Free Photo Shoot Planners: Monthly Guides to Help You Create Stock Photos that Sell

Use Noun Project's free photo shoot planners to create high-quality stock photos throughout the year.

Get ahead of the stock photography game by using our free photo shoot planners for each month. Whether you’re a seasoned stock photographer or just starting out in the business, these monthly planning guides are designed to help you create timely and seasonal images for submission to Noun Project.

Each month below links to a more extensive guide on planning photo shoots for that theme and season, offering additional details and creative ideas.

You can also use these free photo shoot templates, including a sample deck, budget, shot list, and call sheets to help organize your photo shoots. For a more comprehensive guide on photo shoot planning, click here.

January

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

January provides an abundance of opportunities to create unique stock photos. The month is often associated with new beginnings, resolutions, and fresh starts, as it marks the start of a new year. The beginning of a new year is not just a mark on a calendar, but a gateway to new beginnings. In many parts of the world, winter is in full effect in January month and is often associated with snow, cold weather, and winter activities. Major themes and holidays in January to inspire stock photography photo shoots are New Beginnings and Winter Landscapes. 

Photo (L) by Alina Kho // Photo (R) by Anna Bogush

Photo (L) by Iceman Photos // Photo (R) by Denis Kuvaiev

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for January include:

National Hobby Month; Dry January; National Soup Month; Hot Tea Month; National Pizza Week during the second week of January; New Year’s Day on January 1st; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the civil rights leader on January 15th; National Cheese Lover’s Day on January 20th; and last but not least, our favorite day of January: Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day on January 17th. 

Read our full post on January Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

February

Photo by Alina Kho

When people think about the month of February, the theme of Love and Friendship often comes right to mind. One of the most widely recognized holidays in February is Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and affection, perfect for creating stock photos. Several Fun and Festive celebrations also occur in February that provide a great opportunity to capture fabulous photos, among them is Lunar New Year, celebrated throughout many countries and cultures in Asia.

Photo (L) by Flamingo Images // Photo (R) by Anna Bogush

Photo from Scopio

Black History Month, observed throughout February, is a time to recognize and honor the achievements and history of Black Americans. To honor Black History Month, Noun Project has created a photo collection celebrating the achievements, cultural heritage, and history of Black Americans with images from the Library of Congress, GPA, NASA and more. Our collection includes stock photos of Black American leaders who have paved the way for civil rights, leaders in the arts and sciences, education, sports, politics, and more. 

Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, looking at list of numbers posted on a wall, 1965 from the GPA Archives

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for February include:

American Heart Month; National Bird Watching Month; National Snack Food Month; Random Acts of Kindness Week, celebrated the third week of February; National Freedom Day on February 1st; World Cancer Day on February 4th; the Superbowl, falling on February 11th in 2024; International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th; Mardi Gras, celebrated in February 13th; National Tortilla Day on February 24th; and last but not least, we get an extra day in February on the 29th with 2024 being a leap year.

Read our full post on February Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

March

Photo by Carlos David

March heralds the beginning of spring, leaving behind the dark days of winter. Fresh Blossoms and Blooms, green grass, and sunshiny days provide many opportunities to create photo shoots inspired by the change of seasons and celebratory holidays. Not to be missed is the opportunity to photograph dogs for National Puppy Day! March is Women’s History Month which celebrates the achievements and successes of women across the world.

Photo (L) by Suzanne Strong // Photo (R) by Suzanne Strong

Photo from Scopio

Explore Noun Project’s inspiring Women in STEM collection in honor of Women’s History Month. This collection celebrates trailblazers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with images from NASA, the National Cancer Institute, the CDC, the Library of Congress, images from Noun Project and more.

Samantha Cristoforetti honors Leonard Nimoy on ISS shows Vulcan hand sign, Photo from NASA

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for March include:

The start of baseball season and spring sports; National Nutrition Month; National Craft Month; Holi on March 8th; March 9th is National Barbie Day; Pi Day on 3/14; St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th; the first day of spring on March 19th; World Water Day on March 22nd; March 31st brings us both Cesar Chavez Day and International Trans Day of Visibility — and in 2024, Easter falls on March 31st.

Read our full post on March Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

April

Photo by Anna Ivanova

April is a month replete with themes of rejuvenation and celebration as it heralds the full bloom of spring. April brings us a host of holidays and observances that reflect this spirit of renewal and joy which offer up many opportunities to create stock photos for submission to Noun Project. In April, we honor the health of our planet by observing Earth Month. Two major religious spring holidays fall in April: Easter and Passover. National Cannabis Awareness Month is observed in April, aimed at increasing awareness around the cannabis plant.

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography 

Photo by Alina Kho // Photo by US Ukrainian Activists

Photo by Lana Ferovic

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for April include:

Jazz Appreciation Month, Celebrate Diversity Month; Autism Awareness Month; National Wildlife Week the first week in April; National Library Week falls on the second week in April; April Fool’s Day on April 1st; April 3rd is Find a Rainbow Day; Siblings Day on April 10th, International Day of Human Flight on April 11th, and the favorite day of everyone in the US: Tax Day on April 15th.

Read our full post on April Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

May

Photo by Suzanne Strong

With its vibrant, blooming flowers and longer days, May serves as a bridge between spring and the forthcoming abundance of summer. Many countries across the world celebrate and honor mothers in May on Mother’s Day. Older Americans Month, observed in May, acknowledges and celebrates how older adults enrich our communities. During Teacher Appreciation Week, the second week of May, we honor the amazing educators who inspire and guide students.

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Photo (L) by Diliaria Garifullina // Photo (R) from Scopio

Photo (L) by Yes Photographers // Photo (R) by Thomas Baker

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for May include:

Asian Pacific Island Heritage Month (AAPI Month); Mental Health Awareness Month; National BBQ Month; National Camera Month; as well as the fun theme of Cheese Month. National Willdflower Week starts the first week in May. Other days of note include May Day on May 1st; Star Wars Day on May 5th; National Nurses Day on May 6; Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May.

Read our full post on May Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

June

Photo by Yes Photographers

The month of June, with its sunshine and warmer weather, officially kickoffs Summer.  With people spending more time outdoors during June, photographers are provided with ample opportunity to create fun stock photos. The gorgeous weather in June provides a sunny and colorful backdrop for Pride parades and festivities. June, recognized for Father’s Day celebrations, presents numerous chances to capture images of families, fathers and children spending quality time together.

Photograph (L) by Jacob Lund Photography // Photo (R) by Jacob Lund Photography

Photo by Avel Shah

Photo (L) by Jacob Lund Photography // Photo (R) by Jacob Lund Photography

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for June include:

Great Outdoors Month; Adopt a Cat Month; World Environment Day on June 5th; Juneteenth, a holiday on June 19th commemorating the end of slavery in the United States; World Oceans Day on June 8th; Eid al-Adha falls on June 16th; Summer Solstice is on June 20th in 2024; and the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on June 22nd. June 21st holds 3 major days around the world: National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, International Yoga Day, and World Music Day.

Read our full post on June Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

July

Photo by Zamurovic Brothers

July is a dynamic, exciting month that offers an abundance of subjects and themes that inspire capturing delightful stock photos. July is a great month to engage in Summer Activities such as hiking, days at the beach, and going on road trips to National Parks. Cherries, corn on the cob, and grilled foods are often synonymous with Summer Foods — and the best thing about photographing food is that you get to eat it afterward!  July is also a month with multiple Patriotic Celebrations around the world that celebrate with fireworks, parades, and gatherings of families and friends. 

Photo by Yes Photographers

Public Domain photo (L) from Yellowstone National Park // Photo (R) by Jacob Lund Photography

Public Domain photo by Carol M. Highsmith

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for July include:

Disability Pride month; Picnic Month and National Grilling Month; Clean Beaches Week July 1 -7; Shark Week from July 21st – 28th; National Kitten Day on July 10th; International Kissing Day on July 6th;  Ice Cream Day on July 16th; World Emoji Day on July 17th and International Day of Friendship on July 30th.

Read our full post on July Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

August

Photo by Oleksandr Latkun

August offers numerous opportunities to capture vibrant stock images. The excitement and anticipation of a new school year begins as many students return Back to School after the summer break. This theme is illustrated with stock photos of kids with backpacks, school supplies, and classrooms. August is also National Wellness Month, which promotes healthy living by focusing on physical, mental, and emotional well-being with an emphasis on self-care. National Dog Month is observed in the United States every August, dedicated to recognizing the importance of dogs in our lives and raising awareness about responsible dog ownership. 

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Photo (L) by Yes Photographers // Photo (R) by Artem Varnitsin

Photo by Stefy Gutovska

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for August include:

National Peach Month; National Watermelon Day on August 3rd; National Avocado Day on August 7th; International Cat Day on August 8th ; Women’s Equality Day on the 26th; World Photography Day on August 19th; Women’s Equality Day on the 26th and last but not least, on August 15th, we celebrate National Relaxation Day.

Read our full post on August Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

September

Photo by Anna Ivanova

The month of September heralds the Start of Autumn which is the gateway to the fall holidays. September provides an opportunity to create beautiful stock photos that celebrate the changing of the season and cooler days. Images of cozy soups, sweaters, and tea immediately bring to mind the new season. September is also Back to School for students and teachers who return to the classroom after Labor Day. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th and runs through October 15th.

Photo (L) from Scopio // Photo (R) from Scopio

Photo by Stefy Gutovska

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Noun Project has curated a photo collection celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America with historical images from GPA, US National Archives, NASA, Library of Congress along with contemporary photos celebrating Hispanic culture and leadership.

Des Moines, Iowa, USA – September 26, 2015: An Aztec heritage dancer wears traditional regalia from Department of Defense News

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for September include:

September’s major themes, dates and observances include National Suicide Prevention Month; National Fruit & Veggies Month; National Waffle Week from September 3rd – 9th; National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week from September 15th – 19th; Labor Day on the first Monday of the month; Cheese Pizza Day on September 5th; Mexican Independence Day on September 16th; and Mid-Autum Festival, celebrated in many Asian countries on September 17th.

Read our full post on September Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

October

Photo by Alina Kho

The month of October offers countless possibilities for capturing fun and creative stock photos. The major theme of October is Autumn, with the changing colors of leaves, fall harvest, hearty soups, and cozy sweaters. And of course, the major holiday in October is Halloween on October 31st! Images of people in Halloween costumes is a festive choice for stock photos for October. October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to honor the contributions of people with disabilities to our country and to recommit to eliminating barriers in employment.

Photo (L) by Jacob Lund Photography // Photo (R) by Manu Reyes

Photo by Marko Subotin

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for October include:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Hispanic Heritage Month, which concludes on October 15th; Oktoberfest; National Pizza and Pasta Month; International Coffee Day on October 1st; Rosh Hashanah falling on October 2nd through October 4th in 2024; Yom Kippur on October 11th, 2024; National Taco Day on October 4th; World Teachers’ Day on October 5th; World Mental Health Day on October 10th and Indigenous Peoples’ Day (USA) on October 12th.

Read our full post on October Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

November

Photo by Anna Ivanova

With the holiday season upon us and the cooler weather of autumn in full swing, November provides a multitude of opportunities to make festive stock photos. Major themes and holidays in November to inspire photo sessions for stock photos are Feasts, Food and Family with gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving. Native American Heritage Month, observed in November, is a time to honor the culture and contributions of Indigenous people in the US. In prep for the December holidays in which many people buy presents for friends an loved ones, Holiday Shopping is a major theme for the month of November.

Photo by Yes Photographers

Photo (L) by Suzanne Strong // Photo (R) by Suzanne Strong

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for November include:

Movember: an annual event involving the growing of mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues; World Vegan Month; Gratitude Month; National Children’s Book Week during the second week of November; Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd; Diwali on November 1st; World Sandwich Day on November 3; Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th; the General Election in the United States is on Tuesday, November 5th; and Veteran’s Day in the US on November 11th.

Read our full post on November Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.

December

Photo by Alina Kho

The month of December, with its wintry weather and major seasonal holidays, provides an abundance of opportunities to create fun and festive stock photos. Frosty landscapes, snow-covered trees, and outdoor winter activities inspire a Winter Wonderland theme for December. Across the globe, many cultures and countries celebrate important Festive Holidays & Traditions in December, including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. Diwali, a celebration of light in India, is often referenced with other other winter holidays but falls on November 1st in 2024.

Photo from Scopio

Photo (L) by Diliaria Garifullina // Photo (R) from Scopio

Photo (L) from Scopio // Photo (R) from Scopio

Photo by Zamurovic Brothers

Other significant themes, dates, and observances to inspire your stock photos for December include:

World AIDS Awareness Month; Tropical Fruits Month; National Pie Day on December 1st; National Cookie Day on December 4th; National Llama Day on December 9th; St. Lucia Day on December 13th celebrated in Scandinavia; Las Posadas celebrated in Mexico from December 16th – December 24th; National Ugly Sweater Day on December 17th; Festivus on December 23rd and Boxing Day on December 26th. 

Read our full post on December Photo Shoot Planning for more inspiration.


Interested in joining our community of photographers and contributing to Noun Project? Submit your photos and explore our guide to creating authentic, inclusive images.

Click here to download FREE photo shoot production document templates.

Plan your photo shoots out for the year with our free monthly photo shoot guide.

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Suzanne Strong
Suzanne Strong

VP of Content & Creators at Noun Project and Photographer

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