Business stock images is a prolific subcategory within the most evergreen and high-demand category of stock photography —lifestyle images, or simply put, photos of people–. From publishers and bloggers to marketers, small businesses, and big corporations, everyone is somehow “in business”, and their visual content eventually needs to reflect it.
Now, if when we say “business stock photos” you visualize cringe-worthy portraits of caucasian men in smart suits holding an awkward Superman pose as they crack a too-bright smile… dismiss that mind template! Business photo collections have long abandoned those boring “images of managers” clichés that don’t really represent business people and work environments and geared towards a more honest and realistic style.
The best business stock images today are modern, inclusive, dynamic, and relatable. And right now you’ll learn how to identify cool business pictures and where to find them to produce really engaging business-themed visuals!
Want a quick tip to find the best business stock images in little to no time? Then try our stock photo search tools, with any of the suggested keywords below, or with your own!
Featured stock categories for business images and keyword ideas for you to try:
- business people
- business team
- working from home
- home office
- video call
- conference call
- office buildings
- modern office
- marketing stock photo
- business meeting
- business table
- business handshake
- diverse business people
- female entrepreneurs (styled stock photography)
- business coach
- business expertise
- business strategy
- business presentation
The Best Business Stock Images in 2021
Let’s say you are promoting a new workflow management tool and part of your strategy is to post quick task management tips with an ad on social media. Or maybe you are recruiting for your company and want to place some ads that attract the right candidates. Perhaps you run a real estate business and want neat professional real estate images to elevate your business' image. It could also be that you're boosting up your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Or maybe you want to represent businesspeople in a winter campaign design for your product. Then you’ll absolutely need high-resolution images of professionals doing their thing, as photos for social media are one of the most cost-effective ways to do marketing and communicate your intentions.
Once you tackle the art of creating visuals using stock imagery, it’s time to get down to work and select new images to use.
Recruitment photos need to be current and aligned with today's social trends more than any other business images, as very few applicants would be interested in joining a company that appears disconnected from today's social scenario or holding onto times past.
Working from home: Business During the Pandemic
As the worldwide Covid19 pandemic (also called Coronavirus) unveils and most of the world is on different levels of quarantine or self-isolation schemes, a huge portion of workers have shifted to a work-from-home arrangement. The home office is becoming a trend these days, and there are many great, authentic images to depict it. Explore them in our list of 8 positive visual concepts to illustrate the pandemic.
Inclusivity and diversity are rising visual trends. For business imagery that translates into showing all kinds of people at work. Racially diverse teams and close ups of diverse business people are some of the most sought-after images, but there are other factors of inclusion you should not overlook.
Women are a strong group on both sides of the market, stock photos of women and styled stock photography is the best way to represent businesswomen and to reach out to women visually.
People with disabilities are every day more present in workplaces, and there is a growing demand for business pictures that include disabled people.
Just to name a couple.
Lose the Tie & Get Real
As we said earlier, forget about stiff-posed pictures. Authentic stock photography is the way to go, for years now.
You must look for images where models appear to be realistically working, interacting with one another or with their work tools. This means no more awkward handshakes and power crossed-arms poses, and more brainstorming meetings and professionals on their element.
Equally important, it’s best to leave the suits in the closet. Even for office environment photos, people following casual-smart dress code is a much better choice than formal-looking folks. There are exceptions, of course. If you’re representing a law firm, modern formal is ok, and if you’re talking about an artistic workshop, paint-stained overalls fit in too.
Out of Office
Just like when you think “business photos” your first image is that stiff, suited-up man, it’s also common to think business-themed pictures are all about office environments. And maybe back in the day that was so, but not today. Startups are one of the most prolific and most sought-after topics in stock photography, and the work environments they develop in a range that goes from lush gardens to neat minimalistic offices, and everything in between.
Even more, today’s media and communications include a lot more business fields and your visuals should too. Workshops, storefronts, trade-show booths, fairs, farms… you can represent them all.
Startups for the Win
The last few years have seen the dawn and rise of the startups, especially in the tech field –Silicon Valley rings a bell?–. These young, heavily growth-oriented, and product-specific companies have brought up the entrepreneurial community and lifestyle to the visual style. In fact, the previous points (informal environment and dress code, unconventional workspaces, and diverse staff) are strongly linked with the typical startup scenario.
From the hipster aesthetic to the creativity-ridden office setups and all things millennial-related, business images that illustrate the startup scene are a must.
Bonus: Back to the (New) Normal
A rising trend in business images for 2021 is portraying the return to daily activities: businesses reopening, staff coming back to the office, meetings happening in person again, etcetera, albeit respecting social distancing and other new protocols regarding health.
Shutterstock has a great example of this trend in their new Open for Business collection!
Top Stock Photo Agencies for your Business
Now you know what to look for, time to know where to look. Business, as we said initially, is a very popular stock photography theme and so most stock photo agencies offer at least some images in this category. The best ones, however, stand out for dedicating a large portion of their catalog to this topic, oftentimes having curated galleries for business stock images of great quality both in resolution and content.
Paid or Free? Choosing Stock Images Wisely
You might be tempted to use a free stock photo site to download business photos to use for your business and visual content strategy. And you can… but at your own risk.
Free stock photos have the great upside of being, well, free. But the downsides are not to be overlooked. First, the image quality tends to be subpar compared to premium images. And even when you can find high-quality photos free of charge, more likely than not they’ll be under Creative Commons license (usually Creative Commons Zero license, or CC0 for short), or the public domain.
While technically ok’d for commercial use, CC0 license is only valid if all the rights-holders have signed a consent to have their work used this way, and free stock photo sites don’t often verify this. As a result, free photos are legally unsafe.
Not to mention even the safest of free images –like the ones you can find on Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, Gratisography, and other top free photo sites that don't use Creative Commons Zero– require attribution or come with other copyright restrictions you need to abide.
For all the aforementioned, premium, paid stock photos are a much better choice for commercial projects. The RF license that stock photo sites use is a lot safer, and every microstock agency (like the ones we list below) carefully checks every photo for legal validity.
Plus, royalty-free stock images are all professional images, in high resolution and ready to download and use in professional-grade visual content.
And If I Need Photos for Commercial Use?
Then, by all means, go for paid stock images. Free photos under Creative Commons Zero technically enable commercial use, but as we just detailed, they have a lot of hidden risks, that gets only amplified when you use the photo in a design intended to promote your business.
Royalty free stock photos are not only available for commercial use but they are mostly conceived for said use. The agency verification and professionalism of photographers who created them make them one of the safest options when you need business stock photos to use commercially. And the pricing is incredibly affordable.
That said, let’s see the list of the best stock photo agencies for business images:
As a German stock image website specialized in unique stock images that break stereotypes, Photocase is ideal to find those out-of-the-box business photos that go so well in modern-themed graphics for ads on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), content marketing, or similar.
You can have a look at their selection right now by just hitting the search button below!
Keep in mind you just had a glimpse at the kind of photos Photocase has, as all images illustrating this article are from this agency!
Stock Photo Secrets
Stock Photo Secrets Shop is our own stock photo agency, aimed at small businesses needing high-quality imagery at affordable prices. We have a great collection of business stock photos that are perfect for commercial purposes. You can use them anywhere, from Instagram feed to Facebook ads, from billboards to website hero image, and everything in between.
Check out the collection by clicking on the search button here!
Shutterstock is arguably the largest stock photo site of the web, with over 300 million images and adding well over 150,000 new photos daily. This gigantic pool of content includes a business section (how could it not?), with tens of millions of photos on the subject. Variety is the key to Shutterstock’s offer and you will not be disappointed in that respect.
Be wowed by the impressive selection of business photos, all you have to do is click on the search button and see it for yourself!
Known as the very first microstock agency in the world, iStock is now owned by the prestigious Getty Images and is famous for its prime-level library that divides into non-exclusive budget images, and exclusive high-quality pictures. You can find valuable business stock photos in both categories, so whatever your budget, iStock has you covered.
Summon up thousands of business-themed visuals with one click on the search button here!
Owned by Adobe, Adobe Stock is a stock photography service that has the particularity of being completely integrated into Creative Cloud applications, making it the go-to option if you work with Photoshop and other Creative Cloud tools, but also available for everyone at the stand-alone website. Their rich catalogue hosts a business collection with millions of high-resolution photos ready to be licensed.
Just click on the search button below to bring up all the beautiful business images in Adobe Stock!
123RF is an agency that honours its name, for it lets you get royalty-free images in a one, two, three. Their library, of course, has a tab dedicated to business photos that have thousands of files to choose from.
See them all by hitting the search button here below!
A well-established stock photo provider, Dreamstime offers royalty-free stock images in all popular categories, including, you guessed, business photography. Their themed gallery hosts over 8 million images so you are sure to find great content for your business blog, social media ads, and posts or marketing materials.
Check out Dreamstime’s business images, all it takes is to hit the search button!
Design Smart with the Best Business Stock Images
Knowing the exact style and concepts in business images that engage audiences more and better, and the stock photography agencies where you can buy these images easily and affordably, there is nothing to stop you from creating the most effective graphics with a business theme!
Happy –and successful– designing!