Insider Insights: Top Photo Sales

Discover Noun Project's top images that sell to guide your photoshoots and submissions

When planning photoshoots to create stock images, it’s essential to consider who will be purchasing your photos, what types of images they’re looking for, and how they will be used. 

There are two main categories of images that users purchase: images with people and images without people. Read on to learn about the types of photos Noun Project customers are purchasing and downloading across these two categories.

Note: images in this post are among the top-selling photos at Noun Project

Photo by Denis Kuvaiev

Photos With People

At Noun Project, our customers include designers, creative directors, business people, educators and medical professionals. These customers are typically looking for images that feature diverse groups of people and, to date, 69% of the top selling images on our platform include people that have traditionally been underrepresented in media.

Images that include people in settings such as offices, at leisure, and in educational and medical situations are among the most purchased and downloaded.

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

We’ve made it a top priority to curate authentic photos that celebrate diversity and inclusion at Noun Project. 90% of the images in Noun Project’s collection feature people from underrepresented communities, defined here as:

  • People with a disability
  • BIPOC people
  • People in the LGBTQ+ community
  • Women in leadership roles
  • Older people
  • Older women in leadership roles
  • BIPOC people in leadership roles
  • Intersectionality within these groups

Photo (L) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project // Photo (R) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project

Photo (L) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project // Photo (R) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project

Photo by Artem Varnitsin

In our Noun Project Originals image collection, the top selling photos include people from the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC people across genders, people who are Indigenous Central American, Asian women and Black women– many in leadership roles such as CEOs, creatives and medical professionals.  

Photo by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project

Photo (L) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project // Photo (R) by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project

Photo by Suzanne Strong for Noun Project

A large sector of our customer base is made up of educators. Images with diversity in people in school settings are very popular.

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

Educators also value photos that illustrate concepts, flat lays with copy space, and still life photos that represent education and learning.

Photo from Scopio

Photo by AtlasStudio // Photo by Oleksandr Latkun

People who work in business lean toward images with multi-ethnic groups of people or people who are traditionally underrepresented. Photos that illustrate concepts such as “collaboration” as well as technology are popular.

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

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography // Photo from Scopio

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Photos Without People

Images without people are also very popular, representing an average of 26% of Noun Project’s photo library. Top sales and downloads of images without people are images of food and technology, as well as photos that illustrate the concepts such as “success,” “idea” and “money.” Copy space in these images are highly valued.

Photo by Oleksandr Latkun

Photo (L) by Oleksander Latkun // Photo (R) by Oleksander Latkun

Photo by Yes Photographers

Photo (L) from the Zamurovic Brothers // Photo (R) from the Zamurovic Brothers

Photos that feature animals and nature are also images that our customers regularly purchase.

Photo by Stefy Gutovska // Photo by Konstantin Askenov

Photo by W Bulls

Seasonal Images

Seasonal images are popular with our customers. When considering creating images for photo submissions, a good practice is to submit seasonal images several months ahead as many customers purchase images 4-6 weeks ahead of the holiday, which will increase your sales year over year. For example, if you are creating images for winter holidays, a good time to submit photos would be in early October.

Photo by the Zamurovic Brothers

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography // Photo by Oleksandr Latkun

Photo by Anna Ivanova

Use this post as a helpful guide when planning photoshoots with images for submission to Noun Project’s photo collection to increase your sales with stock photos.


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

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Suzanne Strong
Suzanne Strong

VP of Content & Creators at Noun Project and Photographer

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