Stock Photography: Breaking False Stereotypes

Many people are of unpleasant opinion about stock photography. Why? They think that it's something too simple and standard. When you talk about “stock image” they imagine some template image they are used to:

a) businessmen handshaking;
b) cheerful business team;
c) girl shining with a smile and wearing a headset;
d) jumping happy young people.

Or more like this. Well, they always have before their eyes one of those pictures which one can see at every second website about business, gardening, selling used cars, etc.

Quintessence of these remarkable ideas will be the photo containing business team, which members are jumping with headsets on and at this very moment shaking hands of each other.

And yes! These pictures are well-known and boring! You can applause to those photographers whose works were the first to bring these ideas to life. But now such images are just annoying.

Such-a-like photos usually are sold at microstocks. That's why when one is offered to buy some image at microstock he immediately responses in negative manner: “Stock images? No, thanks!” Or even without “thanks”.

But let's deal with the situation carefully. Every image idea considered as template for “stock photo” makes just a little piece of the whole stock images market. Doubts? Let's express this in numbers.

At the world's largest microstock Shutterstock you can find more than 10 millions of images. When you search for “handshake” you get 13 thousands of images. Is it much? Maybe, yes. But that's just 0.13% of the whole image gallery at Shutterstock. Now let's search for “girl support”. You get 12 thousands of images and that makes this result identical to the previous one.

Searching for “business team”? Done and you get 70 thousands of images. “Oh, this is really much!” — one can say. Yes, but again this makes just 0.7% of the whole image gallery.

Query “people jump” brings in another 0.34%. After summarizing results of these “stock photo” templates you get just little more than 1% of all the images at Shutterstock.

Among the rest 99% you can find everything you want and even more. You can find at microstocks almost every idea that you can imagine. And you can make other ideas produced by your vivid imagination combining several stock images in Adobe Photoshop.

You cannot believe? Then try to think up something original and then type in the search field relevant keywords at any microstock you like. Most probable is the result when you'll get many shots bringing to life your original and unique idea. And this result is not something unusual or unexpected. Do you know that hundreds of thousands of talented photographers are contributing to the world's largest microstocks? And that's why their creativity and imagination covers almost every request you can type in.

You can find interesting and original photos at every microstock and these images will be something that you've never seen or even thought of before. Just take a look at these pictures concerning upcoming Easter:

a) “Bored” by lisegagne at iStockphoto;
b) “Mother and daughter Easter looking for eggs” by Monkeybusinessimages at Dreamstime;
c) “chicken and ball” by ariusz at 123RF.

And it can be continued on and on. Can you say that they have a lack of creativity?

It's not microstocks to blame for simplicity and banality of the ideas. It's lazy designers who don't want to create something else than typical designs when they have lots of unique ideas at hand — just look at microstocks and use what you like most. It ain't difficult, just try it.

Microstocks offer millions of cheap images at every topic for every designer. These sites sell usual “template” images as well as photos of great style and astonishing ideas. And it's designer to choose material to work with.

It's very easy to find and use really interesting stock pictures — just turn on your imagination and creativity and you'll see these photos from the other side. From the side where you'll find latent reality of unforgettable art of stock images.

Photo Credits

“agreement” by khz at


I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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