Take a look at these 20 best selling stock photos. They’ll give you some inspiration for your next photography project. We have everything from landscapes to food shots. And these images will give you an idea of what’s popular and help get your creative juices flowing.
If you’re looking to showcase and sell your work, we recommend checking out Squarespace. It’s a user-friendly platform with beautiful templates. And there are easy-to-use eCommerce features and seamless integrations. It’s excellent for showing and selling stock photos.
20 Best Selling Stock Photos
Here are 20 themes for stock photos that consistently sell well!
1. Modern Aging
Today’s older generation was born in a very different world. They grew up in an era without digital technology and with a strict life structure.
Now they adapt to new trends and find a way to make themselves at home in our modern world.
Older people are staying active longer than before. They’re comfortable at workplaces, playing sports, and learning how technology functions.
They are a big part of society and have lots of spending power. Brands and companies want to have images that show older people. This makes them more relatable across generations.
2. DIY Projects
DIY projects kept people sane in the year of the pandemic. And baking and cooking at home, DIY design, and DIY photographer tools are still trending.
Businesses that couldn’t operate during the lockdown now share how to recreate their products at home.
One of the best examples was the Dalgona coffee trend in 2021. You only need three ingredients to make this simple yet delicious (and photogenic!) coffee.
The trend started on TikTok and spread across every social media platform. And this included stock photo websites.
But the same is true for baking your own bread, fixing your bookshelf, or growing herbs on your balcony.
3. Mental Health Awareness
Caring for our mental health is still not as important as it should be. But recent years have brought more awareness and a new interest in the topic.
In the past few years, we’ve needed mental stability and a peaceful mind more than ever. People want to find a way to switch off and deal with stress and uncertainty.
More and more platforms are discussing or promoting awareness of mental health. And stock photos aren’t an exception.
4. Time Spent in Nature
Love for nature has been among the top stock photography trends for years. Recent years have made us appreciate the time spent outdoors even more.
When shops, cafés, and restaurants closed, nature welcomed us with open arms. Peaceful and natural places have inspired content on many platforms.
We want to be in nature and find simple pleasures there. This reflects in stock photos too. You can follow famous nature photographers for inspiration and education.
With many people traveling again, stock images focusing on wanderlust are trending. Travel photographers are sharing content as they go on more and more trips.
6. Environmental Consciousness and Sustainability
Environmental problems and sustainable solutions are even more important trends this year. People try even harder to lead a lifestyle that results in a sustainable future.
The fight against climate change appears in stock photos as well.
7. Perfect Imperfection
Models who look real (and not Photoshopped) have been getting more and more demand. Nobody wants to see Barbie dolls with perfect hair, skin, and makeup in photos. People can’t relate to unreal beauty anymore.
Stock images highlighting imperfections are still a huge trend today. The more unusual and imperfect photos are, the more people like them. You can read our article on how to find a model for free.
8. Social Responsibility
Photography trends reflect what is happening around the world. Taking action and not staying silent are respected behaviors in society.
People want to be more responsible and have more meaningful lifestyle choices. Fighting for equality has never been more relevant. And this shows in the image trends too.
War, political crises, and natural disasters. These are a few of the most used words in the news.
Add general trends such as multitasking and being online all the time. Mindfulness is one of the rescues from burnout!
Mindfulness and slow living are among the top photography trends. Just looking at the stock photos on this topic can make us feel a bit more relaxed.
10. Healthy Food Alternatives
Healthy food alternatives have grown in popularity across the board. From “clean cocktails” to swapping fries for green beans, healthy food is here to stay.
As Pinterest is a visual representation of SEO, this trend shows we will likely see a spike in demand for photos of healthy food alternatives.
So what will be the most in-demand stock photography for food? Photos that show healthy alternatives to staple food items.
Air frying instead of deep frying. Sugar and alcohol-free cocktails. And slow food delivered quickly.
Eating healthy is always on-trend. It comes down to creating images showing how people can turn their much-loved food into healthier versions.
11. Home Office
Creatives are always looking for images to help them tell a brand’s story. And part of that story has to illustrate the flexibility of working from home.
Flat lays and styled home offices are a huge hit for website imagery and sharing on social media.
This includes admin or office flat lays with tablets and smartphones. A good office stock photo ensures there is enough negative space in photos. Stock photo buyers often want to insert their personalized branding.
White and pastels will continue to trend here. They are the most adaptable to brand colors and text requirements.
Sources have also quoted that millennials are also buying more houseplants. So be sure to include some cute succulents in your product styling.
12. Moving Images
Moving images aren’t just something you see in a Harry Potter movie. Apple now has Live Photos that you can take with your iPhone.
And we all know how popular apps like Instagram have made boomerangs.
But more recently, I have also started to see moving images like Cinemagraphs, stop motion, or GIFs popping up in Pinterest searches. They are also becoming more trendy among stock photography galleries.
13. Drone Photography
There has been an ongoing global discussion about plastic and its impact on our environment. So we will see an increase in imagery to match.
In the past few years, we have seen many comeback trends in products from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. With purple and teal as the leading colors last year, we saw bold colors and natural lighting to produce a more authentic look.
The trick here will be recreating the feeling of retro while still capturing people and things as they are.
From food to home decor and fashion, natural light and bold colors will continue to trend this year. This brings us to the next stock photography trend…
15. Color Gels
To complement the need for that little touch of retro, we will see colored gels continue to trend this year. Pair color gels with natural light and bold colors to create a color story.
These are aimed more at social media and advertising campaigns. Small businesses or a personal client base will unlikely be after this type of stock photography.
But edgy companies like Squarespace continue to use imagery in line with this theme.
16. Stories of Authentic Living
One of the world’s most popular apps, Instagram, took us toward true-life photos of authentic living.
Before, there was a huge interest in images depicting unrealistic scenes. It saw many accounts growing from thousands to millions of followers.
But the community is shifting from unrealistic to authentic. There will also be imagery that depicts authentic living and realness. The stock photography trend here will be to capture every day beautifully.
Engagement on these channels and with companies will depend on this. Engagement will enable storytelling—stories of authentic living.
17. Simple Flat Lays
Let’s continue from where we will see the hottest social app taking us. We will also see a shift in the popular flat lay images.
Flat lays will still be popular. But there will be an increasing need for simple flat lays. Simple flat lays are more customizable for the buyer. They can add their own touches to the images before sharing them in many forms.
18. Cultural Diversity
This is a category that will continue to be a stock photography trend.
It will include everything from diversity and blended families to images that depict gender equality. In recent years, there was a popular theme of images in stock photography of “strong women.”
You can expect that trend to continue with the current discussion of gender equality and discrimination across all media in media.
Take a moment to watch commercials. You’ll notice that every form of advertising imagery shows people who can fit into many racial categories. Stock images in this category should be inclusive of everyone.
19. Negative Space
A stock photography trend that will never get old is negative space. And it will only see an increased demand for stock photography.
The ability to adjust an image for text requirements is always something that buyers are looking for. Having images in your stock portfolio that have negative space located in different areas is key.
It’s worth checking out the layout of a magazine or photography website to see how to leave space for text.
But negative space can be more than just for text requirements. In a noisy world where we are bombarded with messages, some imagery might need to provide a sense of calmness.
I use the Calm app. And the imagery they use is mostly of landscapes with vast, beautiful open spaces. It is an inviting feeling when we are bombarded with constant messages on our phones.
20. Vintage Editing for Lifestyle Photos
We will continue to see lifestyle stock images with a film or matte look being popular for websites and blog posts.
Conclusion: Best Selling Stock Photos You Should Know
One thing that doesn’t go out of style for stock photography is quality photos that tell stories. These images connect to what is most important to us. And buyers are always on the lookout for unique, quality work. So it doesn’t hurt to add some of your own personality to the images you shoot for stock photography.
Do you want to display and market your best selling stock photos? We highly recommend Squarespace. It features a user-friendly platform. It has stunning templates. And there are easy eCommerce tools and effortless integrations.