iStock is the source for the best stock photos, illustrations, video and audio. Whatever the subject, theme, place, emotion, type of person or composition you need – you know you can find incredible materials that fit perfectly into your latest project like the last piece of the puzzle.

What you might not know is that behind each and every one of those images is a story: a tale of how it was shot or composed, of what sparked the idea in the creator's mind.

Here we've brought together the stories behind 10 of our favourite iStock photos and illustrations for 2016 – which are on-trend for this year and beyond: authentic, warm, full of love, and evoking both the natural world and human achievement.

Read on to see these images and be inspired by their creation.

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