Celebrate all things dad and connect with your audience through authentic Father’s Day imagery with tips for selecting the perfect photos and illustrations.

Lifestyle imagery is one of the most popular stock photo categories because of one thing: People! People connect with other people through photos of people. It’s how we can communicate feelings emotions and form connections with audiences.

Father’s Day is a popular holiday for lifestyle imagery, as people look for images of dads to depict how these special figures impact all of our lives differently. While an image of a model in a stock photo isn’t your dad, we can look for the right setting, feeling, and emotional conveyance to capture all the great qualities of Dad, and make you want to smile just looking at it.

Great Father’s Day stock photos can be used far and wide to celebrate the role fathers play in all of our lives. And, since Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide on different days and with different meanings, great Father’s Day stock photos are also diverse, capturing the huge spectrum of dads out there.

Father’s Day has been around for over a century, meaning it has evolved a lot over the years. Images of dads and the role they play in a modern family is probably unimaginable to someone in 1910. But because of this, it’s also easy to mess up your visuals.


Ways to Use Stock Photos for Father’s Day

We’re all looking for Father’s Day images for different reasons. Some of us might want to make a card for our own fathers, while others want to create a more general card template to celebrate dads in their social media following. Speaking of social media, you might be a manger for a big or small brand looking to post a Father’s Day promo on your website. Or maybe you’re sending out an internal email celebrating the dads at your company. If you’re still not sure exactly what you’re going to turn your Father’s Day visuals into, here are some common use cases for Father’s Day stock photos:

  • Greeting cards
  • Ecards
  • Social media posts
  • Online promotions and sales
  • Direct mail promotions and sales
  • Emails and newsletters
  • Website hero images and banners
  • Direct mail

Whether you’re creating something to share digitally or via print materials, a well-curated Father’s Day stock photo can give your creation the authentic and warm look it needs to catch eyes.

Stock photos are your best bet for making any of these materials because they are fully licensed. If you’re using imagery of actual people, you need to be sure you have their permission to use such images. All stock photos come with a model release, meaning the people in the pictures are fine with your using their photo to create your Father’s Day visuals. Another upside is the control you have over the visuals. With millions of images to choose from and advanced search tools at your fingertips, you can find the perfect photo or illustration that will resonate with Dad — any dad, that is!


Father’s Day Stock Photo Ideas

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Father's Day Stock Photo Ideas
Image by Halfpoint.

Of course, once you’ve boiled down where and what medium you want to use these Father’s Day stock photos in, you still have to figure out what it is exactly you’re saying. For many businesses and brands, simply celebrating Father’s Day is enough. After all, if the holiday isn’t too relevant to your product or service, it might be hard to come up with a way to attach meaning to it.

But most modern customers won’t really accept that tactic. A simple “Happy Father’s Day” post needs something behind it to grab some engagement from your audience. Sometimes, this is simple copy that relates back to your brand. Other times, you might go beyond a greeting card sentiment and actually include a Father’s Day promo for the holiday. Here are a few ideas for how you can creatively celebrate the holiday for your users and customers.

  • Father’s Day sales, like 15% off menswear for a clothing brand.
  • Father’s Day specials and promos, like an “All Dads Eat Free!” promotion at a local restaurant.
  • Shout-outs and features, like an HR email shouting out the company’s roster of dads.
  • Father’s Day events, like a community block party.
  • Greeting cards for the dads in your client base.
  • Social media activations, like a giveaway for commenters who tag their favorite dad.

Tips for Finding Father’s Day Stock Photos

If you’re looking on Shutterstock for stock photos of Father Day, you’re going to find millions of images that could work. That’s a lot of dads! To make your searching easier, we’ve compiled some tips to help you search for and pick the best photos.

We know that our users often like to browse our curated collections for inspiration and for a quick way to source imagery. If you want to take this simple route to finding a great picture, check out our Father’s Day image collection. It’s full of hand-picked visuals from all over the world that we think capture the spirit of this holiday.


Capture Diversity

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Capture Diversity
Image by GingerKitten.

I probably don’t need to get any figures from the UN about how many dads there are in the world. They’re everywhere! And that’s the point — dads aren’t native to a certain country or region. Dads don’t come with a certain skin color. Dads aren’t a certain age. Dads don’t have a prescribed sexual orientation. There’s a huge diversity in not only the look of dads everywhere, but also in their experiences. You want to capture this diversity with visuals that speak to the magnitude of dads out there!

We encourage you to look for visuals using our search filters when you’re looking for Father’s Day imagery. With options to looks for a particular age or ethnicity, you can greatly expand the subjects in your models and better represent the diverse array of individuals out there who call themselves Dad.

Age

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Intergenerational Relationships
Image by Creativa Images.

When it comes to age, remember that Father’s Day is celebrated inter-generationally. Sons grow up to become fathers, so while they might be getting a card from their kids, they’re probably also getting a card for their Dad. And, though there is a Grandparents Day in June in the US, this holiday isn’t nearly as popular as Father’s Day. Therefore, Father’s Day is also a chance for grandkids to celebrate their grandfathers! On Shutterstock, you can filter via age, and you can also specify keywords like “young,” middle aged, or senior to find images spanning the generations.

Ethnicity

We’ve curated a diverse collection of dads to capture how the world’s dads truly look. Representation is an important issue when it comes to visuals in the media. We all have the responsibility — and the opportunity — to select photos that represent every Dad, and not just the ones we can identify with individually.

Abilities

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Disability and Fatherhood
Image by Ann Gaysorn.

Lots of stock photos might have you believe that all dads are muscular, tanned young men with beards. Not true (but we see you, fit young bearded dads!). Just as there’s a spectrum of ages, there are also dads of differing abilities, and dads who care for people who are disabled. It’s not just older parents who might be using a walker or wheelchair. Indeed there are many visible and non-visible disabilities you can capture in a photo.

Orientation

You can’t identify a person’s sexual orientation based on how they look. But if you want to reflect society accurately, it’s important to include gay couples in your visuals. Embrace that every family looks different, and there are many dads out there who are parenting with their partner of the same sex.


Redefine What it Means to Be a Dad

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Redefining Fatherhood
Image by Kuznetsov Dmitriy.

We’ve come a long way since 1910, when the US first started celebrating Father’s Day. We’ve come an even longer way since the 15th century, when the Catholic church sanctified it as a religious holiday. And though the idea of the holiday is still intact — to celebrate dads for everything they do — the role of fatherhood has evolved and transformed in numerous ways.

From work life to home life, men are adopting and adapting to new roles in their families. Stay-at-home dads are now commonplace, and divorced parents work on co-parenting their children. And as society continues progressing toward justice and equality for all, parents, and dads specifically, are learning new ways and ideology about parenting.

So, while plenty of dads still enjoy manning the grill, or organizing flag football games in the yard, or fixing the kitchen sink, there are just as many dads who gravitate toward cooking family dinner, doing macaroni crafts, or playing dress up with their kids. Kind of like getting a tie for dad on Father’s Day is a little tired (though some dads still love it), many of the scenes we picture dads in are actually just tropes and stereotypes.

Your imagery will feel fresh and it will connect with younger audiences if you pick images that’s not too on-the-nose. Most dads don’t fall into neat categories.

You can see more great visuals to inspire your search in our article about redefining what it means to be Dad.


Look for Activities

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Fatherhood Activities
Image by asife.

As we mentioned in the last section, dads do a lot — a lot more than traditional Father stereotypes give room for. But sometimes, when you’re searching, you brain goes blank and all you can draw on is the simple keyword “dads.”

Pair it with an activity and you’ll get a much more authentic set of pictures to search within. Even better, if you have have a specific audience or story in mind, this type of search will help you tailor the results to tell that story.

When you search “dad + activity” you get great imagery of father figures with babies, children, teens, or older fathers and sons in authentic lifestyle images.

Here are just a few activities you might search for:

  • Dad + cooking
  • Dad + baking. You can even search for specific food.
  • Dad + sports. Get specific! Try searching for karate, football, gymnastics, basketball, rock climbing, and more.
  • Dad + swimming. Teaching babies and young kids how to swim is the perfect photo moment!
  • Dad + bike riding. The quintessential dad activity!
  • Dad + working. With more Dads working remotely and from home, there are plenty of photographic moments to capture.
  • Dad + hair style
  • Dad + dress up
  • Dad + playing
  • Dad + video games
  • Dad + homework
  • Dad + workout
  • Dad + cleaning

Profile Relationships and Connection

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Profile Relationships and Connection
Image by bbernard.

Technically speaking, the thing that makes a dad is their children. But, take a broader view. Think about the qualities we’re celebrating in a dad. How they care for us, how they provide for us, how they have stepped up to challenges in order to nurture us. When you look at it this way, father figures mean so much more than having offspring. In fact, many people might spend this day celebrating the strong people who helped them grow, or the figures who stepped up in the absence of a biological dad.

If you focus on relationships within families and close circles, you will find great imagery. Whether it’s a dad holding his newborn baby daughter or a father figure cheering on a soccer game, connections to fatherhood will carry powerful weight in your photos.


Try Illustrations

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Try Using Father's Day Illustrations
Image by Andrea-studio.

There’s a whole category of Father’s Day stock photos you might now have considered yet. Illustrations!

If you’re not used to using this medium, you might not be sure how to search to find what you want. The trick is, you don’t really have to change how to search. Just filter for illustrations and/or vectors (to get editable images). All of the rules above apply. You can find it all in illustration format.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to illustrations of people. This format gives you a great chance to play with symbols instead of relying on character design. There’s the usual — a bowtie, a cup of coffee, and a mustache — but in keeping with the theme of this post (that all dads are different) you might want to try symbols related to the love and togetherness of the holiday. Hearts, nature, animals, or food — have fun with the metaphors available in illustrations.

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Try Symbols
Image by Peliken.

Illustrations give you the opportunity to convey emotions and moods that a photo can’t always capture. With more colors to play with and an array of styles, like watercolor, line art, and character illustrations, these hand-made stock images can be seriously charming. These imaginative depictions of father figures give you so much variety to choose from. You can find something playful and quirky, or something sophisticated and minimal.

You’ll get a variety of dads to choose from, plus you get the added benefit of having typography to play with. You might even opt for a simple lettered “Happy Father’s Day” on your social post instead. After all, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple!


How to Design Father’s Day Cards and Other Visuals

Once you’ve got your photo or illustration picked out, you might have to take it a step further by designing the visual in question. Whether you’re making a card to share in person or online, a cover image for your Facebook business page, or a pop-up promotion to share on your website, there are a few simple additions you can make to your image to make it a dynamic Father’s Day visual.

These are a few ways to tie together your project and finalize the visual. You can make all of these design tweaks in Shutterstock Editor — simply click Edit this Image when you find the image you like. Shutterstock Editor has all the tools you need, including text, shapes, cropping, and more to complete your vision.

In this guide to creating the perfect Father’s Day card, we walk through how to create a custom Father’s Day card in Shutterstock Editor.


Typography

Simply adding “Happy Father’s Day!” to a photo in a friendly hand-lettered script will completely change the tone of the visual. When you’re selecting the right typography to use on your image, think about how the style impacts the message. If you’re going for a cheerful feel, try a bouncy sans serif like Boogaloo, seen in the design below. Handwritten fonts are also super popular for Father’s Day since they mimic the personal feel of hand-lettering. Check out our list of the best free handwriting fonts to pick your favorite.

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Typography for Father's Day
Image via miniwide.

You might be using Father’s Day stock photos for something a bit more sophisticated, like a holiday promotion for your brand. In this case, pick a font that feels elegant and simple. It’s tempting to try curly script font, but if you do make sure the size is large enough for someone to read on a small screen.

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Conveying Tone Through Typography
Image via LightField Studios.

Check out our roundup of free fonts to find the right style for your design.


Color Schemes

Sticking to a color scheme is an easy way to make a design look seamless and purposeful. You can coordinate the text to match elements of the picture, or create a border that speaks to colors in the image.

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Stick to a Color Scheme

Check out 101 custom-made color combinations for inspiration (and HEX codes!).


Or use a free Father’s Day card template!

If you’re in a rush, or you don’t trust your own design skills, we have a bunch of free Father’s Day card templates you can print or share online. We’re calling them cards, but these typography-driven templates can work anywhere you want to celebrate the day, including social media posts.

Tips for Finding Great Stock Photos for Father's Day — Use a Father's Day Card Template
A selection from the free Father’s Day cards pack.

Discover more tips for curating great visuals: