Exciting Photography Trends 2021

It's a brand-new year and crispy fresh photography trends are awaiting to be discovered.

Here we present you all the must-watch photography trends 2021 identified by experts from the best stock photo sites.

Keep an eye on the list, more agencies and trends are to come!

And make sure to check our Photography Trends 2020 report, for a side-by-side comparison and evolution of visual trends!

Do you fancy yourself a trend analyst? Or simply want an even greater insight on visual trends? We have annual reports going back 7 years! Check them out:
Photography trends 2014
Photography trends 2015
Photography Trends 2016/2017
Photography Trends 2018
Photography Trends 2019

Without further ado, have a look at what the high converting stock images of this year will look like:


wwww.shutterstock.com homepage

After the year that was, we were encouraged by the positivity, originality, and resilience displayed by the Shutterstock community, which was reflected in their searches. This year’s trends centered around individuality, imperfection, authenticity, and escapism — despite the obstacles, we were forced to navigate, and the uncertainty we faced, there was no shortage of creativity and innovation. These trends, gleaned from billions of keyword searches by our users, lay the foundation for the content we can expect to see across creative outputs, B2B and B2C marketing in the year ahead.

Flo Lau, Creative Director at Shutterstock


In alignment with the events of 2020, there was a demand for inclusion and representation, with searches such as non-binary (+2,300%) and authentic people (+133%) trending up.

Identity Unfiltered encompasses authentic portraiture and the wide gamut of beauty across the globe.

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A focus on Inner Life and self care (+177%) has compelled many to shift focus in the coming year towards life’s simple pleasures.

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Free-flowing Inkscapes, one-of-a-kind

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Tie Dye patterns

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And twisting, line portraits depicting Surreal Faces, show the embrace of individuality—and imperfection.

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Keywords such as pastel tie dye (+2,404%), alcohol ink (+381%), and face line art (+536%) are on the rise, as we see a surge of flaws, fantasy, and distinctive flair among textures, backgrounds, and illustrations.


Motion pictures have the unique ability to evoke emotion.

The Sublime has seen an increase in searches for intense and intimidating scenes from nature: from stormy beach (+480%) to dunes (+394%), and mountain aerials (+1,396%).

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Eccentric Animation has given content creators new ways to express their ideas, and to embrace more playful animation styles and motion graphics that are whimsical (+13,572%), and fun. This trend provides a lively, splashy and colorful outlet for creatives that doesn’t require a crew to produce, and steers away from the seriousness of 2020.

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For a better understanding of footage trends, check out this video:

Bonus: Trend to Watch

After the events of the past year, creatives are on the hunt for the Unexplored. From biodiversity stemming from the wildfires and natural disasters, to 2020’s SpaceX launch and the fascination with space, and the upswing in yoga, meditation and the uncharted phenomena of our mind-body connection.

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That's all for now, but stay tuned, as we will bring you more photography and creative trends in the coming days!

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

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in 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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