A Cut Above – 20 Exceptionally Creative Stock Photos

A Cut Above – 20 Exceptionally Creative Stock Photos

“Ever seen a whippet wearing a gold necklace?” Over the last decade it’s been difficult not to notice the increasing number of stock photo libraries, and likewise the growing numbers of stock photos themselves.

Until recently I was perhaps unfairly negative in my view of the stock industry: Maybe I’ve just seen one too many ‘Goldfish Jumping out of Bowl’ or come across more than my fair share of slightly too happy ‘Woman in a Naturally Lit Kitchen Eating a Salad’, but either way you could rely on me to be the first to despair at the news that a certain image library has reached 10 million images … or that another image library has now got 100,000 contributors.

Creative Stock Photos

The Reassessment

Now it is 2012 (almost twelve years since the creation of iStockphoto) and I have been forced to reassess my old fashioned view of the Microstock Industry. In searching my way through the collections of a few websites I’ve discovered that Microstock doesn’t have to be ‘stocky’, businesspeople don’t always have to be shaking hands, and money banks don’t always have to be ‘cute pig’ shaped.

An Overdue Apology

I like to refer to this category as ‘Premium Microstock’, and there is, I’ve recently discovered, an image library which has no shortage of it. To pay my respects to an industry that in the past I may have been unfairly rude about – I’ve assembled twenty photographs (courtesy of ingimage.com) which I feel excellently represent this category. I hope you like them.

Exceptionally Creative Stock Photos

The Glamourous Whippet
Now this certainly isn’t your average stock image of an animal … for starters there’s no white background here. I can only imagine this was shot at a carefully chosen location, possibly with some kind of casting session involved.

Whippet on a Stool

Ice Cream Mohican
Well, to be honest I literally have no idea who might have a use for this image. Nonetheless it does look cool.

Ice Cream Mohican

The Other Ring?
What we can learn from this is that either somebody: 1. Splashed out on a massive gold ring, 2. Found a tiny naked women, or 3. Knows how to free transform in Photoshop.

The Other Ring?

Insensitve Placement of Toys
I can see a potential use for this image in an Animal Rights Campaign

Insensitive Placement of Toys

Senior Man Using Computer
Most stock images on this topic tend to be overtly patronising. This one however, is just excellent.

Senior Man Using Computer

Heavy Make-up
Heavy Make-up

Attempting to Comfort a Dummy
Attempting to Comfort a Dummy

A Convincingly Realistic Staged Race
There’s some almost competent acting invloved here, and an unusally high level of attention to detail.

A Convincingly Realistic Staged Race

Unusual Encounter on a Tree
Now we’re talking creative – 10 points to anybody who can think of a potential use for this image!

Unusual Encounter on a Tree

Woman Playing Enthusiastically with a Sieve
A refreshing take on a saturated field here. This woman is having a great time.

Woman Playing Enthusiastically with a Sieve

X-ray of a Crab
Not something you see everyday. Potentially a use here to promote a specialist Marine Veterinary Practice?

X-ray of a Crab

Aerial View of a Pool
Subject-wise this one is perhaps less creative than the others, but the composition is exceptional.

Aerial View of a Pool

Another Unlikely Encounter
Another Unlikely Encounter

An Interrupted Meal
An Interrupted Meal

Lady Gaga gets her hands on some Lightning
In an unexpected twist Lady Gaga turns her career towards modeling for Royalty Free images.

Lady Gaga gets her hands on some Lightning

Fossilized People
It must have taken A LOT of work to get this image looking THIS good. Let’s hope there are some people out there who want to download it!

Fossilized People

Original Take on a Punch
The floating hat is a lovely touch!

Original Take on a Punch

Surprisingly Content Woman in an Empty Bath
Surprisingly Content Woman in an Empty Bath

Puppet Office Worker
Puppet Office Worker

A Rare Breed of Dachshund
Watch out for the speed bumps!

A Rare Breed of Dachshund

Conclusion

If this selection of images is representative of the next generation of microstock, I think their fate is in very safe (albeit less useful) hands. It seems to me that stock photography has evolved to the point where it can be as much a source of inspiration, as anything else.

To browse more images of this caliber, I’d suggest checking out ingimage.com, one of the forerunners of ‘Premium Stock’ (who happen to be giving away high res images with a free trial subscription!). So if you ever have a need for an X-ray of a crustacean, or an understated photo of a superhero you know where to go!

We’d love to hear any ideas you have about where these obscure creative photos might find a use!

Henry is the resident blogger at UK based photography agency Reflex Stock. In addition to his new found interest in stock photography, Henry's favourite topics include retouching, book jacket design and wildlife photography.

Comments

  1. / Reply

    I never really thought about stock images as ‘stand alone’ pics… always considered them something to be manipulated, in which case the standard basics that you so dislike are perfect ;) Great images, thanks for sharing.

  2. / Reply

    i think these are more professional stock photos.

  3. / Reply

    Ice cream cone head is so awesome. I need to figure a way to work this into my site just becasue

  4. / Reply

    I think you are right in saying that it is hard to find a reason why/how you would uses the majority of these creative stock photos in actual work. But I agree that these could be leaning more to the inspirations side of design and creativeness. Stock photos have never been a source of inspiration for me but I think I may be tempted to look through such sites as ingimage.com in the future.

  5. / Reply

    No irony deficiency here then!

    I claim my 10 points for the woman and cat on a tree. Perfume or fashion brand. They seem to have a penchant for using striking, irrelevant or pointless images.

  6. / Reply

    what you have said in this article has deeply impressed me and i wish you can write more about this subject.

  7. / Reply

    Great examples! I think the superhero in the park is hilarious.

  8. / Reply

    unusual encounter on a tree: use to promote hunger games movie

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