Stock Images vs. Original Photography

 
Shawn Barker doing small town things.

Shawn Barker doing small town things.

 

We all know plugging a stock image into a landing page design is easy. You can acquire your images at the click of a button and if you do not have a large budget, this option is totally affordable. Stock images are convenient, efficient and cost-effective, but what are the repercussions? Whether you want to believe it or not, the images on your website say a lot about your brand and your company. Here are a few problems with using stock images and our solutions around them:

1) They do not support your brand

Here at Design4Change, we’re all about emotional branding. We believe that once you identify a brand archetype, you have to carefully carry that brand through everything you do, down to the last image. Capturing your company’s story and personality can be extremely difficult using stock images because they’re created to be generic. They struggle to bring brands to life.

Solution: Capture candid shots of your team, your office and your products. This helps customers get to know your company and effectively communicates your brand tone, voice and look/feel. If original photography is not feasible for you right now, take your time searching for the right stock images. While this can take hours, the time you invest into acquiring your photos will speak for itself.

2) They show little effort

Most people can identify stock images, and it does not look good for your brand. Stock images are an easy way out. They are a shortcut. Its almost as if you are putting a big sign on your landing page that says “Hey, we did not have time to properly design this page so we used a stock image to finish it quickly”. There are definitely better signs you could have on your landing page, right?

Solution: Invest in a photography session and think of it as an investment . The upfront costs might be high, but you can get enough to last for years. There are two types of photos you’ll want to Get: Perishable and non-perishable. An example of perishable photography includes team pictures because teams can change over time, so these pictures may not always be relevant. A non-perishable picture includes things like computers, equipment or people without their faces showing because they have a longer life span. If investing in a photography session is not an option and you need to use stock images, make sure you do a deep search to ensure it’s not overused.

3) They’re cheesy!

Most stock images are awful. So awful its funny. When I see a website filled with stock images I feel second hand embarrassment for the brand. Here are some of the more laughable stock images I have seen:

 
The “Stressed Out and Do not Know How to Clean a Desk” Pose (Source)

The “Stressed Out and Do not Know How to Clean a Desk” Pose (Source)

 
 
The Classic “Success” Pose (Source)

The Classic “Success” Pose (Source)

 

Solution: Take the power of your brand into your own hands – or frame. Original photography gives you the power to create. You do not have to work around an average stock image, you can create your own. Here at Design4Change, we use original photography for our clients. Resident photographer/videographer Ricky Lam takes beautiful photos with a wide range of subjects. Here are a few photos from D4C’s latest photography field trip.

 
 
ThoughtsEvan ShawComment