There's one thing all marketers quickly learn when using images in their work: lifestyle images and photos are the best-performing ones for pretty much any purpose, and especially for advertising and promotion. For this very reason, it's one of the all-time popular categories in stock photography and a staple visual trend year after year.
But what's lifestyle photography meaning? What kind of photos fall under this label? Where to find them? What are the currently trending styles within them? Here we answer all these questions, and as a bonus, you will also find the best places to get awesome lifestyle stock photos for your designs, plus search bars AND keywords to find them right here, right now!
Long story short?
Lifestyle stock images are photos of people. This is just the name given in photography and visuals to any image depicting people in a life-related activity. Be it one person, or a larger group of people, if there are people doing things, then it's a lifestyle image. And they are amongst the top in terms of high-converting stock photos!
What constitutes a life activity? It can be everyday actions, such as walking, brushing teeth, eating, sleeping, or taking a selfie. It can also be more specific things like exercising, working, running a business, spending time with family, using technology (even being a hacker), traveling or visiting locations, etc. People showing emotions are also within this category: people laughing, crying, looking confused, or concentrating… you get the point.
So, to sum it up: any image of a person or people doing something is a lifestyle image. Obviously, this makes the category to be very broad and varied. For this reason, you will commonly find subcategories in this genre, which represent some of the most sought-after topics that include people and activities.
In brief, lifestyle images –people stock photos– are popular because they do the trick. It is proved by numerous research and studies over the years that human beings have a faster and more positive response to seeing people's pictures than they do to images depicting any other subjects.
That makes them a great fit for marketing and advertising, branding, promotion, etc. In fact, they are some of the most perfect images for marketing and visual content you can find. If you are to promote a sailboat tour service, for example, an image of a happy family having a great time on a sailboat in the open sea will work a lot better for your purpose than an image of the ship against a beautiful sunset.
And this is why, every day, more and more users want to download and use lifestyle images in their designs. And so should you!
Ever since the dawn of smartphones with cameras and social media –so, well over a decade now–, the photographs that better resonate with audiences are those that resemble the kind of photos they can snap with an iPhone themselves.
Authentic stock images are all the rage in the visual world for years. What does this imply? Real people in real-life scenarios, displaying believable emotions and perform realistic actions. In other words, no more cringe-inducing, neatly styled, happy people looking unrealistically excited about eating a salad or having a business meeting.
A key element for today's most engaging lifestyle photos is to focus on diversity and inclusion. The people in your images should portray multiple ethnicities, cultures, body shapes, genders, ages, lifestyle choices, and even fashion styles.
Speaking of ages, it's also important to select images that resonate with your target demographic. Each age group/generation has its own visual preferences, and you'll be wise to cater to them. Here we have quick lists of the best lifestyle photos for age groups:
Of course, the best photos for marketing are professional and high-quality. This means not only high resolution and technical sharpness but also a skilled, artistic value. This is why you are better off buying inexpensive, professional stock photos rather than taking images with your phone or using a free stock photo from a questionable site.
Being so popular, it's logical that lifestyle images are available at most, if not all, of the main stock photo agencies. This also means you can get lifestyle royalty-free image downloads on the cheap!
Where to buy? One great option is Photocase. This is a premium stock photo agency with almost two decades in the market, specializing in artistic, authentic photography with a strong focus on lifestyle imagery. You can learn more about them and get an awesome discount on your purchase by checking our Photocase review here. And you can also discover the value in their curated images right here.
You can also have a look at the top 5 stock photo agencies. If you want lots of images, here are the 7 cheapest stock photo subscriptions to choose from. You could also go for one of the 4 best-unlimited downloads subscriptions if you wish!
Combining research and user behavior, after so many years, stock photo agencies are capable of identifying the most popular topics customers look for in their libraries. As we said, lifestyle (people images) is one historically uber-popular genre. But there are also several relevant topics within it that photo buyers all over the world keep looking for. Here are some of them, with visual examples from our friends at Photocase!
What we do for a living is the main topic in lots of designs, and business images are highly sought after. From dated, stereotypical photos of executives in suits sitting at corporatize boards or a smiling businesswoman that looks straight off a fashion runway to more modern take on informally dressed groups of businesspeople brainstorming and team-working, business images are very popular. Dive deeper into the topic of business stock photos.
Want to see some examples? Type in some of the keywords bolded in this text into the search field below and hit the blue button! You're welcome to use your own keywords too.
Another very popular topic is that of the portrayal of families and family life. Adults and children sharing activities, couples portrayed in intimate moments, scenes of the daily household, and other similar images are always in high demand.
You can see the kind of photos we're talking about easily if you add any of the keywords in bold here into the search bar below and hit the “find on Photocase” button!
Healthcare & Medical
Be it because of the number of businesses and companies dedicated to any form of healthcare and medical-related product or service or because of the number of people looking for these services, photos with concepts related to medicine and healthcare are very popular. From the traditional shot of the smiling doctor in a white coat and the confident patient sitting on the exam table to holistic representations of people using home remedies, these shots are always relevant in stock photo agencies. Dive deeper into the topic of medical stock photos.
To discover images on this topic, simply use some of the terms we highlighted in bold in the search bar below!
Sports & Recreation
Exercising, sports practicing, and other types of live-action recreation are also very popular topics in lifestyle imagery. From couples running in the park and children jumping rope to mountain biking or rock climbing, these shots fill every stock agency's library.
And you can see awesome imagery with these concepts if you just enter the bolded terms from above into the search bar right below and hit the button!
Within every category, you will find traditional shots, and more modern and trendy takes that either reinvent the same traditional concepts or introduce new ones. Lifestyle images are no exception to this.
Lifestyle photos categories
- Healthcare & Medical
- Sports & Recreation
Here are some keywords you can use to find great lifestyle imagery: group, woman, hands, breakfast, relax, sunset, coffee, lifestyle stock, laughing, women, yoga, beach, sitting, food.
For a deep look into what kind of images are trending today, read our full report on the 48 photography trends for 2020 if you haven't done it yet. Here's a brief look into some of the most relevant lifestyle photo trends in the main stock agencies:
Active Lifestyle Images
This topic responds to the need for portraying a healthy lifestyle and the inclusion of all kinds of people into active life roles, both concepts that are all the rage in our times. It can be seniors riding bicycles, young women doing boxing, young men line skating to work, and similar concepts.
See exactly what we mean by using these keywords (highlighted in bold) on the search field below and click on the button for results!
One of the most relevant trends in recent years is that of representing cultural and racial diversity in lifestyle images in a way that is more in tune with our current global society. Images of people's cultural traditions and customs around the world, accurate representations of groups like African American or Latin communities, shots of multicultural groups of people doing different things, and similar concepts, are certainly highly sought after nowadays. Check out our top 10 agencies to buy diverse stock photos here!
Find these super-trendy lifestyle photos easily by using the keywords we just gave you (in bold text) to search using the bar below!
Ever since technology invaded our daily lives, the concept has been trending in stock photos. However, this subcategory renews itself constantly, as technology keeps moving forward, and what was top-notch two years ago is obsolete today. The current trend is for images depicting people of all ages and backgrounds using modern, everyday life technology: smartphones, tablets, VR headsets, self-driving cars, drones, etc.
You can pick great technology lifestyle images using the search bar below, just choose some of the highlighted keywords to use!
While people of all ages are present in lifestyle image photography, the most popular ones lately are the ones representing the new generation of consumers. Not long ago, this group was that of the millennials, but now we are moving forward and focusing on Generation Z, the youngsters who were born in the social media age and relate everything to technology. Photos that show Gen Z teens “doing their thing” are increasingly downloaded in every stock agency.
Bring up lots of new generation-related images using the keywords we just gave you in bold text on this search bar!
Images cover a lot more than just photographs. Digital illustrations to visualize people in the many activities they engage in are a rising trend of late and a very versatile resource for creatives. Often found in fully editable vector format, people's illustrations can be a cool way to add visual spice to your designs.
One great service to highlight is that of Humaaans, a website that offers fully editable human characters that you can customize (from hairstyle and clothes to body type and skin tone) and download to use in your designs. Awesome!
More agencies and services can be found in our guide to the best stock illustrations.
Now you've learned all about lifestyle image photography, where to find these photos, and what style of them you should go for, it's time to get your hands down to work.
Choose any of the stock photo agencies we recommended to you and find the lifestyle stock photos that better fit your business, topic, or purpose!
What subcategory of lifestyle photos will you choose? What lifestyle image agency did you decide for? Let us know in the comments!
Copyright header image: criene / Photocase.com