Setting up a stock photography portfolio does not take much time and effort. You just need to become a contributor and start submitting your visuals on themes you can’t go wrong with such as backgrounds, lifestyle and food photography, and a few other safe bets.
If you’re an experienced photographer, perhaps you know that making your portfolio popular and profitable is a different story. To do that, you need to analyze the market and devote a lot of time to keywording. You should also know your clients.
In addition to freelancers and designers, images from stock photography platforms are used by pharmaceutical companies, niche businesses, and organizations. They search for specific themes in photography like local holidays, diseases, aging or technology.
Keeping this information in mind and creating visuals on unexplored topics, you can increase your profit and become a best-selling contributor in a particular niche.
To help you out with the choice of themes, our content team has carefully gone through the Depositphotos library and narrowed down the search requests to the best of the unexplored topics. Here the full list of unexplored themes in stock photography.
Niche and Unexplored Themes in Stock Photography
Many aspiring photographers think that enriching your portfolio with lifestyle photography is a surefire approach to making money with stocks. In reality, unless your images are super trendy and the keywording is accurate, your images on broad topics like lifestyle can easily be lost among the same bulk of visual content uploaded to stocks daily.
A better option for novice stock photographers is to cover the theme of medicine. Not only pharmaceutical companies but also niche magazines, journals, and digital platforms are looking for images that would illustrate everything medicine and healthcare-related.
Another theme that is in-demand is a process of patient rehabilitation. These could be images depicting disabled people or those who have overcome such serious illnesses like cancer.
These images are now in demand because they illustrate the realities of life and appeal to diverse audiences at the same time. Many of our clients request this topic because the coverage of the many concepts and visuals related to healthcare are few.
2. Illnesses and diseases
You may be surprised but illnesses and diseases are one of the most searched for but unexplored topics in stock photography.
Skin rash, bruises, fever and other things that happen to people during their lives also have to be depicted. Blogs, magazines, and small businesses use these images for projects that raise health-related issues, to illustrate articles or social media posts and advertise a medicine.
This theme might not be the most pleasant to cover, but the next time a model says that she or he is covered with spots, don’t cancel the shooting and ask if it is comfortable for her or him to be photographed with skin imperfections.
3. The art of aging
The Internet is flooded with stock photo cliches, especially with pictures of cheerful seniors.
If ten years ago images of smiling and sporty elders were popular, today the aesthetic is different. It implies taking pictures of seniors enjoying basic activities and appreciating everyday moments. No fake smiles and over-retouched faces. Wrinkles, grey hair, and quiet pace of life translate the real beauty of aging and align with the trend of authenticity.
4. Future of technology and the internet of things
In 2017, the themes of the future of technology and the internet of things were in demand on all microstock platforms.
Since that time nothing has changed. Smart homes, cryptocurrencies, VR and AR technologies are still popular search requests. Being quite difficult to illustrate, clients usually spend hours looking for visuals that would meet their demands.
For photographers. taking pictures of technology is an opportunity to get noticed. The Depositphotos search has four filters that allow clients to discover not only the most downloaded and popular visuals (best match and popular) but also the latest and the least downloaded ones (newest and undiscovered).
This means that if clients search for something new in the library, they can stumble upon your series and use them for their projects.
5. Interiors design and habitats
Interior design and habitats are difficult themes to photograph because of issues with lighting and space itself.
However, Sylwia Krędzel, a seasoned stock photographer and image designer shared with us a recipe for a great interior shot. It includes:
- elaborate composition
- authentic habitat
- natural light
- unique idea
Sylwia also suggests that if you want your interior shots to be sellable, you should constantly wonder who and where will use it.
6. Variety of sports
At the moment of writing this article, the search shows that Depositphotos library has over 1 million images illustrating different sports, 500,000 images on “football” request, and 485, 000 pictures of people running.
These numbers are high and if you want to make money with stocks you should pay attention to niche sports and activities. For instance, capturing ultimate frisbee, rugby, and cricket games will be both an interesting experience for you and a great opportunity to diversify your stock photography portfolio with niche images.
Another unexplored theme is family and children games. Outdoor activities and school sports will also be a nice fit for your existing portfolio.
7. Modern routine
Our routine has drastically changed in the last few years and so did stock photography to illustrate the change. With the emergence of trends like slow living, hygge, and lykke, people pay more attention to authentic moments. They go on weekend getaways, decorate houses with candles and cozy blankets, follow minimalism in furniture and fashion, spend more time with family and friends, and observe morning coffee rituals.
You, as a stock photographer, should definitely be on the top of trends and reflect all these activities in the most authentic way. Pay attention to how people spend their leisure time in your city, the contrast to your observation when traveling, and staged photo shoots to perhaps illustrate everyday routine and activities how you see fit.
8. Going green
On stocks, there are plenty of images that illustrate the environmental issues and global challenges people face today. But when it comes to themes like zero waste and sustainability, the search requests are quite poor.
We believe that if every person takes even a small step towards a greener future – sorts out the garbage, carries around a reusable cup or cycles to work – the awful consequences like droughts and floods, lack of fresh air and clean water can be avoided or at least postponed.
Although being an important topic nowadays, it is also quite unexplored. Try to cover it if you want to raise awareness on the issues related to the environment.
9. Healthy lifestyle
With the span of time, the notion of a healthy lifestyle has changed. It does not imply any strict diets. In turn, a healthy lifestyle means having regular meals, doing sports, and being mindful.
For some reason, this topic is not so explored by stock photographers, although clients are constantly looking for images that would illustrate the contemporary understanding of a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re wondering what images would depict this theme in the best way, here’s a photo collection that will help you with context.
A couple of years ago the theme of entrepreneurship would cover corporate life and the road to leadership. Meanwhile, today, entrepreneurship can be about work from home, a startup launch, and the foundations of small businesses.
More and more people are moving closer to offices or work from home because they don’t want to waste hours in traffic. They would rather spend this time with family or friends. This tendency is observed worldwide and among different generations.
Visuals of home offices or people working in open spaces are in demand for magazines and blogs. They adjust their content to the needs of their audiences and look for corresponding images on stocks.
All these tendencies and changes should serve you as inspiration and, ideally, define your future photography themes.
11. Local holidays
If your portfolio already has images that illustrate holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and St Valentine’s Day or you’d like to experiment and try something new, you can capture local holidays. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Day of the Dead
- Carnival of Brazil
- La Tomatina
- St Patrick’s Day.
Photographs on these topics are niche, hence will definitely find their way to the right clients.See collection
12. Holiday decor
Uploading seasonal visuals to stocks is a win-win strategy for photographers if the images are unique and authentic.
Otherwise, you’d better consider the idea of taking a series of pictures of holiday decor and the process of decoration. You can literally capture every detail, from table and flower arrangements to cooking dishes and mixing cocktails.
In addition to home preparations, do some shots of gift wrapping. These images are especially atmospheric as they illustrate the greatest moment of every holiday – preparation.
13. Abstract concepts like creativity and art
The biggest pain point of all stock photography clients is finding images on abstract topics like creativity. It seems like the Internet stores everything except for images depicting the design process or any other creative job.
If you have basic design skills, you can make creative collages from your own photos and upload them to your portfolio. You can also get some inspiration from our thematic photo collection “Alternative ways to illustrate creativity”.
14. Diverse generations
Marketers usually segmented audiences by generations (X, Z, and Y) because each of them requires a different approach.
For instance, millennials (Generation Y) have a totally different psychology than their preceding baby-boomers (Generation X). They are very tech-savvy, curious, and independent and were during the technological evolution, economic recession, and unstable political landscape. These factors shape their consumer behavior and marketers always search for images that would depict a generation with their particularities.
Photographers who’d like to increase their profit should try to meet these demands and enrich their portfolios with images depicting different generations.
Whether you want to create a new portfolio or diversify an existing one, this list of topics will be a source of photography inspiration for you. You can go on a trip and capture local holidays, take pictures of your family’s Christmas preparations, or find a 70-year old model and shoot a series of photos on the art of aging.
These themes, being niche and unexplored by other photographers, will be easily found by clients and bring you more royalties in the long-term.
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