Last year, we have asked image agencies for their take on the upcoming photography trends for 2014, and many of the 50 stock photo trends we published were spot on.
2015, we are going even further: 16 agencies replied to our request for their trends in photography, so we are presenting the top 80 photography trends 2015 and of course shooting ideas for photographers.
Among them, the return from Instagram like processed images to more natural light, enhanced with soft light and flares, the return to film and its rich shadows, and the mega trends of mature and senior adults becoming an important clientele will influence how big companies will use imagery to bring across their messages.
We expect some of these current photography trends to last well into the next years, they seem more sustainable than the short lived styles influenced by the rise of mobile photography apps we have seen in recent years. So you might be well advised to learn from the agencies and their big clients for your own needs and find an image language that supports selling your products and easily convey the messages to your readers and customers.
Dive into our massive list of 80 stock photography trends 2015, which we gathered and compiled from 16 stock photo agencies worldwide
You can either scroll down to go through all the photography trends or click on the certain agency logo to directly jump to these agency.
Shutterstock Review / 10% Off Coupon Code
Shutterstock has distilled their insights from searches on Shutterstock by designers, art directors, marketers, and advertisers to reflect trends to come. The overarching theme: it’s getting harder to visually stand out, so brands are willing to be bolder with imagery. They have seen this in the growing demand for “unique perspectives,” a way for creative professionals to reposition familiar objects, and for double exposure images. Here are their photography trends in a nutshell.
1. Double Exposure
The rise of double exposure in design continues the trend of analog art and photography techniques (like lens flare and collage) resurfacing in digital imagery.
Victor Tongdee / Shutterstock.com
2. Unique Perspective
Views from below, from above, and from varied points of view have been on the rise in the creative industry for the past 12 months, as professionals look for more innovative ways to reposition familiar objects. The “top down” view is commonly used in food photography, in product shots, and to tell stories from the perspective of the maker.
Alex Emanuel Koch / Shutterstock.com
3. Soft Light
This gentle lighting style generally makes images look paler and more natural. It also looks authentic, often drawing on outdoor and natural light to add softness to a photo.
Maria Timofeeva / Shutterstock.com
Macro is a style that’s consistently popular on social media — it’s something that’s not seen every day, so it really stands out and pulls you in. This visual style can bring a lot of texture, depth, and color to an image, playing with detail and making common images seem suddenly unfamiliar.
Tomatito / Shutterstock.com
Blurred images make great backgrounds, adding color and texture to a design without distracting from the focal point. Both bokeh and deep focus can be used to bring a blurred aesthetic to photography.
Bulbash / Shutterstock.com
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iStock’s trends expert, Rebecca Swift outlines the key visual trends shaping design in 2015, based upon the research and insights by the global iStock creative research team. From sensory immersion to super still, these are the gems that will be calling the creative shots in 2015:
6. Dynamic Woman
Unique lifestyles. Original looks. 2015 is all about the interesting female. Instead of cliché, over-idealized images, we’re saluting original, surprising women — quirks and all.
7. Point Of View
The love affair with our own point of view isn’t over. Thanks to technology, it’s just getting more intimate. Now we take photos from ski masks, surfboards and the collars of our four-legged friends. The visual stories of 2015 bring us unexpected perspectives, up close and personal.
8. Sensory Immersion
Bring on pixels you can taste, touch, and smell — never mind the screen. 2015 is all about embracing experience in vivid, immersive imagery. Try macro images that heighten awareness, creating a sensory wonderland.
9. Super Still Life
Inanimate objects are taking over the small screen. And not in any ordinary way. 2015 is about the artistry of still life — the interesting angle, the exquisite arrangement, even capturing the intricate handmade object — resulting in big, dynamic images for small screens.
10. Monochromatic Color
Technology’s moving so fast, we sometimes get nostalgic for the old days. Images are feeling the tug, harkening back to the look of rich film and monochromatic color. Think bright whites and strong blacks, a modern take on Kodak Porta colour negative film.
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Fotolia condensed the visual trends they expect to see emerge and take visual and creative precedence in 2015. Spontaneity and realism are the hero words that capture the essence and subject matter of each of their five choices.
11. The World Is One Big City
For most of us now, the world, despite its vast expanse, is becoming smaller than ever, the ease of low-cost flying and transcontinental business partnerships mean that more of us are able to see more of it than ever before. Localized images are therefore extremely important. As we all know, images of big cities and famous landmarks are fantastic sellers but where there is a need is for images representing small towns, villages, local landmarks in lesser known areas as well as locals going about their daily business. When it comes to shooting big cities the more impressive, the better. Go for scale and detail. Highlight the beauty, uniqueness and intricacies.
© chungking – Fotolia.com
12. Age Shows No Barrier
Age really is just a number and images highlighting people of different ages participating in activities that don’t fall under the realm of their usual stereotyped definitions will not doubt become more popular.
A variety of different aged people (particularly in groups) is also important to consider when choosing your subjects and capturing them as naturally and realistically as possible. Remember that as the population as a whole gets older due to a longer life span companies are increasingly targeting them.
‘Tweens’, typically considered being those that are no longer children and yet not yet teenagers (between 10 to 12 years old), are also a demographic that is highly recommended to include in your images particularly in terms of the consumer market.
© Joshua Resnick – Fotolia.com
13. Off The Beaten Track
Leave the map at home and explore! Go wild, scenes of natural beauty whether that is landscapes, weather fronts or wildlife are increasingly popular. There is nature all around you whether it’s on your doorstep in suburban settings or in exotic, far-away lands. A holiday safari, mountain trekking or simply just a walk in your local park there is natural beauty to be enjoyed and photographed!
© Galyna Andrushko – Fotolia.com
14. Family Matters
The make-up of families has transformed over recent years; we live in a day and age now where anything other than a 2.4 children family is no longer considered unfamiliar territory or a rarity. Children growing up with two fathers, two mothers, stay at home Dad’s, working mothers, parents of different age ranges, with their grandparents or with siblings with different ethnic backgrounds. These are all regular familial set-ups that are reflected in today’s society and as a result need to be represented in the type of imagery we offer.
© AVAVA – Fotolia.com
15. Smartphone Photography
The Fotolia Instant Collection has become an increasingly popular ‘genre’ in our stock photography portfolio. Rather than limiting creativity and artistry, having a smartphone on you at all times only enhances inspired photos opportunities captured at spontaneous moments. Aesthetically the Instant Collection encapsulates the character of smartphone imagery; raw, authentic, genuine moments captured in available light using real people (not models) with none, or limited post-production.
Released first on iOS and more recently on Android, the app allows anyone to become professional photographers from the palm of their own hands allowing them to reap the same financial rewards as traditional Fotolia Contributors in terms of standard licensing. All images are also non-exclusive highlighting how intent we are at promoting mobile photography.
© bennnn – Fotolia.com
IngImage Review / 7-Day Free Downloads
Every two weeks the Ingimage content scouts assemble a mini-gallery of the 50 most exciting new additions to our collection. This is prinicipally to keep our subscribers in the know, but the process also gives us a great measure of the gradual shifts in style from our photographers. For the most part we are predicting 2015 will see current trends evolve and develop into a range of more specific niches… rather than a radical change of thinking.
16. Aerial View
In a similiar vein to ‘flat’ illustration, aerial photography has the effect of transforming a scene into something diagrammatic and with generous copyspace. We expect this viewpoint to be applied to more and more photographic subjects this year.
17. Candid-style Snaps
Consumers are responding to authenticity in branding and marketing. To this end professionals are emulating the spontaneity and character of candid snaps taken by everyday people.
Right across the Arts, from crime dramas to architecture, the world is looking towards Scandinavia. We don’t think stock photography will be an exception.
19. Vintage Travel
The vintage aesthetic still isn’t going anywhere. Taking note of the runaway success of Wes Andersson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ we expect aspirational travel-based vintage photos to thrive in 2015.
In extreme contrast to the predominant muted filters of the hipster/retro-look, this year we expect to see a renaissance of high impact vibrant imagery gradually creeping in. Pro tip: To spot new trends in photography – fashion shoots are a great place to look, often leading the way.
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Depositphotos believe that 2015 photo trends will reflect our tendency to simple and dynamic life. These features only seem to contradict, in fact, they are the two sides of the same coin: as our life’s tempo grows we naturally tend to get rid of excessive things, ideas and visuals. They aspire for elegant and laconic design, lifestyle and photos. Out-of-the-box solutions also gonna be trendy as well as everything that makes us to catch a break, evoke surprise and delight! They welcome such tendencies and mark out some new trends that will single out this year
We keep on worshiping healthy and organic life. In 2014 youth stepped aside for experience, and 2015 keeps this tendency in photos and lifestyle.
martiapunts / Depositphotos
22. Perspective & Geometry
Get hypnotised by rythmic lines and curves, whether it’s natural or artifical engineer construction.
Joingate / Depositphotos
23. Still Life
Hard to avoid temptation to incarnate your vision of ideal life in a still life. Give yourself a treat!
martiapunts / Depositphotos
Leadership and creative thinking – that’s all we appreciate!
mindof / Depositphotos
25. Boundless World
The fewer places on the Earth remain unexplored, the more we struggle to keep our idea about it as a mysterious and endless place. All sciences are nothing comparing to its grandeur!
Shaiith79 / Depositphotos
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Photocase say they understand predicting trends not just as a magical look into a crystal ball. They gather their trends knowledge by talking constantly to our photographers and costumers. Its getting more and more clear that the big thing is and will be: authenticity.
26. Epic Nature
Tourism is booming. And with that comes the need for epic shots of beautiful landscape.
Pischare / photocase.com
27. Authentic People
Fake, posed portrait photographs are no longer relevant. People are shown in natural light, real compositions and with all their personality is the way to go.
Nordreisender / photocase.com
28. Socially Relevant
Social topics are more than before relevant these days. Costumers need meaningful and creative photos to illustrate the real world problems.
David-W- / photocase.com
29. Storytelling With Details
Little snapshots from everyday life are giving visual storytelling a new extension and scope of interpretation.
Hauninho / photocase.com
30. Creative Typography
The typography trend form the last years will continue and inspire photographers to get new ideas and explore new possibilities using typography in their pictures.
Lucas1989 / photocase.com
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The past year saw a sway towards real people doing real things in real environments and the popularity continues into 2015 where we revisit existing stock photography trends with a fresh perspective and a sprinkle of authenticity. Creativity is also pushed to the limits; in fact the execution of each shot is meeting a higher standard while retaining interesting elements. 123RF see the trend going towards more dynamic concepts with the inevitable emphasis on genuity.
31. Conceptual Business Infographics
Content is still king in 2015, but the delivery has changed a little with infographics becoming somewhat conceptual and creative, not just a simple flow chart or a diagram to get the message across.
32. People In Nature
We see people doing things all the time, but not so much indoors anymore. Say goodbye to studio shots with overexposed lights and forced smiles, it’s time to ring in the outside world and the real beauty it has to offer.
33. Close Up Perspectives
Thank the advancement in camera technology for letting us take photos anytime anywhere. Selfies have also evolved from posed, “kissy” takes to more close-up perspectives of living in the here and now. Be ready for the documentation of life through photos and adding some context to them, much like visual storytelling.
34. Merging Mediums
Photos depicting more than just a straight-cut visual, it contains a deeper meaning that becomes almost philosophical. It’s these shots that often get a second look and jaw-droppingly so.
35. Soft Color Tones
With marsala being the Pantone color of the year, a trend continues towards “earthiness” that exudes a warm embrace. This also applies to monochromatic images with a subtle touch of soft hues, like a kiss of sunshine on a blooming bud.
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Stocksy’s take on 2015 photography trends is that we’re seeing more subtlety and nuance compared to the big shifts of 2013/2014. Shadows and light sources are more sophisticated, while dedicated shooters are returning to their roots in the richness and depth of film. Meanwhile, skilled conceptual thinkers continue to add imagination and wit to still life.
36. Artistic Light And Shadow
Light sources and their shadows cast unique patterns, reveal textures and play on geometric shapes.
Marija Kovac for Stocksy United
37. Artistic Still Life
Artistic perspectives and use of geometry also carry over to still life, where photographers are using vibrant colors to bring abstract concepts and inanimate objects to life.
W + M for Stocksy United
38. Gray Hair
Silver-haired models in 2015 break conventional norms of stereotypes of a more dynamic idea of beauty.
Alberto Bogo for Stocksy United
39. Informal Foods
Food in 2015 is about small, easy to share portions you can share with friends.
Ellie Baygulov for Stocksy United
40. The Return Of Film
In an exploration of the photographic art and craft, film makes its return, with a refined eye for depth in pastels.
Marta Locklear for Stocksy United
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Let’s move east…. a little bit more…. to Japan based agency Pixta – well known for Asian stock photos and one of the market leader in Japan is offering their Pan-Asian content now worldwide as well.
41. Unwashed Vegetables
Due to recent concerns with health and well-being, images of organic vegetables fresh from farms will be in high demand as icons of healthy food.
42. Bright Future
Young people and elderly folks feel anxious about their futures. Images that previews a bright future will resolve their anxiety, and will be used in a variety of industries such as banking, education and medical.
43. A Moment Of Joy
Images which capture a blissful moment in our daily lives are becoming more mainstream annually.
44. Luxury Senior Model’s Hobby
As the number of elderly people is increasing, images with rich and intelligent senior models indulging in a hobby will be in high demand.
45. Male Beauty
Over the years, men are getting increasingly conscious about their looks. To appeal to more male customers, companies will start using these images.
Generally speaking, the design in 2015 will continue to focus on simplicity, usability and a clean structure (flat design, squares, large copy space). The internet is driven by its development in mobile technology, hence we identify following photography topics to stand out of the crowd.
46. Generation Y
The target group is now becoming very attractive and will be increasingly addressed via all channels, e.g. social media, apps, streaming platforms. Images have to reflect the „hipster“ style.
kho / PantherMedia
Still on the rise is the need for more authentic images, increasingly shot with mobile phone cameras. The generation Y is consuming a lot of Instagram photos and this trend influences commercial photography.
nito500 / PantherMedia
48. The Internet Of Things
We will see more business models coming up that are connecting different machines. One of the most prominent examples are smart watches or smart homes.
bswei / PantherMedia
Smart home for example are focused on simplifying your life, but also to reduce and optimize the energy and costs one puts into his or her home. As a matter of fact, this development is affecting all parts of our lives.
MintImages / PantherMedia
It is not a trend anymore, but in 2015 info graphics will also be very useful when it comes to illustrating complex business, projects or situations.
a7880s / PantherMedia
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“Each year we ask our artists to push themselves, not to follow the pack but lead and be the exception not the rule. This year we are asking our artists ‘To Keep it Real’ for real people in real situations. To show life as it really happens.”
said Val Gelineau, CEO PhotoSpin, Inc.
51. Diversity In And Out Of The Home
Global- we like to think the world revolves around America but there is a big world out there. Marketing professionals need images that are not just stereotypes of what we think they should be, but real people in real situations doing regular things around the world.
SVLuma / Photospin.com
52. Creative Work Places
Business stock images as we know them are not how many people are working today. We want our artists to try to capture real offices with real people, either at home or in the office. With technology you can be anywhere. I’m writing this while sitting in my living room.
Lev Dolgachov / Photospin.com
53. Authentic “Real” People
As the saying goes ‘if you do not ask you will not know’. So if you see a great situation and you want to photograph it ‘ask’ and get a release. You may get a great image and a new group of models for future projects.
Scott Griessel/Creatista / Photospin.com
54. International Families
Family, business, life style, food, and locations are always needed. According to the Bloomburg report the top 5 most innovative countries are South Korea, Japan, Germany, Finland, and Israel. We need images to reflect this trend
MonkeyBusiness Images / Photospin.com
55. Altered States
Using the above, ‘keep it real’ create a concept, change reality into fantasy, let your imagination go. Clients are always looking to use an image to tell a story. Be bold. Think in terms of conceptual images. Don’t be afraid to try.
IRYNA HRAMAVATAYA / Photospin.com
For the last five years, Peopleimages.com collection has been the world’s top selling, and there’s a reason for that. Simply put, we love what we do, and our ambition is to never settle for mediocrity.
“I believe 2015 will be the year of change. We will begin to see images that will change the way we look at stock photography. 2015 is going to be an exciting year and I look forward to see what it has install”, said Yuri Arcurs.
56. The Death Of The Hipster
In the beginning of 2014 the searches for “hipster” saw an all-time high. However, the interest died down after a few months partly due to people just getting tired of the recognizable hipster style. The style was also mocked in the media and Hollywood movies. I think that “hipster” is being replaced by a more sophisticated style that looks a bit more professional while still keeping it casual.
Yuri Arcurs Photography / Peopleimages.com
57. The Birth Of The Reversed Selfie
Instead of taking a selfie there is a trend of rather turning the focus onto how we perceive the world. It becomes even more intimate than the selfie as it portrays you and what you see.
The public readiness for such images is being matured through the same perspective in GoPro videos and even computer gaming. By GoPro we are of course referring to the type of images where the camera is attached to your body and basically “sees” what you see.
Yuri Arcurs Photography / Peopleimages.com
58. From Filters To Flare
This year we’ll see a reduction in the interest of over-processing filters ala instagram. Instead we will see a steady rise in images using techniques that produce a more natural, non-disruptive effect. Images with flare and copy space typically make for an easy read and sell well whilst still looking interesting, but not looking instagram-like.
Yuri Arcurs Photography / Peopleimages.com
59. A Shift Of Perspective – Entry Of The Drone
There are few images taken between 10 meters above ground and up to whatever flyby limit or low pass limit is applicable (which is normally quite high). Because taking images from this perspective would require a plane or crane, these images are few in numbers in the stock industry. With the introduction of drones, which is basically a flying GoPro, we open up for an overhead perspective without the use of helicopters, trucks or cranes. I believe the use of drones in photography will facilitate the demand of images from this perspective.
Yuri Arcurs Photography / Peopleimages.com
60. Sexy And Eye Catching Images On The Rise
We have seen a huge rise in sales of “sexy” type images of men and women. In comparison to previous years the sexy images trending in 2015 are more direct than previous years and represent what we formerly may have considered too sexy for standard advertising. I believe the reasons behind increased sales of more graphic or blunt sexiness is based on an increase in general public exposure through reality series such as Jersey shores, Geordie shores etc. We are becoming accustomed to “sexy” much faster than we may realise and this is certainly evident when taking a look at the kind of selfies we see on Instagram, which could just as well change their domain name to endlessselfies.com. The continuative habituation to sexual content is definitely contributing to the image industry by turning sexiness up a notch in order to keep people interested and get noticed.
Yuri Arcurs Photography / Peopleimages.com
500px Prime were embracing diversity, preparing for a connected tech explosion, and making sure our photos don’t look like the posed and cheesy stock imagery of yesteryear. In 2015, stock photography gets real.
61. Photography That Rejects Stereotypes
If the excitement surrounding 500px Prime is recent partnership with the for-women-by-women stock photo agency is any indication, people are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to a traditional stock photography stereotypes. Make sure your photos represent the diverse reality we live in.
Shestock / 500px
62. Epic Landscape With Small People To Provide A Sense Of Scale
Beautiful landscapes aren’t enough anymore; one of the fastest growing trends is the epic landscape complete with a small figure to help provide a sense of scale. These images allow the viewers to put themselves inside the scene, and convey a sense of adventure that’s missing in traditional landscape photos.
Mattia Bonavida / 500px
63. Photo’s That Don’t Look Like Stock
Cheesy, posed, obvious stock photography is out and very far out. Candid lifestyle shots that feel and look real are in.
Soumyendra Saha / 500px