Just Say No to Stock Photography

stock photography

We understand — stock photos are easy to add to your visual content. And, in some cases, they are free! Easy and free. It doesn’t get any better, does it?

But you can do better — better for your brand and for your visual content.

Humans are visual creatures. We like pictures. Pictures are easy and more efficient than reading. In his book, Brain Rules, John Medina states that if we hear a piece of information, we will only remember 10 percent of it three days later. Add a picture, and we will remember 65 percent of it three days later.

So, yes, having photos in your visual content is a must. We encourage you to make the investment in a photographer, and get away from the all-too-easy and common stock photographs for the following reasons:

  • Stock photos are generic. They are not taken with your needs and end goal in mind. They cannot represent the uniqueness of your brand. Stock photos cannot express the flavor that makes you different from your competitors.
  • Stock photos are of models — not real people within your organization. A Nielsen Norman Group eye-tracking study, which used real employees proved, “The key point is that these are real people who actually work at the company. In contrast, users ignore stock photos of generic people.” And, usually, these not-real-looking people are doing things not really done in your company. Why not take this opportunity to visually show your company as opposed to tell people about your company? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
  • Because there are so many stock photos available, they are being overused. People can now easily recognize stock photos on websites and within other content. Do you really want your photos to appear on your competitors’ websites? That has happened, according to CXL, an optimization and digital analytics company. They cite the “Everywhere Girl” whose stock photo has been used so many times on the web that there are online communities dedicated to reporting sightings of her photos on the web. Do you really want your company on this list?
  • Stock photographs can be expensive in terms of time and energy spent. For example, CXL found an anecdote about a “designer who spent 15 hours searching for the perfect image of a bowl of strawberries, only to remember that his smart-phone took amazing photos & the grocery store was right across the street.” Sometimes, the answer is as simple as the phone at the end of your fingertips!

Your visual content is not the place for stock photos. We challenge you to be creative in your choice of images and how you visually represent your brand online. And, don’t forget, we can help!