Finding Creativity Using Stock Photography.

By Nuno Silva (VP Of Product Stocksy United)

While working at a stock photography agency it’s always impressive to see how images are being used, how your customers are interpreting visual trends, and how they’re using photography to communicate creatively. At Stocksy we’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented creatives who have learned to see beyond the stock photography clichés. Here are a few recent examples from our clients that really inspired me.

Using illustrative photography instead of illustrations

© Catherine Macbride/
© Catherine Macbride

This particular client was very dependent on iconography and illustrations and was reluctant to use stock photography. During a branding exercise, they stumbled upon a collection of simple yet clever still life photos that relayed playful concepts using paper-craft and flat lays. These minimalist yet effective images had the depth of photography but also the whimsical charisma of illustrations. The versatility of being able to use real-life objects to illustrate concepts and human elements really opened up their design possibilities. Using these types of clean and simple images, they were able to keep their visual branding consistent across several platforms without shifting too far from their previous brand aesthetic.

50 is the new 30 (or 20)

© Jill Chen
© Jill Chen

At Stocksy we have been following the trend of the hip and adventurous 50-somethings. It was validating to hear from several senior lifestyle publishers that they were using photos of this group doing the same things that 20 and 30-somethings were doing. Generation X (folks born between 1960 and early 1980s) grew up with video game console systems, the internet and a lot of the modern conveniences that are now common place. So why are we portraying the eldest of that generation as geriatrics confused by ATMs? It no longer makes sense that older people are luddites with health problems. People in their 50s are healthier, more active, and more connected than ever so pushing the boundaries of what society expects is a refreshing trend.

The medium is the message

© Wendy Laurel
© Wendy Laurel

Everyone has been saying “there’s something about film.” It’s something that fascinates me personally and something I’m experimenting with. I love the colors, the truthfulness, and the imperfections in the medium. Many digital filters have tried to emulate it, but there’s no denying that there is something unique about the physical medium and you know it when you see it. One of the best examples I came across recently was a client who used film as part of their narrative when it came to relaying nostalgia and “the past” in their campaign story. The shots used weren’t over filtered or faux-film looking. They were genuine shots with beautiful natural grain and the slight focus imperfections. Non-photographers can understand this without really knowing how the subjects were of a specific era and moment in the timeline of the story. We’ve also seen the same type of creative usage of a medium applied with mobile photography interwoven as part of a larger story.

Creativity is all around us and we are seeing so many fascinating concepts and ideas come to life, especially through our clients. With photography, the boundaries are limitless and we support that on every level.


Image Credits:

Catherine MacBride

Jill Chen

Wendy Laurel

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