Although stock photography is considered to be a relatively new field, you’d be surprised that it dates back all the way to the 1920s. The sheer look of stock photos has come a long way in the last decade. The stock photography industry had its ups and downs and faced transformations that are nothing less of impressive. 

At Depositphotos, we were taken by the idea to document the evolution of the stock photography aesthetics – from the early days with cliched concepts in the late 2010s to the authentic visuals like nowadays. How did the aesthetics change? What are the factors that influenced it? And most importantly, where is the industry heading?

Today we present our new project “Stock Photography Then and Now” that explores the history of stock photography, defines every important milestone that contributed to the dramatic change in aesthetics, with a hint at the bright outlook on the future.  

Explore the project

Explore a Evolução da Estética dos Bancos de Imagens Com Nosso Novo Projeto 1


What influenced stock photography aesthetics?

The main body of the project singles out key influential factors that turned out to be a turning point for stock photographers and the industry. It explores cultural events, business trends, and technological advancements that brought contributors and clients to today, with a new aesthetic we have defined. 

In the past decade, we bid farewell to heavy post-production and opted for natural images with minimal retouching. Over-saturated landscapes, HDR photography, studio shots with artificial lighting, and stereotypical concepts like a big happy family simply look outdated in comparison to authentic photos shots in natural environments. 

The way stock photographers approach their works has drastically changed as well. The growing popularity of social media, new technology, and the world going mobile made photographers review photography concepts and their artistic choices. A new inflow of clients and their change in requests turned out to be another factor that contributed to a noticeable shift in the type and variety of content in demand on microstocks.


A project in collaboration with industry professionals

The evolution in stock photography aesthetics was explored in collaboration with Depositphotos content curators and contributors as well as in-depth research on every milestone in the history of stock photography. Insights from this project were carefully tailored with the help of industry experts that shared their experience and professional opinions on the changes of the last decade, as well as their vision of the future of stock photography. 

“Stock Photography Then and Now” will be insightful for photographers who need guidance with their choices for their future photoshoots. In addition, it will serve as a beacon of light for everyone who has considered becoming a contributor to a stock photography platform. Learn more about the changes in the industry and the new demands of the market, and simply take yourself on a journey of the stock photography business.

Explore the project

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