Top 10 Stock Photo Themes That Sell

March 19, 2024

Have you ever wondered which stock photos sell the best? Here are the main 10 topics clients are always looking for.

As a stock photographer, you probably already have your own style and the general theme you’re portraying in all your images. And that’s great - it’s good to have a niche. You have a chance to specialize in one field, and do your job really well.

However, as a creative you should be experimenting and pushing yourself to do something you haven’t done before. Who knows, maybe you’ll figure out there’s another area of photography you’re good at. If you’re looking to find another photo theme that could bring you money through stock agencies, we recommend that you explore one of them.

Over time, we were able to research the sites and analyze what are the general photo topics that sell the best on almost any stock agency.

Background Photos

Background photos are usually images clients use as hero images, or for the design that has a lot of text on it - such as featured images on the blogs or display ads. They are also good for printed materials, or as background for quote images which still have a lot of popularity online.

What’s good about background photos is that they can be anything you want - from amazing landscapes, photos of the sea or sky, to images of interesting architecture.

Business Photos

Businesses are top clients on stock agencies, so it really isn’t that surprising this topic is very popular. These images usually include job interviews, meetings, brainstorming questions, employees working together, hanging out in the common areas, etc.

If you decide to explore the business stock photography, we recommend that you try to keep it as authentic as possible. Stay away from the cliches, and overly posed business people. Instead try to create images which represent teamwork, networking and capture the true essence of a workplace.

Go beyond an office and capture workers in auto shops, in retail or on the construction.

Food Photography

Food photos always sell - mostly to magazines for their recipes sections, but they still sell quite a lot. Don’t be afraid to take a more artistic approach to your food photography, just pay attention to your lighting.

Food photography can include anything, from healthy oatmeal breakfasts to juicy stakes and deserts. You can also take photos of the kitchen, preparation process and servings. Play around with different backdrops, details and angles.

Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle photos revolve around family, friends and everyday lives. Our day to day lives are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Think about gatherings, play time with your kids, simple walks around the neighborhood. All of these can be included in lifestyle photography. So, start researching, and start taking photos of your friends to see where you stand with this category.

Travel Photography

Honeymoon locations, luxurious resorts, winter extreme sports or surfing - everything goes well on stock sites. The list of possible places and shots just goes on and on. If you’re a photographer that travels a lot, you’ll never run out of travel photos. Even if you’re not - take the camera to your next vacation and see where that takes you.

Nature Photography

Landscapes, mountains, beaches, rivers, forests - each of these are highly requested by clients who purchase stock photos. And the best part is that you can take these during your vacations, regular hikes or one-day trips to the countryside.

Tech Photos

It’s not a secret that our lives have been consumed by technology, and there’s a new gadget coming up almost every week. Smartphones, laptops, VR gear, Internet of Things, cryptocurrencies and smart home gadgets are in high demand, both in our lives and on various websites. If you have access to some of the latest tech trends - jump on the bandwagon and use it to ramp up your stock business.

Seasons and Holidays

Online magazines and businesses are always creating posts revolving around a certain season or a holiday. You should use this to your advantage. Take photos of Christmas decorations, Valentine’s celebrations, and any other holiday you can think of.

Creating and editing the photos, as well as uploading them and getting approval from the agency can take up a lot of time so start your shoot on time. The best would be to do it even a few months beforehand, so you can position yourself on the stock site when the time for buying comes.

Sports Photography

Sports are a massive part of our lives, and as people are paying more attention to their healthy habits - sports stock photography is on the rise. You can take photos at your local gym, or pair up with sports teams in your surroundings to take images both of you can use. And don’t stick to the usual sports only, try looking for extreme sportist or those who enjoy chess, dance or sailing.

Family Photos

Although they can be counted as a part of lifestyle photography, family photos deserve a special category. They include a variety of scenes, from having newborns to big family celebrations like weddings.

What Should You Keep in Mind

Whichever topic you select for your next experiment, approach it as you do with your specialty. Carefully research the competition to make sure the idea you have isn’t already overused. While you’re doing this pay attention to the types of images that are lacking - that could be your best-selling idea.

You probably won’t hit high sales in the new category on your first try, but if you have your eye set on a certain topic pursue the exploration. Experiment with different models, locations, colors and styles until you hit the one that.

Although your chances of becoming the next big stock photographer do lie in selecting one theme and sticking to it, it doesn’t hurt to experiment and explore other areas as well.

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