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Trending Image Searches on Shutterstock 2023

We took a look at some of the most popular photo searches on Shutterstock: aerial sea landscape; city photo with data connection and global business networking structure; smiling young woman; young business people and diverse coworkers, and diversity hands. Yes, all of these image types are evergreen. But with unique stock photo takes on these types of images, you can stand out from the pack. Gain inspiration with our list of alternative keywords and the creative curations you’ll find within.

What says “life’s a beach” more than a gorgeous aerial of blue tides meeting white sands? While these photos are popular, there are many more views of the beach that will catch your customers’ eyes. Here, we’ll highlight a couple of alternative search terms from our article on data-backed ways to show off beach photography.

Search this instead:beach activities” will give you people-focused action shots. While the beautiful beach is still present here, your audience can more easily picture themselves having fun (or simply relaxing) near the surf.

License these images via Westend61 on Offset, shutterpix, AnnGaysorn, Cavan Images – Offset, Sarayut Sridee, Cavan Images – Offset, and CandyRetriever.

Search this too:sea life macro” fulfills the graphic, textural side of your beach-and-shore photos with a colorful twist. Extreme closeups (macro photography) of shells, coral, anemone, and other sea life are a great way to inject some color into your creative.

License these images via CK Ma, Fotana, Melnikov Dmitriy, Addictive Creative, and Divefriday.

We’ve all seen this image before: a city skyline at night, overlaid with laser-like illustrations to indicate connectivity. While this photo genre definitely has its niche and is a clever shorthand, there are other ways to show interconnectivity in a more modern way that resonates with audiences.

There are a few ways to approach this topic.

Search this instead:smartphone city” will provide more active shots of people using their phones in urban settings. This indicates that your service is connects to your users, no matter where they are.

License these images via ImageNavi on OFFSET, Nuva Frames, GaudiLab, and Gorodenkoff.

Try this search too: a variation of the previous option is “modern farmer,” which shows that your service connects even further out than just major cities.

License these images via 15Studio, Somchai_Stock, Photo smile, ME Image, and Pavle Bugarski.

Or try this search:server room” is another shorthand for “data” images. This search gives you more realistic—but still high-tech—images, without relying too heavily on overlaid illustrations.

License these images via Tetra Images Photography, Gorodenkoff, Gorodenkoff, and 4 PM production.

Search this instead: “(your brand color) fashion to get more eye-catching images that will suit your brand’s color palette.

With the focus on fashion, your models are not only perfectly dressed, but you’ll also see lots of images with large swaths of bold color. If you are looking for something gender-specific, you can always use Shutterstock’s People filter to narrow the results even more (though without refining, you may be able to cast a wider net for inclusivity for customers who want to see more non-binary models in marketing).

License these images via Jacob Lund, Subbotina Anna, Sewupari Studio, WHYFRAME, and MDV Edwards.

Bonus search: try searching for “woman with flowers” for a lush and decorative twist. We recommend embracing the casual photo trend, but there are many great options for studio shots that make adding copy to an image a cinch.

License these images via Maples Images, Boiarkina Marina, Westend61 on Offset, – Yuri A, and Artem Varnitsin.

Many companies want to appeal to a young workforce with images of happy coworkers. However, Gen Z is often unswayed by false images of young tokenized workers in suits. Our guide to using imagery to appeal to Gen Z job seekers not only offers a great curation of images . . . it also shows some great tips for how to show off a more casual, appealing side of office and work-from-home life.

Search this instead:casual coworkers” will actually broaden your search, giving you options for active images of co-working and chatting over coffee. If you need a particular demographic, using Shutterstock’s People filter for age range will also help.

License these images via AnnaStills, fizkes, BAZA Production, and 4 PM production.

Raise your hand if you’re ready for a fresher take on diversity! While this is another search that’s shorthand (no pun intended) for reaching or serving diverse people, showing people in their element is a more welcoming alternative. A handshake can be a powerful image, but it also leaves out other types of diversity as well: body types, ability, gender identity, and more.

License these images via Gorodenkoff, SeventyFour, Alexandra C. Ribeiro / Westend61 on Offset, Johner Images, Vadim Zakharishchev, and Halfpoint.

There are many different keywords you can keep in mind anytime you are looking for photos of people on Shutterstock. Adding terms that account for body types, race, age, and more to your usual searches will give you a stronger cast of characters to choose from.

License these images via VISTA by Westend61, Westend61 on Offset, Yavdat, CarlosDavid, and Simplylove.

In Shutterstock search, you can also use our nonbinary filter to capture an array of people on the gender spectrum. Remember to also include trans people and images of LGBTQ+ couples and friends.

License these images via Kostiantyn Voitenko, Pixel-Shot, Radharani, Maskot, and arun sambhu mishra.

Where to Find Unique Stock Photos

Now that you know how to search a stock library to find that perfect photo, your next step is easy—Shutterstock Flex. With Shutterstock Flex, you’ll have all-in-one access to our massive library, plus the FLEXibility you need to select the perfect mix of assets every time.

Learn more about how FLEX works and sign up for a free trial today.

License this cover image via Master1305.

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