It’s certainly been a year like no other for the media and PR industries, with extended lockdowns, massive upticks in eCommerce sales and publications launching and folding at a rate of knots.

We’ve crunched the numbers from the tens of thousands of images uploaded and downloaded from the Flaunter platform to bring to you a summary of the year that was.

2021’s Top Image Trends

Based on the tens of thousands of images that were downloaded from Flaunter by editors around the world, we’ve seen some clear trends across fashion, beauty and lifestyle:

From the Flaunter Files


Accessories dominated the Flaunter downloads in 2021, with sunglasses and handbags (specifically, tote bags) amongst the most downloaded content on the platform. 

The most searched and downloaded tags included:


The most searched colours in the fashion vertical included:



Soft furnishings designed for comfort and cosiness during a year of lockdown were amongst the most popular images on the Flaunter platform in 2021, with planters, bedding and decorative decor coming in a close second. 

The most searched and downloaded tags included:


The most popular colours searched included:



Despite masks becoming a mainstay in Australia this year, beauty editors were still searching for lipstick and lipbalm on the Flaunter platform. Fragrance was also a common search as editors shared content with their readers that brought a touch of luxury to lockdown.

The most searched and downloaded tags included:


The most popular colours searched included:


Across the board, 300dpi, deep etched imagery was most commonly downloaded. While this has always been the most common type of imagery downloaded from Flaunter, editors are particularly looking for imagery they can drop straight into their pages as teams and budgets get smaller.

Industry Wide Trends

Across the industry, there’s some imagery trends that are standing out from the crowd. 

The Unedited Image

Editors and consumers alike are moving away from highly curated and edited imagery towards real-life photography and assets, a trend we’re seeing brands and influencers embrace with open arms.

Gifs, stickers and funny filters (not the kind to make you look like you’ve spent a few hours in the cosmetic surgeon’s chair) are all over social media and eCommerce websites, bringing a little everyday ugly to images that would previously have been extensively re-touched. 

Real bodies are becoming more prominent in campaign and brand images, with a number of multinational organisations committing to not airbrushing their models, including ASOS, H&M and Aerie. As brands move from move from perfection to transparency, imagery without all the photoshop will become even more popular in 2022.

User Generated Content

UGC isn’t new, but it’s certainly been embraced by brands in 2021. According to Stackla, consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content (UGC) is authentic compared to brand-created content (source). UGC came into its own when shoots were cancelled during lockdowns, but given the success brands have seen in this more lo-fi and realistic approach, it’s bound to continue even now that doors (and borders) are opening.

iPhone Orientation

While a range of photo specifications will always be important for editors and publications, brands are increasingly shooting footage for it’s primary display purpose – the mobile phone. Portrait imagery that will fill a whole phone screen when viewed has become the norm. Think Instagram stories and Tik Tok, which have been embraced by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Sephora and MAC, amongst many other brands.

 Video is Queen

Speaking of Tik Tok, video content continues to trump stills when it comes to social media. While this is less important for print and even digital publications, getting the most out of an expensive photoshoot means capturing behind the scenes and campaign video at the same time as getting stills for your PR outreach. With  300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, 500 million people now using Instagram Stories daily, creating this kind of content will be vital for brands looking to stand out.

A Touch of Nostalgia

With so much uncertainty in the world, nostalgia has reigned supreme for brands in 2021. Imagery has gone low-fi, trends are harking back to the 00’s and brands are embracing throwbacks. 

Image via @emmaread