Over the last few years, Millennials and Gen Z – today’s largest generations – have brought the 2000s aesthetic to social networks and creative communication in general. From design and fashion to music and art, universal nostalgia and tech optimism became celebrated by millions; all because they were reminiscent of their happy childhood and adolescence.

To stay on top of trends and in line with the generations’ mood, brands and content creators turned to key elements of the 2000s aesthetic: imagery in pastel colors, blobject design, creative photography or video projects with retrofuturistic vibes, shiny features, and film-like post-production.

With so many options to choose from, many faced the challenge of how to stand out. No worries! Whether you want to boost your social media accounts or pitch new ideas for a brand campaign, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips and tricks on creating Y2K-inspired photos and videos that instantly catch the eye.


What is the 2000s aesthetic?

The Y2K aesthetic is a blend of pop culture and technological optimism that was prevalent in the early 2000s. It is mostly futuristic with a little vintage touch. The style incorporates metallics, glittering, pastel colors, dreamy post-processing, translucent, and blobby designs.


5 Ways to create Y2K-inspired photos and videos

#1 Utilize a thematic photo backdrop

The easiest way to convey 2000s aesthetics is by using a thematic photo backdrop. Whether airbrushed hearts, holographic images, or checkered patterns, together with Y2K aesthetic styling and post-processing, shots with such backgrounds will result in visuals worthy of a magazine cover or a brand campaign.

When it comes to creative backgrounds for your shoots, you have two options: get a physical backdrop or add a digital one during post-production. You can choose the early 2000s aesthetic backdrop in the Depositphotos library and print it. Even though it’s more expensive and time-consuming than getting a digital one, a physical background can help create the proper atmosphere on set, so both the cameraman and model will be more devoted to the end result.

Digital backdrops provide you with greater creative freedom and flexibility. They are also cheaper, but need more time during post-processing. To save time, use a free automatic background removal tool to cut the subject from the photo.

#2 Follow 2000s fashion aesthetic

It’s no secret that styling is as important as the quality gear, the model, and the person behind the camera. Matching accessories and clothing, as well as hairdo, make-up, and nails, creates another focal point and results in an aesthetically pleasing scene.


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Draw inspiration for your shoots from Paris Hilton or Britney Spears’ 2000s outfits, as well as movies like The Matrix and Mean Girls. Focus on shiny fabrics, all-denim looks, mesh tops, baby tees, mini purses, pleated skirts, leather jackets, tiny sunglasses, and colorful hair scrunchies.


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Choose spiky or claw clip buns, beaded or baby braids, and various pigtails for hairstyling. Accessorize them with colorful butterfly hair clips, rhinestones, or claw clips. To convey the 2000s aesthetic with make-up, go for thin eyebrows, colored eyeliner, glossy lips, and lots of highlighter. Pink, rhinestones, and French design should be the foundation of a model’s nail art.

#3 Shoot with a vintage camera

Nothing conveys the 2000s aesthetic and creates a vintage vibe like old cameras. Developing films and importing videos from tapes might be a little more challenging and time-consuming than editing digital photographs or footage. Still, the result is well worth the effort.

When choosing old video cameras, keep in mind that there are several different types of tape-based cameras, including VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, and MiniDV. They all possess different image and audio qualities. Learn how to import media from tape-based cameras into Final Cut Pro.


To add a retro vibe to your photos, you can use disposable cameras, such as Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash 400 or Lomography Simple Use camera, as well as film cameras, such as Canon AE-1, Nikon FM2, or Mamiya 645. For a more creative touch, consider instant print cameras, such as Polaroid, Fujifilm Instax, Kodak Smile, or Canon Zoemini S.


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— Just starting off with film photography? Find six tips for beginners in this article.

#4 Go for 2000s aesthetic filters

If you don’t have access to vintage cameras or prefer modern gear, use preset filters to give your images a Y2K look. There are tons of Lightroom presets available on the Internet that can give your pictures a Y2K vibe, or make them look like they were taken with a 2000s analog camera.

Additionally, modern mobile apps offer trendy Y2K-inspired filters. With Prequel, a mobile photo and video editor, you can add a glowing look or Y2K backgrounds to your photos, and a VHS effect to your videos.


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To add a soft and dreamy glow effect to your footage, check out this easy tutorial for Adobe Premiere Pro.

#5 Add a personal touch to your projects

Everyone in the creative industry – from top directors and seasoned visual artists to beginners – knows that by continually consuming trendy content and following other creatives, content makers can develop their vision and distinctive style, which is always highly valued.

We invite you to immerse yourself in the aesthetics of the 2000s, whether through thematic imagery, Y2K fashion, or films (Legally Blonde, Jawbreaker, Euphoria); all to get inspiration and learn what works and what doesn’t. However, don’t try to copy ideas or expressions of those ideas. Embrace creativity instead. Think outside of the box, listen to your inner self, and experiment until you come up with something that conveys your approach to the creative process. This way, you’ll be able to create unique projects that stand out from the crowd.


Wrapping up

It is just as crucial to communicate with your audience in their language as it is to create high-quality and visually appealing graphics. As the Y2K aesthetic trend shapes content online and beyond, learning how to achieve a trendy 2000s look is essential for every visual artist dealing with Millennials and Zoomers. So, use our tips separately or combine them to produce one-of-a-kind visuals that will level up your projects and win over your audience.


Check out other related materials:

Creative Trends Guide 2022: Merging the Future and the Past

Graphic Design Trends 2022 [Infographic]

The Power of Photography Backgrounds: Explainer for Creatives

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