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What Types of Stock Photos Are in Demand in 2022?

people laughing while taking a walk together

In a blink of an eye, we are already approaching the middle of 2022. How time flies now that summer is coming. We have rounded up 2022's most popular stock photo trends for you to ride the trend wave.

Do you know that stock photos can genuinely attract your audience's attention, most likely increasing your sales? According to a report, the global stock photos market grew at a mean annual growth rate of 7.94% from 2018 to 2022. This statistic shows the need for stock photos has been increasing throughout the years. To meet this demand, photographers can sell photos online effortlessly with 123RF.

Stop the audience in their tracks with visually powerful content - conveying a stronger message, resulting in a more significant impact. Powerful visuals leave a lasting impression on your audience, and their ability to recall your message improves.

Now, let's scroll down to stay on-trend.

Joyful reunions

People sitting at a table having a toast

All around the world, activities and businesses have been opening up since the pandemic. It's the perfect time for loved ones to reconnect after being separated. Human connection transcends all circumstances, and as we can see in 2022's best-selling photos, there will be more portraits, family photos, and happy moments. So, let's rekindle our friendships and relationships.

Motion in emotion

Boy doing tricks with a skateboard at a skate park

Moving through times of stability, photographs will show just how active people can be, ranging from extreme sports to everyday activities. Movements are captured, and these movements can communicate moods or stir up emotions.


white stones with gold ring and gold leaf

The idea of minimalism now stretches well beyond the realms of photography and design in our increasingly complicated world. Minimalism delivers the steadiness and serenity that we're all looking for. The power of minimalist images may be observed in their simplicity alone. Start exploring minimalism; try creating a super easy minimalist poster instantly.

Naturally perfect

Two women laughing happily

It seems that the beauty world has been taken over by minimalism too. Being at ease in your own skin has taken on a new meaning; "skinimalism." The "no makeup" to skinimalist makeup, natural skin photography, and minimal skin retouching are some of the relevant topics covered under this 'less is more; category. Welcome this movement with open arms by using soft and good lighting, which will accentuate the photo's natural tone and authenticity. Be part of the skin positivity movement now.

Social activism

People protesting together

As political actions grow worldwide, we witness increased support for social movements through photography. There will be new voices of revolution calling for more mindful practices. With so many social issues in the limelight, the focus will be on visuals conveying diversity, progressivism, and inclusion. We're noticing more stock photos representing female empowerment, equality, cultural variety, and environmental awareness.

Female empowerment

Group of women protesting while holding signs

Female empowerment, women’s rights, and gender equality are still ongoing fights. For example, compelling matters such as reproductive and sexual health rights, the gender wage gap, and violence against women needs urgent addressing. You can learn more by educating yourself about these issues, and understanding more about these movements may affect how you capture these scenes of social justice.

Diversity and inclusion

Women laughing in swim wear

There is a growing demand for diversity as we celebrate individuality and uniqueness. For instance, the fashion world is becoming more inclusive by featuring more diverse individuals of all shapes, sizes, and colors to grace the magazine covers. Embracing body positivity, being kind to yourself, and accepting it as it is, are part and parcel of self-love.


woman holding a photo of her friends in the background

Authenticity is becoming more desirable over the years as it is one of the best-selling photo topics. Flat lays, endless vacations, and generic beauty on social media may seem like a dream realm at times. As a result, an anti-perfection movement has risen, fueled by a growing desire to reflect truth and everyday realities. As we move towards authenticity that appreciates imperfections, this movement attempts to make perfectly arranged and airbrushed images a distant memory. Authentic and candid photography has a more genuine and spontaneous aesthetic, steering away from the usage of filters and over-editing. So, relax and make sure your subjects feel at ease to capture them in their most natural state. When something is unplanned, it will flow naturally.

Work From Home

Electronic gadgets on yellow surface

Due to the pandemic, the freelance and 'work from home' economies have exploded. With that comes a boom of workspace flat lays and styled home offices stock photos. Go with a simple flat lay image with the featured item while keeping the audience's attention on the main subject, the brand, or the business message.

Here are some of the featured items that can be used for the setup:

  • Desks, small trays, and dishes (for office supplies)

  • Tech gadgets and equipment

  • Flowers and greenery

  • Food and beverages


Woman taking a relaxing bath

Rustic nature

woman standing in a field

Many have been cooped up indoors due to the pandemic. As a result, many got bit by the travel bug and will try to satisfy their wanderlust by spending their time outdoors, reconnecting with nature. If you’re a content creator searching for the perfect natural backdrop, try living the rustic lifestyle. Go back to basics and be surrounded by lush green forests, fields, and looming mountains, or relax on the sandy beach. With these rustic backgrounds, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

rustic bedroom interior with open book on the bed

Magical fantasy

Beautiful woman sitting on artificial clouds holding a moon lamp

Whether it's a fairy tale filled with fairies, supernatural powers, witchcraft, and magical creatures, there is something special for the young and young at heart. The fantasy world keeps our spirits young with spellbinding tales of elven folk, wizards, magic, mythical beings, mermaids, and more than you can imagine. These can inspire you to dress up and act out the part of your favorite book characters and scenes. Sprinkle some magic by adding that extra magical sparkle to your photos with a wand wave like Harry Potter!

Dark elf with floating open book

Aerial photography

Drone view of winding road

One of 2022's trending themes is aerial photography which is known as photographing images from high above on an airborne platform. Photographers will continue to search for unique angles by capturing shots that are not usually visible or easily seen. Advancements in today's camera technology are good news for photographers as drones used for aerial landscape shots have grown more affordable and widely accessible, making it much easier to shoot breathtaking images with a bird's eye view. With aerial photography, we can take notice of the beautiful, natural surroundings around us that we might otherwise have missed.

aerial view of rice terraces

Think bright

Photo of woman next to neon light

3D render of neon background with smoke

This year, light it up with bold colors that are bright, dramatic, and brilliant. The use of stunning color combinations in images is sure to attract your audience's attention in today's cluttered virtual era. Color can make your pictures more eye-catching and intriguing, whether it's only a splash of color or covers the entire composition. The bolder the color, the more it captures the eye, concentrating on rich and contrasting colors. Use intense colors to share your point of view artistically and engagingly. Focus on color with vivid neon signs, supersaturated in color objects, and brightly colored structures (think sci-fi inspired like cyberpunk) to create a work with vibrant hues. Try out 123RF's free photo enhancer tool to turn up the colors in your photos.

Retro nostalgia

3D render of 80s car with cyberpunk background

Nostalgic and vintage themes are making a comeback in photography with the rich color features of analog photography. With presets, LUTs, backgrounds, and borders to create an attractive retro feel, film photography's incredible dynamic range, exquisite softness, and warm characteristics are modernized in today's digital photography. You can expect to see more retro-themed stock photos as a blast from the past.

Surrealism for real

3D render of bird cage turning to flying birds

Woman sitting on a lemon with lemon slice as head

If you've ever come across any dreamlike, peculiar, or even bizarre artwork, chances are you might have just stumbled on the works of famous surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, or René Magritte. To channel that dreamy touch of bizarreness, search for images that use elements of reality in new and intriguing ways—stretching the borders of reality and the dreamworld. It all depends on how you interpret surrealism as a form of art.

Start now; if you're interested in selling photos online with your creative photography talents, join us as a 123RF Contributor. You can make a huge difference too to encourage more diversity, inclusiveness, and equality worldwide.

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