To connect with customers, big brands often take a cue from Hollywood in their ads, riffing off the visual aesthetic of top films.

But here’s a little-known secret: Small businesses can do this too, even without a blockbuster budget.

Using some of the best films of the year as inspiration, here’s how to create your own visual spectacles at ridiculously great prices, using iStock by Getty Images.

The Revenant

What it’s all about:  An immersive and visceral cinematic experience, “The Revenant” captures one man’s adventure in the wilderness and his extraordinary will to survive. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio whose character is attacked by a bear and must navigate a brutal winter to stay alive.

Get the look: To recreate the rugged, icy setting of “The Revenant”, look for vast snowy landscapes, dense forests and stark imagery that sends a chill.

 The Big Short

What it’s all about: When four eccentric Wall Street outsiders — played by Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling — discover that the housing market is about to collapse, they  bet against it, profiting off of the financial world’s greed.

Get the look: Images of Wall Street and Las Vegas are not only significant locations from the set but also capture the essence of financial gluttony the film portrays.

The Martian

What it’s all about: Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars by his crew after a violent storm. Millions of miles away from home, he tirelessly works to signal to Earth that he is alive, while finding a way to survive on the barren planet.

Get the look: Astronauts trekking across red, barren, dusty landscapes can visually transport viewers to Mars, while sprouts and new growth evoke the determination and resilience of Matt Damon’s character to stay alive.


What it’s all about:  In this thriller, 5-year-old Jack’s entire universe exists inside a small windowless room, which he and his mother, played by Brie Larson, are held captive in. After a daring attempt, the two finally escape and have to learn how to adjust to life in the outside world.

Get the look: To capture this unsettling tale of kidnap and entrapment, look for dark, enclosed spaces and images of the strong bond between a mother and her son.

Mad Max: Fury Road

What it’s all about: This wildly thrilling film takes place after the fall of civilization, where the cruel Immortan Joe enslaves the survivors of the apocalypse. After escaping, Tom Hardy’s character, Mad Max, encounters Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, as she helps the tyrannical ruler’s five wives to safety.

Get the look: Dark visions of destruction, chaos and futuristic warriors portray the surreal, dystopian world of Mad Max.

Bridge of Spies

What it’s all about: Tom Hanks plays an American lawyer who is recruited by the CIA to negotiate a prisoner exchange of a U.S. pilot captured by the Soviet Union.

Get the look: Shadowy rooms that convey a sense of mystery and sullen, legal-inspired images are good representations of this Cold War-era spy film.


What it’s all about: In this true story, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Liev Schreiber play a team of journalists at the Boston Globe who expose a twisted cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Get the look: To represent the hard-hitting journalistic team in Spotlight, focus on images of investigation and reporters writing or at work in the field.


What it’s all about: Brooklyn tells the story of an Irish immigrant, Eilis, who travels to Brooklyn in the 1950s. Her homesickness is quickly swept away by a new romance but she soon has to decide between her new life and the one she left behind.

Get the look: Images of Coney Island and retro pictures with a filtered tone are reminiscent of the Brooklyn that Saoirse Ronan’s character was learning to make her new home.

Explore more star-worthy images at ridiculously great prices at iStock by Getty Images. Discover now.