Stock Photo Shoot Planning for January

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Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Welcome to our monthly photo shoot planning guide where we share themes, special dates and suggested tags to help guide you in creating and preparing your stock images for submission to Noun Project.  

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. 

Use these themes as suggestions and expand with your ideas on what types of photos best say “January!” and let these amazing images from Noun Project help inspire creative direction in your photo sessions.

Photo by Alia Youseff

New Beginnings 

The start of a new year is often seen as a symbolic moment for new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a period of reflection, where we look back on the past twelve months, take stock of our achievements and lessons learned, and set our sights on the year ahead. A new year is a pivotal time for setting goals which are both meaningful and attainable. The month of January inspires people to make resolutions focusing on themes such as self-improvement, personal growth, and health and fitness.

Creating stock photos of people exercising, meditating, journaling, eating healthy foods, spending time with loved ones, or learning a new hobby is a great way to demonstrate the energy of a new year. 

Photo by Javier Sanchez Mignorance

Photo (L) by Javier Sanchez Mignorance // Photo (R) by Jacob Lund Photography

Photo by Jacob Lund Photography

Photo from Scopio

Photo (L) by Paulo Sousa // Photo (R) by Javier Pardina

You don’t need models or people to create fantastic stock photos that represent the theme of New Beginnings. For stock images without people to illustrate the concept of health goals for the new year, consider photographing still-life and flat lay images of healthy meals, fruit smoothies, or exercise equipment. Keep in mind that photos with copy space are highly valued by Noun Project customers, so always make sure to leave some room in some of your photos to help fill this need.

Choosing bright colors help inspire excitement and optimism for a new year.

Photo by Alina Kho

Try your hand at food photography with healthy meals to represent the concept of New Beginnings. One of the best things about photographing food is that you get to eat it afterward!

Photo (L) by Anna Ivanona // Photo (R) by Diliara Garifullina

Stock photos of healthy drinks such as smoothies, water and detox tea are symbolic of the wellness choices many people make in January.

Photo by Yes Photographers

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

Ideas for creating stock photos without people that reflect new hobbies or habits for the new year are flat-lay images of a journal for reflection and goal setting, a paintbrush, or images of a camera to reflect someone learning art or photography.

Photo by Denis Kuvaiev

Photo (L) by Stefy Gutovska // Photo (R) by Zamurovic Brothers

Suggested tags: January, New Year, resolution, healthy food, exercise, health, fitness, hobby

Winter Landscapes

Capturing the serene beauty of winter landscapes presents a unique and timely opportunity for stock photography, especially during January when many places around the globe are blanketed in snow.

Photo by Iceman Photos

Cloudy weather and overcast skies act as a natural filter, enhancing the vibrancy of colors. Look for bright colors that stand out against the white backdrop, such as red berries or people in bright clothing, to add compelling contrast and interest to your photos. 

Photo (L) by Elena Vanengeim // Photo (R) by Denis Kuvaiev

Photo by Igor

Winter landscapes offer a wealth of fine details for beautiful, serene compositions for stock photos. Look for the delicate structure of frost, the intricate patterns of ice, or the way snow transforms everyday objects. Using a macro lens can bring smaller subjects into focus, offering a fresh perspective on the winter world.

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

Capturing winter wildlife for stock photos can be tricky, but is worth the satisfaction of a great shot! Patience and preparation are key as you wait for the perfect moment to hit the shutter. To respect the animals by keeping a safe distance, it’s important to use a telephoto lens, such as a 70-300mm or a 100-400mm for a zoom lens. Prime lenses with focal lengths such as 300mm or longer, such as a 600mm, are fantastic for wildlife photography.

Photo from Scopio

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

Public Domain photo from Yellowstone National Park

Suggested tags: winter, snow, January, wildlife, frost, landscape

More inspiration

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

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. 

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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