Bad Stock Photography

Are You Overusing Stock Photography?

Looking for a stock photo? There is an abundance of stock imagery on the web to cover ANY category. Sales growth? How about a line graph with a big, red upward arrow? Company challenges? How about a suited middle-aged man frowning and scratching his head? 

You name it, there will be hundreds of options to choose from whether you use paid stock imagery providers or royalty free. They’re just a click away in a perfect web format to enhance that blog post. 

But wait!

Really have a think about that image before you post it – is it truly reflective of your point or are you just sticking it into the page because “It’ll do.” Take a look at our considerations below before embedding that image. 

Does it obviously looks like a stock photo?

Have a good, hard look at the image you’re about to publish? Do the people in that smiley boardroom look like they work at your office? Is everyone that attractive and wear crisp white shirts to work everyday? If you googled “stockphoto team meeting” would hundreds of almost identical results pop up? 

When it obviously looks like a stock photo, then people are going to either:

a) Roll their eyes at the cheesy imagery accompanying your article

b) Skim right past it (Yes! People really do this. A study by Nielsen Norman Group reported that “Users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up” web pages”

If it looks obvious – lets consider another option.

Customers would rather see the humans behind your brand

Does your business rely on customer trust to do business? It’s worth putting yourself in their shoes when reviewing your website. Would you trust a financial services firm if there wasn’t a single headshot of the team on the site? A headshot stands for accountability. Customers would be wary of a leader not showing their face on their own site. What else is hiding behind the scenes? 

Showing your team by means of headshots or some good quality “a day in the life of us” imagery can really make your brand stand out. Consider approaching lifestyle photographers who usually do family shoots – you may find they are a lot cheaper than corporate photographers and they can capture a more human side to your business. 

Is it needed? 

Most SEO plugins will encourage you to include an image in your text to help break down the article. This is where many content marketers will head to the stock photo site and embed a generic corporate image. 

Put  some thought into why you need an image. When writing about “attracting new customers” why not use some analogies from the animal kingdom to make the article seem more interesting. If you use some topical imagery, include a caption so people can learn about what you have posted. 

When there isn’t an image that can really make a significant point in your text, consider an infographic to re-illustrate the key points in your article. These are also great for social media or digital PR to generate more traffic to your site. 

A bit of love for stock photo sites…

We are not hating on stock photography by the way! In fact, most stock imagery providers now have such a diverse range of images, you get so much more choice for your money. Team meetings are no longer smiley, crisp white shirt wearing millennials with perfect teeth. You can now find people dressed more casually in lower lighting that could imitate a real office (check out the one used on our Services Page).

There’s no reason a carefully curated stock photo library can’t be used to enhance your website. We just encourage you to consider the points above and lose the cheese!

Visit our shop!