The world of stock photography is constantly changing, with new trends emerging every year. So whether you’re a photographer making money with stock photos or a designer who relies on stock images, you must be aware of current trends. We’re thrilled to share details on the trends we’ve seen and some others that we expect to emerge in 2022.

We’ve analyzed visitor search and download activity to see what trends are already developing. We’ve also worked with our content team members, who review thousands of photos each day and are tuned in to the emerging trends. Here, you’ll find our predictions of the stock photography trends for 2022, based on the interests of Vecteezy users, as well as some trends that we anticipate developing throughout the year.

We’re confident that you can put these trends to good use in your work and see excellent results.

You may also be interested in our other trends posts:

Stock Photo Trends for 2022

Minimalism

Sometimes less is more. Stock photos that use a minimalist approach are in high demand. In 2021, downloads at Vecteezy for “minimalism” and related search terms increased by 36.5% compared to 2020.

Designers and marketers are looking for stock photos that display simplicity with a clear subject and plenty of open space. As a result, photos that use a minimalistic approach and excellent composition are in high demand. In many cases, these images have more of an artistic look and don’t resemble what many people consider the stereotypical stock photo look.

Key search terms: minimal, minimalism, simple, simple background


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Influencers

A growing number of people are making money on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. With influencers and micro-influencers becoming more common, they’re increasingly represented in marketing messages and online content. As a result, stock photos of influencers and related concepts are needed. In 2021, Vecteezy downloads from searches for “influencer” or related terms increased by 52.5% compared to 2020.

Key search terms: influencer, influencer marketing, social media marketing, youtuber, podcaster

E-Commerce

While e-commerce has been trending up for a long time, the industry has grown significantly in the past two years. As a result, e-commerce websites need various types of photos. This includes:

  • Photographs of the products themselves
  • Lifestyle photos that show a product in use
  • Images (like mockups) to display products
  • Images for marketing materials
  • Photos of the types of people companies and brands are trying to reach

Key search terms: ecommerce, online shopping, online store, product, product display

Travel

A year ago, most of us expected 2021 to be a year when travel returned to normal after the pandemic. But with the impact of COVID-19 lasting longer than many expected, that hasn’t happened just yet. With millions of people eager to get out, we anticipate that travel-related photos will be in greater demand in 2022. This could include photos of specific locations or destinations, images of people and families traveling together, photos of things associated with travel (airplanes, luggage, passports, maps, etc.), and more.

Key search terms: travel, adventure, vacation, tourism

Family

As a result of the pandemic, more people working from home, and fewer people traveling, many families have experienced more time together during the past two years. High-quality stock photos of families are always needed by designers and marketers, and we expect that to increase in 2022.

If you’re a Vecteezy contributor, there are endless ways you can photograph families. We recommend keeping our next trend in mind as well, so you’ll come away with genuine and authentic photos that users are looking for.

Key search terms: family, happy family, mother, father, parents

Reality/Authenticity

Today’s stock photo users are looking for images that feel authentic or custom rather than those that you can instantly identify as stock photos. One of the ways to avoid the typical stock photo look is to pursue original and genuine images that look unedited and don’t seem too perfect or unachievable (although still visually pleasing). These images are highly relatable and connect with viewers.

Authentic photos offer the benefits of stock photography (convenience, low cost) but present the look of an image taken specifically for that project.

Key search terms: candid, lifestyle

Vertical

Thanks to the increasing popularity of social media platforms and the growing use of mobile devices, vertical photos are needed now more than ever. Stock photos in portrait orientation (vertical) have always been preferred for magazine layouts and other types of print publication, but online use has typically favored landscape (horizontal) images and video. With more images needed for social media, the demand for vertical images is clearly rising.

If you’re a Vecteezy contributor, taking and submitting more vertical photos is an easy way to get more exposure, earn more downloads, and make more money. Most of the photos you take can be captured both horizontally and vertically, and this one simple change can make a big difference in your success as a contributor.

Many Vecteezy users will filter the search results to find images with a specific orientation. With fewer vertical photos currently in our collection, contributors are presented with tremendous opportunities.

Use the “orientation” search filter to easily find vertical photos.

Natural Textures

One trend we’ve recently observed among Vecteezy users is a growing demand for photos that feature natural textures. These photos with an organic feel can be used as backgrounds or add a natural touch to any design.

For Vecteezy contributors, there are endless opportunities to photograph natural textures since they are all around us. Look at the samples below for some ideas, and think about how you could capture natural textures in a visually pleasing way.

Key search terms: natural texture, pattern, background, macro, abstract

Silhouettes

Silhouettes can be the subject of fascinating photos, and we’ve seen a growing demand for these types of images. They can feature people, animals, objects, natural elements, and more. High-quality silhouettes are attention-grabbing and can be used in many different types of projects.

Key search terms: silhouette, people silhouette, tree silhouette, backlit, golden hour

3D Renderings

In 2021, Vecteezy downloads for “3D rendering” and related terms increased an astounding 264% year-over-year. While these renderings are not technically photos, many photographers use Blender and similar applications to create outstanding 3D renderings.

Contributors should note that interior renderings need signed property releases to have commercial value to Vecteezy users. Since many visitors who search for and download renderings are business users, this is a critical consideration.

Key search terms: 3d, 3d render, 3d rendering

Final Thoughts on Stock Photo Trends for 2022

In the world of stock photography, new trends are constantly developing. We’ve identified these trends based on search and download data, as well as insider expertise from our content team members. Keep these trends in mind as you search for stock photos or capture photos to contribute.