6 Reasons Why a Generic Stock Photo Doesn’t Work for Your Website

Why You Shouldn't Use Stock Photography

Many years ago, I worked as a sales agent for a photography agency. One of my responsibilities was building our stock image library. Then people who call in, ask how much it would be to use the image and get paid. My boss would call it “easy money” because there were no production costs involved.

Unfortunately, it’s also the “easy way out” for clients who want to rebuild their website. Although images are good to have for any site, stock images aren’t always the answer. Here are 6 reason why a generic stock photo will make your website look bad:

  1. It’s not the first time I have seen this image. Because I was in the photography business and read a lot of editorial stuff, chances are that I have seen that image before it landed on your website. I remember a graphic designer was working on a client’s website when I saw him pick a stock photo. I asked him, “You’re not going to use that image, right?” He said yes and asked why. I said, “I’ve seen this photo in Women’s Health.” This brings me to number 2.
  2. Stock images won’t connect your audience with your brand. When I see an image, I think of something right away. If it’s not your product, service or business then chances are that the photo has been used and I immediately think of something else.
  3. Doesn’t make you look authentic. People sitting at a conference table with a white background smiling while having a conversation just looks staged, which is what a stock photo is suppose to look like.  Take pictures of your actual work place and co-workers. It’s more intimate and real.
  4. Too many stock photos look suspicious. Ever come across a website that just doesn’t seem right. Does it look like a scam? Not a “real” company? You may be right. Take a second look and check out the images. Do they look like real people from the company? Does it look like they are trying to “hide” something?
  5. Not a good use of your budget. I’m sure you will be able to find a stock photo for free or at least a small fee. However, buying inexpensive or royalty free photography isn’t the best way to spend your time or money especially when others are using it as well. Use your money on custom photography that will make you look professional and genuine.
  6. Your competitor is using it, too. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first but think about it. If your competitor has been around longer, then chances are that those very same images are being used for marketing materials like brochures, letterheads, envelopes, etc. Then you will look like the copycat.

What are your thoughts on using stock photos?

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