If you talk to anyone working in Marketing/Communication or Advertising about “stock photography”, chances are you will get a frown.

  • Stock photography used to be cheesy.

We’re talking about the pictures of business men in suits that was supposed to say “we’re serious professionals”. Stay away from stereotypes and cliches, as much as possible. Show the real faces of your team, catch a video of them working or talking about what they do if you can.

  • You need visuals.

Whether you’re doing digital communication, billboards or prints you need visuals. It is all the more important for social media where you’re competing to catch the attention of users. Stock photography is better than no visuals at all.

  • The quality of your visuals speaks of the quality of your products or services.

Crappy pictures make you look crappy. Nowadays you’re able to take good pictures and videos with a good smartphones. And you can edit them right on your phone as well. But it requires some skills. Quality, high-def stock photography is better than crappy pictures. 

  • What will sell is what makes you unique, so you need unique visuals.

Many small companies use stock photography on their websites, and often it came in a package with their out-of-the-box, ready-to-use websites. As a result they look all the same. If you want to differentiate yourself from your competition be different in your choice of visuals. You don’t have to show a green smoothie on every page of your website because you work in health and wellness. Maybe you’re all about muscle-building protein shakes, or eating raw, or family cooking together. You want difference and coherence so pick your angle.

  • Find a balance between real authentic pictures and stock photography.

Stock photography can be great to provide inspiration, or illustrate something more abstract in your corporate communication. But you need to ground your communication in the real life of your business – the people working for you and the clients you serve. Curating content from your team members and your clients is a great way to add a dose of authenticity.

  • Transform them.

To blend stock photography into your communication, it is best to work on them to align with the overall look and feel of your brand. Use the same colors, or the same graphic element, or the same font. Make them yours.

this is stock photography in the same color pattern we transformed
Should you use stock photography or not?

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