Modern-day consumers are sophisticated sorts and they are no longer willing to have their world views confined to narrow, visual definitions of femininity or masculinity. Consumers don’t just want to see a young model. They want to see broader representations across the media.


Getty Image trends support this view. In 2016, people buying stock shots from Getty Images are looking for what the stock photo agency terms “outsider in” and “extended human” pics. Pictures of mature female models are selling strongly in the UK, for example, and in China the best-selling image is a female engineer working on a robot.

Brands, businesses, bloggers, the media – realise shots of women need to be more than highly sexualised or showing them in ancillary roles.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, encouraged female empowerment through her 2013 book Lean In. Her work has coincided with imagery trends. Getty Image’s Lean In collection focuses on diverse female imagery. As Sandberg puts it, “you can’t be what you can’t see”.

As a mature modelling agency, we welcome this shift. We don’t see it as a “trend”, but as a reflection of reality. Life expectancy has increased, and so has health span. People over 30 are buying more clothes and skin cream, travelling, taking up new hobbies and more. They don’t want to be patronised by advertising imagery that uses a young model.

Successful campaigns need to bear this in mind if they are to keep up.