20 images that will change your view of stock photography

Think stock image libraries aren't worth bothering with? Then check out these beauties.

When was the last time you employed the services of a stock photo library? If it's a while, then you may have a negative opinion of what's on offer there. Indeed, "it looks like stock photography" is often used as a throwaway insult to describe bland, uninspiring shots.

Leading stock photo library Shutterstock – who recently announced the addition of the 40 millionth image to their collection – decided they want to dispel this outdated view of stock photography. So they've pulled together 40 images that just show just how artful, imaginative and original stock images can be.

Here are 20 of our favourite photos from the collection – while you can view the full 40 here.

01. Red eyed tree frog in Costa Rica by Photolukacs

02. Jumping into the lake by MitarArt

03. White tiger close-up by Oleg Kozlov

04. Bungee jumping by Vitalii Nesterchuk

05. Potato starch grain at a polarizing light by Sergejus Byckovskis

06. Underwater portrait by Maksim Shirkov

07. Flamingos in Africa's Lake Nakuru Reserve by Anna Omelchenko

08. Black-and-white clock perspective by Telesniuk

09. Surfers on the beach at sunset by Viktoria Gavrilina

10. Surrealist shadow portrait by Mayer George

11. Ballerina portrait by Stolbov Pavel

12. Adventurous kayaker by Ammit Jack

13. Painted portrait by Nodff

14. Boxing match by Aerogondo2

15. Abstract ink in water by Goncharuk Maksim

16. Woman in the sand by Mayer George

17. Timelapse of cars on the highway by l i g h t p o e t

18. Swimmer diving underwater by S. Pytel

19. Roasted carrots by Olha Afanasieva

20. Italy's Sant'Agnese in Agone, reflected in a puddle by Steve Heap

Have you seen a great example of stock photography? Share the link in the comments below!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.