15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle, Stock Images That Sell

Try these tips for shooting lifestyle stock images that reflect real lives, and boost your sales though authentic photography.

Creating lifestyle stock images starts with creating images that immerse a viewer into an inspirational moment, leaving a person wanting to instantly be in that place in time. Lifestyle stock images sell well on Shutterstock and Offset.

On all of our stock marketplaces, we look to photographers to create moments that tell stories for our global clients.


Shutterstock Image by David Pereiras

In this blog post, we review 15 top pro tips on how you can create lifestyle stock images on Shutterstock and Offset that make you money. As photographers on our networks, we want you to be as successful as possible.

That means providing you with the tools and resources that assist in your growth, and hopefully your revenue, as a stock photographer.

Lifestyle Images - Kids on Bed

Here are 15 pro tips on shooting lifestyle stock images that sell before your next photo shoot with Shutterstock or Offset.

Tip 1: Prepare your models

Create a comfortable shoot environment for your models before you start shooting any lifestyle images for stock. It’s incredibly important to open a dialogue, and develop trust with your team. This leaves the people you work with feeling like they can trust you as a professional, and that the shoot will be a success. Ask them questions, tell stories, and keep the conversation going.

Lifestyle Image - Girl in Car

Shutterstock Image by Jacob Lund

Tip 2: Scout your location before you shoot

Scouting your location beforehand can save a lot of potential roadblocks down the road. Try looking at online resources such as blogs or Google Maps. Take notes of which direction the sun is facing at what time, so you can plan what time of day is best for the shoot you’re trying to achieve.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Scout Your Location

Offset Image by Westend61

Tip 3: Prepare any interiors

Ensure that you get rid of any clutter or branded merchandise if you’re shooting inside a home or office environment. Anything that doesn’t add to the story should be removed. A dirty house is not a house that’s ready for a photo shoot, so give it a good, thorough sweep before you start shooting to make sure everything is good to go.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Prep Interiors

Offset Image by Blend

Tip 4: Don’t make your environment too perfect

Try to refrain from obsessing over having every detail of your image perfectly clean and stylized. You should give the environment and people you’re shooting some room to come to life. Having slightly lived-in details is a great way to do this. It keeps an image from looking boring and unrealistic.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Embrace Imperfection

Offset Image by Johnér

Tip 5: Shoot at the best time of day

Typical postcard images on billboards and advertisements are a thing of the past. No longer are customers on Shutterstock simply looking for the perfect sunshine day in a perfect setting. Instead, people are searching for lived-in, authentic imagery that highlights a lifestyle they could admire.

Those moments are usually highlighted by moodier lighting situations, such as golden hour or overcast days. Shoot when the light is at a low, almost neutral stage for the best effect in these types of lifestyle stock images.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Consider Time of Day

Shutterstock Image by g-stockstudio

Tip 6: Pick a location that has variety

You may have a list of your favorite locations, but do they provide variety? Confirm that they do, because then you give yourself more opportunity to get diverse content when you’re on shoot, with minimal effort to move around and adjust locations. The more variety you can get out of a single location, the better.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Look for Variety

Shutterstock Image by halfpoint

Tip 7: Find a frame within a frame

Find shapes within the environment you’re shooting to create a frame within a frame. This is a great way to include more details, without overcomplicating your image. Look for anything environmental or architectural such as windows, arches, trees, or flowers. Framing within a composition can add a sense of depth and complexity to an image and draw an audience in.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Frame within a Frame

Offset Image by Jennifer Bogle

Tip 8: Diversity is always important

We always encourage diversity in uploaded images to all Shutterstock image marketplaces. That includes diversity in age, gender, abilities, ethnicities, body type, and more. We encourage images that showcase the beauty of life, lived to its fullest and the incredible people that make up our diverse world. Showcase people from all walks of lives in your uploaded lifestyle stock images. We love diversity in content here at Shutterstock.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Portray Diversity

Shutterstock Image by Jacob Lund

Tip 9: Immerse the viewer into the moment

“That could be me.”

It’s the feeling all tourism and travel customers look for when they browse travel lifestyle stock images on Shutterstock and Offset. Create a conversation out of the images you create. Including a human element in your photographs is a fantastic first step to achieving this. By doing this, you form a genuine connection with an audience that could enjoy being in that moment.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Immerse the Viewer

Shutterstock Image by marvent

Tip 10: Bring wardrobe options for models

Ask your models to show up to your shoot with a variety of changes of unbranded clothing. Changing wardrobes is a really simple and effective way you can achieve variety at any shoot location. The wardrobe choices you select should compliment the type of situation you’re shooting, without taking focus away from the overall story.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Bring Wardrobe Options

Offset Image by Maskot

Tip 11: Notice the details

When you’re shooting stock imagery, you should always note the details. These are the things that are easy to miss, but are also pivotal to creating great images. This includes models’ nails being clean and simple, and clothing that is wrinkle-free. If you’re using devices, ensure your screens are clean and crack-free so that they look seamless on your camera.

To ensure the success of all your lifestyle shoots, don’t forget about the little details that make a huge difference.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Notice the Details

Shutterstock Image by bbernard

Tip 12: Use complementary colors to focus on subjects

Finding complimentary colors within your ideal theme is a great way to focus on the subject you’re shooting. By creating color contrasts in lifestyle stock images, you create impactful imagery that draws in a viewer’s eyes.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Complementary Colors

Offset Image by Maskot

Tip 13: Capture authentic emotions

Lifestyle stock images can relate to many different types of lifestyles. These could be happy moments, or sad ones. Lifestyle content needs a strong emotional pull; something that stops the viewer in their tracks through a genuine capture of a real moment. Expressing genuine emotion is a perfect way to do this. Viewers are smart and can see when a moment is contrived for a photograph. Instead, keep it authentic.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Capture Authentic Emotion

Shutterstock Image by oneinchpunch

Tip 14: Be mindful of copyright

Always be on the lookout for potential copyright and trademark infringements when you shoot somewhere. Ensure that the clothing that your models are wearing is brand-free, and that you aren’t shooting in a location that could be restricted.

15 Tips on Shooting Lifestyle Stock Images That Sell - Respect Copyright

Offset Image by Cavan Images

Tip 15: Have fun with it!

Lifestyle photoshoots are documentary-style photoshoots, where you have the ability to capture and share a moment with an audience. When you’re shooting, keep it authentic and not overly staged. If you’re shooting at a park, have kids actually play at the park. If you’re shooting a man shopping for a suit, have him actually shop for a suit. The best lifestyle stock images are often the ones that happen in-between posed shots.

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