Search Terms That Will Help You Get Authentic Imagery

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In this age of fake news and Photoshopped celebrities, consumers are drawn to content that affirms their lives, beliefs, and struggles. Authentic content isn’t staged—it’s diverse, it expresses an opinion, it’s transparent, and it doesn’t hide behind idealized notions like the perfect moment. Here are some tips to help you find visuals—photography, video, illustration, and other artwork—to make your content feel more authentic.


Authenticity Is Diverse

Diversity is key to cultivating authenticity. It comes in many forms, and the challenge to using diversity effectively is making it feel natural rather than staged or tokenistic. Search terms like diverse friends and diverse coworkers touch on diversity and the reality of interpersonal relationships to generate images that feel more authentic.

Current expectations about diversity go far beyond race and traditional notions of gender. Searches for body positivity have increased 478% since last year. Search terms like real peoplereal body type, and real skin can help you source images that feature people like the ones you see every day—skin issues, imperfect teeth, different sizes, or even just worn down by daily stress. In fact, unretouched photos is one of the fastest-growing search terms on iStock.

In addition, different ages, expressions of gender, and abilities also go beyond the cliché and can deliver instant authenticity. Search terms such as gender fluidtrans communitymature businesswoman, and disability pride are great terms to help incorporate more diversity.


Authenticity Takes a Stand

Changes in lifestyles and cultural norms are shaking up society. This can be sticky territory for brands, but consumers still expect them to have an opinion. If you’re not sure where your brand stands on certain issues, figure it out, then use that perspective to find visuals that promote your point of view. Once you know what you want to say, search terms such as participating in activities that make a differenceblack lives matternatural living, and self-isolation—all emotional, hot button issues—deliver a wide variety of unique visual viewpoints. Two of our expertly curated search terms, same-sex family and empowering girls in school can be used to deliver authentic-looking results for a number of popular needs.


Authenticity Is Built on Credibility

Just as importantly as diversity and taking a stand, authentic imagery also reflects the often mundane but universally relatable details of day-to-day life. Working at home and virtual meeting are timely topics if you’re creating content about careers or work/life balance. Two of our expertly curated search terms—smartphone addiction and video call with family produce a range of authentic images that we all can find relatable.

iStock search uses natural language to let you tap into an unparalleled library of imagery. In your search for authenticity, start with terms that feel unique to your need, then mix it up or go broader. And if it’s a little inspiration you need, check out some of the curated boards our expert curators have put together to kickstart your brand’s unique approach.


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