Trending in stock photography: DIY & Upcycling

Young man painting tree house, low angle view
Cultura RM / Alamy Stock Photo

Discover what’s trending in the creative world as we explore one of the key trends of 2017 and why it’s just not going away!

It’s no coincidence that a trend with sustainability at its heart has such incredible staying power. Upcycling was big in America long before it reached the UK, but in 2014 we saw the trend travel across the pond onto British shores.  Needless to say, it’s taken a while for the trend to fully catch on, but 2017 has been the year of upcycling.

So, what’s it all about?

In its simplest form, the term ‘upcycling’ is just another way of saying ‘recycling’ – only cooler, much cooler. The general idea is that you take something old, worn or broken and rebuild it or improve its design to create something new, trying of course to keep the charm and character of the original item.

How has upcycling impacted stock photography?

The trend naturally lends itself to interior and garden design, with a very much ‘DIY’ appeal. But off the back of this has come a change in the way people are viewing the world – there’s a much more ‘green’ vibe and people want to reflect this in their projects. They want to show that they’re not only on top of the latest trends, but that they’re trying to help the environment.

And here’s where stock photography comes in. One of the most impactful ways to show that you’re aware of popular and important trends is to include imagery in your projects that depict this ‘greener’ world. As the trend has grown, we’ve seen loads of fresh imagery being added to our site showing people getting their hands dirty and revamping old objects.

What’s even better is the whole upcycling trend ties in perfectly with another of the most prominent stock photography trends around – authentic lifestyle imagery. There’s a powerful human element in these images, with people doing everyday things in natural, un-staged settings, which builds on the growing demand for images with an authentic ‘real’ feel.

A little bit of image inspiration…

From adding a splash of colour to an old bicycle wheel and using it as an ornament, to giving a fresh burst of life to some old wood and creating a tree house, there’s endless potential. We’ve picked out just a few images from our collection to show you some of the upcycling photography on Alamy. You can find more in our hand-picked DIY and Upcycling lightbox, or head over to our home page and search the full Alamy collection!

Old tyres that are painted in assorted colors and used for a flower planter.
Michael Tatman / Alamy Stock Photo
Hamburg, Germany. 19th Oct, 2016. Co-founder and co-managing director Dennis Schnelting is working on a barrel which is to be converted into a cabinet at the upcycling company 'Lockengeloet' in Hamburg, Germany, 19 October 2016. The company specializes in
dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Mid adult woman bending forward to paint and restore chair in garden
Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo

Find out what else is trending in stock photography this year with our Image Trends report.

Check out our blog to see some of our awesome lifestyle content.

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