7 Annoying Photo Clichés That Are Finally Changing

3 years ago

= This article is sponsored by Depositphotos =

Have you ever noticed that some banner ads, packaging, flyers, and article illustrations look extremely similar, even though they’ve been created for different purposes?

Vigorous seniors hugging each other invite us to buy a hearing aid and gardening supplies. Laughing women eating salads insist on a carb-free diet. The angry boss rises above the heads of his subordinates and waves his hands menacingly — that’s what ads for painkillers usually look like.
The stock photography platform, Depositphotos, made a list of top stock photo clichés that have long evolved, however, marketers are still in love with them. Otherwise, how could you explain them in modern advertising? However, there is a piece of good news for those in the ad industry: we have 7 alternatives for the good old clichés!

#1 Man on the crossroads vs Visible opportunities

In the 2000s, any dilemma was illustrated metaphorically and with a touch of drama. For example, a person standing at a crossroads could be a symbol of a tough choice. Of course, this approach is very straightforward and its key symbolism is very evident. But, unfortunately, it lacks originality. In addition, these images do not tell us anything. What things does the hero of the ad have to choose from?

In 2020, we recommend that the subject of choice be brought into the foreground. This can literally turn a potential buyer or the reader of the article into the hero of the story, since they can decide for themselves what they would choose.

#2 Woman with a salad vs Full cooking cycle

A mysterious joyful woman with a fresh salad is the heroine of a huge number of stock photos on the topic of diets and a healthy lifestyle. The concept of these images was born in the early 2000s. And after a couple of years, women with salad bowls appeared in magazines, on advertising banners, and on television. Thus, in just 5 years, this “creative” composition became a curse for the creative industry.

But how could we avoid salads in 2020, when all anyone talks about is a healthy lifestyle, jogging, a balanced diet, and cooking at home? Stock photographers know the answer: buying salad ingredients, cutting vegetables, talking to someone you love while eating healthy salad... Any of these solutions is better than a cliché from the past decade!

#3 Anonymous hands vs Work in context

What do random hands on a computer keyboard represent? Nowadays, this can mean anything from distance learning to online shopping. Just ten years ago, photographs with just hands and a trendy computer (usually an Apple) symbolized successful representatives of creative professions, including programmers, online marketers, designers, analysts, and copywriters.

In 2020, it is better to “return” these hands to their owners, as the modern internet environment needs personalization. Besides, anonymized compositions are poorly remembered and a touch of personality builds trust and remains in our memory. The renewed symbol of work in creative industries includes passionate experts surrounded by objects related to their activities.

#4 Cheerful seniors vs Graceful aging

Over the past decade, all stock photography seniors looked the same. They ran, laughed, traveled, played with grandchildren, invited guests over, and were never sick or tired. What are the roots of this strange cliché? They trace back to the hyperbolic advertising of the 2000s: more emotions on the screen, meant a greater emotional response from the audience.

Today, theatrical images of seniors have lost their relevance. Wrinkles, authentic interiors, familiar activities (for example, gardening or fishing), as well as the fears and joys of the elderly — all this catches your eye and makes you empathize more than with the images of forever-young “cheerful seniors.”

#5 Mad boss vs Brave entrepreneur

The bossy boss is not just a photo stock cliché. A noisy and eternally displeased boss can be found in series, books, magazine articles, and songs. Even at the dawn of the 2000s, stock images of angry bosses did not reflect reality. Today, successful C-level managers and company owners take care of the team like never before. The new trend is to show our new realities like: flexible schedules, work from home, Zoom or Skype meetings, cultural diversity within the office space, and the atmosphere of modern loft offices.

#6 Hi-tech networking vs Reality of human relationships

How often have you seen people draw networking schemes on glass? This image came into stock photography in the early 2000s from the aesthetics of detective TV series. At this time, the internet, as we know it, was only in its infancy, and a metaphor was needed to visualize the idea of global networking through social networks and email. Today, this approach seems ridiculous. Indeed, even if it were to occur to one of us to try to depict the connections between people, there would be at least a million lines between them!

A more realistic way to translate the idea of ​​networking to an audience is to show the charm of communication. Whether you are a filmmaker or programmer, writer or politician, you can make friends with anyone over a cup of coffee. This is certainly more real than networking through virtual schemes.

#7 Young woman with shopping bags vs Online shopping

Young women hold numerous “untitled” shopping bags and pose in the middle of the street, in front of a shopping center or a store entrance. They laugh merrily and urge us to follow their shopping example. It’s hard to believe, but these images are still popular. We see them on billboards, in flyers, and in commercials on Facebook.

The problem with this visual stereotype is that it significantly limits its audience. First, men also buy things, right? Second, some stores are designed for seniors and children. Third, a lion’s share of sales today occur on the Internet. Thus, the new iconic version of the shopping cliché is cozy online shopping in the comfort of your own home.

Some stock photography clichés will be quickly forgotten, some will be updated by photographers, and some will even survive Armageddon. What remains for us? Let’s remember that stock photos are just a reflection of the reality we live in and, with their help, we can change and destroy any stereotypes! Opt for authentic images, because as the world has changed in the past decade, so has stock photography.

Preview photo credit depositphotos.com, depositphotos.com


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I love the way the new collection of stock Photos describe today’s world and encourage them to replace those outdated stock Photos.


That's a great article.Really! Thank you for showing us that we need to think out of stereotypes and cliches :)


FINALLY! Someone said it! Women don't have to choose just between which pair of shoes to buy!! I mean seriously, we care about our careers, politics, hunger, wars, cars...


The boss who always shouts to the employee and the employee just accepts such behaviors.. Nope. We have a voice ;)


those women with salads always gave me so mange questions. What's with the salad? They always smile so wide.. is the salad THAT funny?

Comment with image on Bright Side

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