13 Things You Can Learn From Stock Photography Big Data

An individual’s interaction with a stock photography platform is simple and predictable: search for the best-fitting image using specific keywords. However, when it comes to a database containing 50 million images, neural network search algorithms, and millions of search inquiries from 192 countries, our stock photo platform serves as a fascinating Big Data platform.

Stock photo client preferences can show what is trending now in media, blogs and business. Using data analysis algorithms, Depositphotos can identify predictable seasonal trends, like an increase in search inquiries for elves and mistletoe around Christmas, as well as sudden peaks of popularity for random objects in response to world events.

We have analyzed a list of popular subjects that millions of stock photo buyers have searched for their projects. Comparing pairs of popular keywords and the annual growth patterns of their frequency reflects trends in stock photography, as well as changes in the perception of important social and cultural concepts.


Number of search inquiries (2015-2016)


Smartphone and notebook mock-ups are among most popular images on photo stock platforms. They allow a company to show its identity, site or new mobile app in the context of everyday use. As the digital presence of products and companies increase, so do search inquiries for “smartphone,” “mobile,” “tablet,” and “desktop.”

People now spend more time with their smartphones than with laptops or any other devices. Pictures with smartphones are sought three times as frequently as those with tablets.

“Mobile” beats “desktop” five to one, but desktop mock-ups grow in popularity faster than mobile ones.


Although people search for “startup” images twice as often as a photos of “small business,” the popularity of the latter is growing faster. The dream about opening a cozy pub may be more attractive than entering a digital rat race with a disruptive idea.


Talking about omnipresent technologies! Kids nowadays prefer to play with drones instead of kites, but kites are still popular as a symbol of summer fun and carefree childhood:



Number of search inquiries (2015-2016)


Selfies pop up in our newsfeeds every five minutes, and we have gotten rather used to them. They are, apparently, a necessary evil. However, in stock photography, people still search for a good old portrait much more often than for a selfie:


Looking for an image to express joy, surprise or sadness? Search for “emoji” instead of “emotions,” like more and more of our clients do:


Nothing says “healthy” like a picture of a smiling woman eating salad. This photos are used in blogs, healthcare articles and advertising. Salad is a symbol of clean and healthy eating, and pictures with salad are trending upward by 80%. You’d be surprised to know that a “meat” photo is more popular than “salad” by 19%. We may pursue a healthy lifestyle, but there is always a place in our hearts for a tasty cheeseburger.


“Beard” is growing in popularity faster than “tattoo,” but “tattoo” is still near the top of appearance-related search inquiries. Though you can always use both in one picture.


Intense crossfit sport is trending upward, but users search for pictures of serene yoga practices three times as often:


All-time favorite keywords

Number of search inquiries (2015-2016)


Now, let’s take a look at common keywords. To illustrate wanderlust, “sea” images are searched more often than “mountains.” Still, these two keywords are always in the top of search inquiries, just like our desire for travel is in the top of our dreams:

People are looking for “global” objects 10 times as often as for “local” objects. However, the need for pictures that describe local culture, nature and people is growing rapidly:

Family and work balance are very frequently sought in stock photography, yet “family” beats “work” four to one. “Work” keyword has grown by 100% in one year.

Geometry, with its rhythmic lines and curves, was among the most popular visual trends last year, but floral backgrounds still led geometrical patterns by 1000%.

Stock photo search inquiries don’t always accurately reflect the latest trends, but they do show exactly how designers, journalists and managers envision certain objects and events. Advanced search algorithms and search-by-image also help designers to find the precise photo or vector they need. A keywords trend overview is useful and fun at the same time, since it provides some perspective, and allows us to find unique ways to express our messages through stock photography.

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