There’s a chance you read this title and thought “this can’t be right”. Fashion is ever-evolving and stylish, stock photos are timeless and cheesy, how could fashion stock photography be a thing?
Well, we don’t blame you, there was a time when stock photography was a synonym of tacky and overdone images. While it is still true that stock photos aim at being as evergreen as possible, today’s stock photo trends are all about artistically relevant, trendy and styled pictures that could easily pass for custom-shot, and the stock photography industry prides in covering all creative and business needs including, you guessed, fashion-related themes.
So yes, fashion stock photography is very much a thing and can be a real life-saver for many fashion-oriented startups, bloggers and small businesses looking for the perfect marketing images.
Ready to learn it all about the most stylish stock images? Let’s get right to it, then!
All those leading projects and businesses framed in the fashion industry don’t need to be told just how important the visual component is for their marketing strategies. Everything, from brand identity to social media presence needs photography. And lots of it!
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This can be a major budget strain for small companies, entrepreneurs and beginners. Hiring fashion models, a fashion-capable photographer, stylist, make-up artist, secure a photo set plus getting clothes and accessories… it all can add up to a pretty astonishing sum. And let’s not talk about the time and stress gone in organising it. The alternative would be to just snap some pictures of your friend with your iPhone, yet realistically speaking, you need to be a top-notch iPhoneographer for that to come out well.
But here’s the thing: not everything has to be custom-shot!
One very important aspect of fashion stock photography you need to know from the get-go is that it’s all entirely unbranded. The reason for this is simple: it wouldn’t be legal to license such images to use commercially.
Every element in a stock photo needs to be cleared for its commercial use by the rights holder. In the case of branded fashion items, those would be the brands themselves. And big brands simply have no gain in allowing stock photos of their products to be sold for little money.
So, you will not find a stock photo of a young woman sporting the latest Burberry coat nor a closeup of a beautiful girl dotting a limited-edition Nike cap. Instead, you can find lots of pictures of women wearing stylish yet not-recognizably-branded coats and girls showing off cute but non-branded caps.
We need now to talk about the ultimate stock fashion photo dichotomy. Historically, stock images were meant to have a long shelf life. Due to the ever-changing nature of fashion, costume design for stock photo shoots tended to lean on classic styles and basic items that are always “in”. That way, a photo of a business woman in a smart suit could have been taken in 2002 and technically still be in use today without looking outdated.
But since several years now, the stock photo industry as a whole has pivoted towards a more authentic aesthetic, and that also reflects on the fashion styling. Most of the fashion in modern stock photography looks trendy and current. Not only that, but there are a plethora of styles represented, from casual to chic, from vintage to avant-garde.
Lately, you can also find stock pictures with a clear time-sensitive fashion style, like the 80s or the 90s, mainly because they’re very strong photography trends in 2020.
So you will not be short of style choice when it comes to selecting fashion photos to license!
Now, we know it’s tempting to resort to one of the many free stock photo sites that populate the web, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. But don’t forget what we said before: fashion brands visible in photos are a major liability. Most free images sites don’t review nor police the content they make available, so it’ll be up to you to carefully vet every picture you find to make sure it’s ok to use.
Even the best free stock photo sites like Pexels or Unsplash have the disadvantage of having less image variety and using free use licensing (like Creative Commons) with reduced legal protection.
At professional stock photo agencies, however, you can find huge collections of fashion stock photos that are not only high-resolution and perfect to use in your visuals, but also verified legally safe, and all for a very affordable price. For us, it’s a no brainer.
Check out 5 of the best agencies to buy fashion photos:
Photocase – Fashion Photography with an Edge
Photocase is a German stock photo site that excels in a unique style of stock photography, one that is artsy, fun-poking and out-of-the-box. Highly influenced by the vibrant Berlin style, their catalogue includes thousands of unconventional and edgy fashion images.
You've already had a taste on their collection, as Photocase's images illustrate this article! But to discover more, click on the search bar below!
Stockphotos.com – Fashion Images on a Budget
Stockphotos.com is designed with small and medium-sized businesses in mind, and the plans and prices reflect it. They have lots of fashion photos in a wide range of styles, all royalty-free and ready to download and use.
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Find beautiful fashion photos using this search bar right here!
Shutterstock – Largest Pool of Fashion Stock Photos
A titan in the stock photo industry, Shutterstock is all about commercial-ready photos and variety. Their selection of fashion stock images includes over 27 million files! How could you not find what you need in here?
Ready to discover Shutterstock's gigantic fashion library? Then hit the red button and go!
iStock – Exclusive Fashion Imagery
The pioneer in selling royalty-free images online, iStock is now renowned for its high-value, exclusive Signature collection as well as for the more budget-friendly Essentials library. In both, you will find a vast selection of fashion-themed photos, from high fashion to casual looks.
Thousands of fashion stock images are just one click away, just hit the button!
Adobe Stock – Fashion Stock Images in Creative Cloud
Adobe Stock is, like you guessed, a stock photo service by Adobe, and its ultimate highlight is that it’s fully integrated into Creative Cloud platform. The millions of fashion photos you can discover here are all available right within your favourite editing apps like Photoshop CC, ready to be part of your next visual.
See the style and quality of Adobe Stock's fashion imagery just using this search bar!
Stock photos with a fashion theme are a great resource to have at hand when running a fashion-oriented business or project.
The combined instant availability, reasonable price and legal safety make it a perfect go-to solution to keep your marketing channels up to date with fresh visuals and reap the results.
Which agency will you pick? Let us know!