubble to the surface. We have summarized the most popular new aesthetics in our current Visual Trends report that you can download for free.

This is an in-depth look at the “Collage Optics” trend, including lots of sample images to inspire your campaigns – or to license directly.

By Paven Gill

Today, we’re taking more photos than at any previous time in history. This is inspiring many photographers to experiment with the format to stand out from the masses. The most exciting of these trends is the renaissance of the collage as a break from the overly-realistic way of shooting these days.

By Oscar Mixup

Traditionally, collages are made by cutting up and reassembling pictures to include different motifs at the same time, but it’s also possible to take and edit photos in a way that has the same effect without cutting anything apart: Modern collage artists use reflection, repetition, and other clever compositions to create surreal illusions in their photos.

By lurza

By Larry Monserate Piojo

By alvin.choon™

By yiyiwang

It’s a trend that mirrors culture far beyond: In the fashion industry, it’s visible as colorful patches that are making a comeback as visual accents. On the internet, it exists as stickers used to mark up and enhance texts, snaps, and posts.
At first sight, the collage optic can seem a bit confusing, but that is exactly its strength – it draws viewers in, making them look at these photos much longer than they do at others.

By Giorgia

By Sergey Klebanov

By Marija_Behrendt

By Marcos del Mazo

Header image by @Aronshakeri.