Putting the Vibe In Vibrant
The difference between an image that stops you in your tracks and one that you speed past is often subtle. Tiny nuances in areas like composition and lighting can have an outsized effect on the final image, and that, in turn, can either boost or dampen the reaction of a viewer.
The term that many in the photography industry use to describe images that truly pop is "vibrant"—pictures that seem like they are about to explode with energy, even when the moment being captured is more subdued. While the technical aspects of an image certainly play an important role, what really comes through to a viewer is a vibe, a spirit, a current of electricity.
Being able to understand that vibrancy and spot it in a visual image is a core component of what we do at Getty Images. Our photographers, editors, and numerous other creatives specialize in capturing those moments, identifying them, and then delivering them to partners in a seamless experience.
To get a better sense of the elements these individuals keep an eye out for, we asked four of our top creatives to select a photo from the Getty Images library that embodies vibrancy. Below, they describe what the term means to them, as well as other vibrant work that inspires them.
Lauren Catten, Senior Art Director
Vibrancy in imagery comes from having a pizazz and style that is original and stands out from the crowd. This shot by Hollie Fernando of girls eating before a night out is a perfect embodiment of a punchy, gritty image that sings with possibility and promise. I love that the flash catches the girls' hands as they reach for the food; their rings and tattoos pop out. There are no expressions, and the image itself isn't overly colorful, but the action and busyness of the shot convey a vibrancy that speaks louder than bright colors or loud smiles.
Richard Newstead, Creative Content Senior Manager
I love the sense of identity in this image illustrated perfectly from an overhead drone point of view. Bright colors attract people's attention, and vibrant images tend to capture your eye more frequently than those that are subdued and muted. William Eggleston is the first photographer that comes to mind when I think of vibrant images as he was the first for me to really push color in the photography world.
Sarah Foster, Creative Content Senior Manager
This term "vibrant" immediately calls to mind a riot of rich prismatic colors, bold patterns, tropical birds, Kodachrome, classic photographers like William Eggleston and Samuel Fosso, contemporary creators like Rochelle Brock and Mimi Haddon. These artists play not only with surfaces and color, but connect to something even more resonant—an internal spark of life that pulsates outward into those external expressions. This intangible energy makes an image truly memorable, especially in the commercial marketplace, because it can't be faked. No amount of fancy gels, lighting technique, makeup, fabric, or paint can manufacture vitality purely on the surface. But when this vitality emanates from within, the viewer reacts instinctively with their senses, before words or thought or analysis can even start to form.
Bill Bon, Director of Editing
Mimi Haddon immediately comes to mind when I think about vibrant images. She uses a bright and colorful pallet along with crafted props and sets. People like to see images that make them smile and show a sense of humor and craft. Vibrant images both in color and subject capture the audience's eye for just that second more, which is so important.