I'm not aware that you can make an image backup but only back up part of the image and not all of it.
The way that I do this is to partition my hard drives and put the data on a separate partition from the programs and OS. Then I can back up each one at different times and frequencies.
Something that you might consider is doing a full image backup of your entire hard drive. Then consider that the programs don't change frequently so you only have to redo the image when you think your program installation has changed significantly. After doing the full image then you can make periodic incremental backups. These don't take as much time or space to make. Then if needed you would restore the image backup then restore the incremental backups.