The Art of Biotech Stock Photography

Expert Tips for Finding and Using Awesome Images

Are you struggling to find the perfect biotech stock photography for your website? Confused about which types of images every biotech needs? Or maybe you’d just like to know which stock photo companies – out of all the options on the internet – a biotech pro web designer recommends?

Don’t worry. We’ve got the answers.

And we know finding the perfect stock image can be a daunting task – especially when it comes to highly specialized niches like biotechnology – but we’re here to share expert tips and tricks. After reading this post, you’ll be all set to discover and utilize stunning biotech stock photography that’ll accurately represent the complex nature of your novel science.

What’s Your Personality?

First things first.

Do you even know the personality of your biotech? You really need to know who you are before you start running around to different stock photo libraries and grabbing images willy-nilly.

In a nutshell, there are four main styles (or personality types) of biotechs:

  • Idealist
  • Realist
  • Thinker
  • Dreamer

If you don’t know which type best describes you, you have a look at this [Four Popular Biotech Photo Styles: Which One is Right for Your Starup?]

Once you have a handle on your biotech’s or biopharma’s personality, it’s easier to select stock photos because you’ll understand why you’re drawn to particular images.

Biotech Stock Photography Types

Next up, it’s time to get a handle on the four types of images every biotech needs.

Stock Photos

We’ve all seen the ubiquitous scientist looking into a microscope or holding a beaker of colored liquid.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. I think they’re funny, too.

But even these generic images serve an important role: They signal to site visitors – in a few milliseconds – that you are a biotech. So, where it’d be ideal to have custom photos, stock photos are often the best option simply because they’re unbeatable in terms of cost, speed and convenience.

So, if you’re looking to bulk out a basic library of stock photos for your biotech, try grabbing a few from the following sub-types:

  • laboratory (with or without scientists)
  • equipment
  • microscopic cells
  • people (non-scientists)
  • cityscape (i.e., San Francisco or Boston)

Eventually you’ll want to extend your library with custom photos. With the advent of high resolution smart phones, you’d be surprised at how someone on your team may be able to grab some aweseome images for your biopharma.

Heya, if you’re thinking of doing some DIY pics, we’ve got another resource for ya [DIY photos for your biotech]

3D Models

Nothing really captures your science like beautiful three-dimensional molecular models. 3D models are a critical biotech stock photography type because they instantly illustrate your specific niche.

You’d think 3D models would only be available as custom illustrations, but you’d be surprised at the variety available as stock photos:

  • antibodies
  • ligands
  • viruses
  • CAR-T cells
  • and many more


Sometimes referred to as cartoons by scientists, illustrations explain your science. And when it comes to websites, it’s very common to use line drawings or free-flowing sketches to add an artistic vibe. And almost all stock photo libraries have stock illustrations available, too.

One example is to use illustrations for a hotspot. [SonoThera woman body illustration] The human body shown here is simply a continuous line that animates, followed by each of the organs fading in sequence. The user can then hover over each organ to activate a popup and read a brief bit of information.


Skilled designers know that patterns add a layer of graphic expression to keep a site from feeling too sterile.

One clever trick is to reinforce a shape used in your brand. Let’s say you have a logo that is a hexagon shape, you could then find a stock image of a hexagon pattern and use it in your layouts to subtly reinforce your brand. You can read more about [using shapes in biotech brand]


And let’s not forget about icons! Stock photo sites also carry lots of science icon sets. You may need an illustrator to help you recolor or customize a few, but it’s a very inexpensive way to add a unique style to your brand.

My favorite set is FontAwesome. They have 9,000+ icons for $99/yr. (and a free option of 1,200+ icons!)

Where to Buy Biotech Stock Photography

Stock images are fantastic for four reasons – they are:

  1. high-quality
  2. wide selection
  3. low cost
  4. royalty-free

And the last point is important. Royalty-Free means your biotech has the right to them in a variety of places, most commonly your website, pitch decks and social media (note: be sure to read the fine print before you download any stock images to be sure you understand their terms).

I want to make one thing abundantly clear: only use images you know you have the rights to.

WARNING: do not use images you download from Google (or anywhere other than a stock photo library). More often than not it is illegal to use images you download from the web. Be safe and always purchase the images you use to promote your biotech or biopharma.

Here is the list of my Top Five online stock photo libraries:


Shutterstock is one of the biggest stock photo libraries on the web with 400+ million photos, videos and illustrations. They are my ‘go to’ resource for biotech stock photography simply because of the breadth and quality of their images. There are several plans available, but I chose the all-inclusive 25 credits/mo., paid annually. This allows me to have tons of images or a few videos. It may be overkill for you and they have smaller plans with PAYG, but I share it b/c I’m always surprised how they seem to have the most obscure images, which is great for my biopharma clients.

Other notable options: BigStock (see list)


If, after searching Shutterstock for a specific image, you come up empty, there’s a good chance SciencePhotoLibrary will have what you’re looking for. This biotech stock photography library has an incredible amount of scientific imagery, but do note they are often much more expensive.

If you’re still unable to find what you’re looking for, you can always get custom 3D model of your novel science.


At about $1 each, DepositPhotos offers a great selection of biotech stock photograhy and illustrations. They’re a great source if you need images for your blog or social media posts.

I typically get the On-Demand plan of 100 photos which gives me a year to burn through my allotment of 100 photos/illustrations.


But what about free stock photos?

For me, I use free libraries like Unsplash or Pexels primarily because they look less “stock.” The photos are more often unposed and the lighting is natural.

And, yeah, they’re free to download and use on your website, so who doesn’t love that?

There are tons of stock photo libraries online. You’re welcome to Google it yourself, or download my List of Top 30 Free and Paid stock libraries for biotech and Biopharma.

Pro Tips

Here are some tips on how to select or use biotech stock photography on your website:

  • When searching for that perfect image, use a shotgun approach. Download a ton of potential images and try them in a test page, whittle it down to a few “favs.” If you still don’t have the perfect image, look for images similar to your “favs” on other stock image sites.
  • Understand it’s sometimes impossible to find the perfect image. Just reframe your mindset to finding the best possible image “for now”. You can always hire a photographer for a custom shoot somewhere down the road.
  • Don’t be a chicken. Try zooming in on a stock photo. Blow it up to make it extremely large. Or crop off the edges. This does two things: it shows off the beauty of an image and also creates impact.
  • When using photos of people, make sure you do not crop out the hands or the eyes. The hands and the eyes are what people instantly look for in a photo, so avoid cropping them out.
  • If pages on your website have “hero” images at the top, be sure to look for images that can be cropped into a wide landscape format. Note: it’s often easiest to look for images without people and instead use landscapes, molecules or patterns.


You get it. There are many ways to use stock photos on your biotech site. But what’s important is you choose images and sources that are right for you. Pick the biotech stock photography libraries that meet your budget and fit your personality.

And always remember: stock photos are placeholders and are just the first step in showing the story of your biotech – as your biotech grows, you’re going to be generating real photos or custom 3D models of your science.


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