8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos

Millennials are a generational group as large as it is complex and hard to please, yet one of the main targets for most brands and companies. 

Are you reaching out to millennials with your marketing? If so, you can only benefit from reading this list with 8 great, simple visual clues to select and use millennials stock photos that hit it home for your audience!

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Millennials in the Consumer Market

Making up for 25% of the U.S. population and the largest population segment, generation-wise, millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y) are complex from the get-go. 

For one, nobody can actually agree on the age gap that marks this generation! In general lines, young adults and not-so-young adults born between the mid-1980s and early 2000s can be considered millennials. 

Such a large age gap explains some of their complexity: lifestyles, goals, and consumer behavior varies according to where they are in the age spectrum. 

That said, the main characteristic of millennials is being a hybrid between old and new schools. Unlike Generation Z, who only know digital life and the Internet, millennials grew up with computers, were the precursors of social media and selfies, and are highly tech-driven, yet they also know how to operate a dial phone and love good ole’ word-of-mouth promotion. 

photocase photo id 3184806 square > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos
Copyright: javiindy/Photocase.com, all rights reserved

When you market to millennials, you need to know they are early adopters of new technology (such as they did with the first mobile smartphones), perceive themselves as system-disruptors and world changers –something particularly relevant when it comes to women and gender roles–, they are on average highly educated, smart, and ambitious. Social networking, startups, and activist movements are fields populated by millennials. Images of millennials need to convey all this accurately.

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Where to Go to Reach Out to Millennials

Two words: social media. Millennials are all for interactive, personal experiences. Social media –and other interactive platforms like Yelp and similar– are full of them. Facebook is by far the favorite, followed by YouTube, Instagram, and, in less relevance, Snapchat. 

If you’re catering to millennials, your marketing strategy (visual and otherwise) needs to happen on these platforms and be focused on human, personalized exchanges. 

-Photos for social media – A channel-detailed guide to social media marketing
-The best photos for Instagram – To master Instagram for business one image at the time
-Cues for High converting stock images – with tips for selecting social media visuals
-Tips for LinkedIn marketing – Boost up the visual impact of your LinkedIn strategy
-Secrets of great newsletter images – Everything to make your newsletters effective
-Standard photo sizes for marketing materials – All social media channels included 
-5 Don'ts in Visual Communication – The mistakes you should avoid when designing visuals
-Viral Content Ideas – Get inspiration to reach the masses with your posts

So, let’s see how to tap on these personality traits through millennial stock photos!

8 Pro Visual Clues to Attract Millennials

When it comes to appealing to these complicated folks, it is often trial and error. But here we give you 8 proven tips to make sure your visuals are going to be millennial-approved: 

#1 – Beautifully Unique

Everything in your visual branding, from photography to web design, should be eye-pleasing in an unconventional, custom-like way. Think of quirky-looking photos, bold graphics, and exotic models. Photocase’s library is an ode to millennial-appealing style! 

photocase photo id 2638280 square > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos
Copyright: nanihta/Photocase.com, all rights reserved

Equally important, you should go for a minimalistic look, with simple lines and avoiding visual noise at all costs. 

#2 – Highly Interactive

Millennials need interaction. Especially on your website, always make sure your images of millennials are part of a responsive, interactive design that involves them. Don’t be afraid to use engaging content like raw-styled photography, video, and more. Just remember, aim for simplicity. 

#3 – Socially Engaging

Millennials love to interact with brands on social media and connect with them eye-to-eye level. The best images to use are those that either are or look like UGC, where the consumer is highlighted as much as the product. Strategy-wise, polls and contests are a great way to get them to participate and feel involved in company decisions.

photocase photo id 3498435 square > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos
Copyright: daviles/Photocase.com, all rights reserved

#4 – Super Intimate

Your visual content has to feel honest and transparent. They want to see the people, not the business. Display the team that makes your brand happen, and choose photographs that portray emotions in a relatable way. It’s very important to be inclusive and diverse to portray the multiethnic society we live in accurately. 

photocase photo id 3912820 square > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos
Copyright: Southworks Creative LTD/Photocase.com, all rights reserved

#5 – Strongly Committed

Support a cause. Millennials choose and become loyal to companies that support causes they are aligned with over companies with better prices or products. They want to know if their consumption is contributing to helping relevant issues –such as feminism, multiracial unity, or ecology– and changing the world. 

photocase photo id 3862804 square > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos
Copyright: przemekklos/Photocase.com, all rights reserved

Warning: they smell BS from a mile away, and fake activism or self-serving charity put them off big time, so don’t do that. 

#6 – Peer-Approved

The most effective convincing resource for millennials is social proof. They distrust ads but believe in user reviews and friends’ recommendations. Case studies and relatable photography go a long way with them. 

Note: While stock photography can be tricky to use for this purpose –as you cannot fall into a direct endorsement or other unauthorized uses–, authentic stock photos are really useful to illustrate case studies and similar content.

#7 – Visual and Action Driven

For millennials, your images are you. They don’t want a sales pitch or super-obvious marketing visuals. Use photography to show them what you do, what your brand, product, philosophy, and customers are like.

Learn all about the best images for marketing. 

#8 – Identity Consistent

For a millennial to trust in you, your branding has to be rock-solid and consistent. Everything from color choices to photos used and copy included has to project a personality and be clearly a part of a whole. 

Discover the secrets of branding with stock images. 

Best Stock Photo Sites with Millennial-Approved Images

See a roundup of top stock photo agencies where you can find perfect photos for millennial-oriented visuals: 

Photocase – Quirky & Unique

photocase logo > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos

Photocase’s library is a millennial dream come true. Thousands of high-resolution, fun-loving photos that break the stock photography mold in more than one way without loosing visual appeal. 

Photocase review

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Shutterstock – Commercial-Ready

wwww.shutterstock.com homepage

Shutterstock has the largest stock photo library on the web. It specializes in a polished, commercially valuable style and hosts millions of modern images perfect for millennial-targeted visuals.

Shutterstock review

Shutterstock free trial

Shutterstock coupon code

iStock – Exclusive yet Affordable

istock logo square e1585945491345 > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos

iStock is famous for its catalog, divided into budget everyday imagery and exclusive high-end photos at a convenient price. In both of these main collections, you’ll find authentic-styled pictures that resonate well with millennials. 

iStock review

iStock promo code

Adobe Stock – Trendy to the Max

adobe stock logo 1 > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos

Adobe Stock is a stock photo service by Adobe, and as such, it keeps a strong focus on creative trends, resulting in a library packed with the latest, most accurate representations of popular topics that millennials love.

Adobe Stock review

Adobe Stock free trial 

Stock Photo Secrets – Budget-Friendly

StockPhotoSecrets Logo White > 8 Visual Clues for Millennial Stock Photos

The Stock Photo Secrets Shop offers high-resolution stock photos at flexible and low pricing to fit in every budget. In the 6 million files collection, you can find great millennial-themed stock images. 

Stock Photo Secrets Shop review

Stock Photo Secrets’ 99Club Plan

Illustrations are perfect for portraying millennials in a fun and creative way!
-Find 14 great sites for stock illustrations
-Discover Humaaans, a site offering fully customizable human characters in vector format, with a minimalist and very fresh style
www.shutterstock.com stock illustrations millennials

Market your Brand Effectively with Millennial Stock Images

Following these 8 pointers, you’ll be able to select stock photos that truly speak to the millennial generation to make them know, interact and adopt your brand. 

So go ahead and choose a stock photo agency, pick some great images, and design away!



Header image: Copyright by criene/Photocase.com, all rights reserved.

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in StockPhotoSecrets.com and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

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