Your brain is visual, it’s much faster at reading images than it’ll ever be reading and processing text, which is why images are so important for your website or blog. While you might have the most engaging, fun and informative copy out there if it doesn’t include images then you can find less people reading through your content than you might expect.
For many small businesses and bloggers there’s very little time and budget for professional photographers to take a photo for all your content, which is where stock photography comes in useful. Although not the most original content out there if you’re looking for a way to spice up your content with high quality imagery, stock photography is a useful tool until you can hire professional photographers.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography is basically photography that has been taken by photographers across the world with no brief or assignment and can be of pretty much anything you can imagine. These images are then submitted to a stock website, who then sell the images for a flat fee or for a price based on usage.
Available across the world, to anyone who wants to pay for it stock photography is relatively popular for adding content to blogs, websites and even in some cases social media content. Because of it’s availability, stock photography isn’t original, can be slightly cliche and have been overdone to the point where they don’t look good anymore, however there is hope, here’s some key do’s and don’ts for using stock photography.
Don’t pick just anything
It might be easy to search for a word and choose the first image which happens to show up, however this doesn’t always lead to the best choice of image. You shouldn’t just pick any image because it’s fits your keyword, instead you should look carefully for an image that not only suits what you’re writing about but also one which matches the theme or style of your writing, your blog or your website.
If your image looks odd or doesn’t seem to fit with your writing then it’s because it’s the wrong image for your text and if your images fail to match your text, then it’s likely that your readers will get confused or won’t understand the message of the content.
Do get the tone right
Some stock photos are serious, others more fun and light-hearted, as with any image, they all have a tone, so it’s important you choose an image that matches the tone of your writing. If you’re writing a serious, informative piece of content then you should stick to images with a serious tone and if you’re writing something more fun, choose something jokey and light.
People are going to look at your images first to get a general idea of what they article or text is about and to decide whether or not they want to read the rest of the text, your images has a lot of significance, make sure you’re choosing the right one.
Don’t choose irrelevant images
Although it may sound obvious, be sure to include only relevant images with your content. It doesn’t matter how much you like an image if it doesn’t match your content, your keywords or your topic, then don’t use the photo. An irrelevant image can distract potential reader or can play a part in influencing if they want to read your content.
Whilst you can find images that only have a small link or can be interpreted as being relevant to your content, try not to stray too far away from your original topic when looking for images as it can cause confusion.
Do get creative
Stock photos are used by everyone so it’s a good idea to try and make your stock image look slightly different to others in order to make it stand out from others. Through cropping your images a certain way, making colour or tone adjustments through Photoshop or even adding a filter you can make your images stand out despite being used by many others.
Be sure if you are going to edit or crop your images that your stock photography website allows this, you don't want to find yourself breaching the rules and losing access to your stock photos.
Don’t go for these
If there’s any type of stock photography to avoid using it’s any of the below images, not only are they the most common types of images but they’re also the most overdone and probably the most cliche, so avoid them where you can!
Using stock photography doesn’t need to be difficult, nor does it need to be cheesy and predictable, when it comes to stock photos you need to find the images that suit your business or your website, find your own theme or a consistent style for your images and you’ll be using stock photography effectively in no time.