Stock Photography vs Custom Photos: Do’s & Don’t’s For Using Stock Imagery

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Stock photos are everywhere online and are used widely by both big brands and small brands alike. From marketing campaigns to adding additional content to websites, when stock images are used correctly they can work effectively in helping engage audiences, establishing your message and can be an effective way to pad out your content. 

Despite often being viewed as cheesy or unnecessary, in reality, stock photography isn’t as bad as we’re led to believe, stock photography can be both interesting and compelling. With a little bit of knowledge and understanding about how you should and shouldn’t be using stock photography, you could be making the most of stock imagery in no time.  

Do: Use Images That Compliment Your Brand

As a business owner your image makes a huge impact, meaning the stock photos you use need to matter. If your brand has a particular style then it’s a good idea to find and use images that match this style and communicate the message of your brand, reflecting what you do, what you provide and the tone of your brand as a whole. While it might take longer to find the perfect images to compliment your brand, once you find the perfect images it’ll all be worthwhile.  

Don’t: Use Any Random Generic Image

Your photos matter a great deal which is why you’re allowed to be picky when it comes to your stock photos. Don’t settle for generic photos that don’t represent your brand or don’t reach the quality you really want. There’s nothing wrong with spending the extra time looking for the perfect images for your business, the last thing you want is to be using photos that appear all over other websites, choosing fairly unique photography allows you to avoid this.  

Do: Use Relatable Images

No matter how you’re using your stock photos, it’s important you choose images that really represent and catch the attention of your target audience. By choosing to use relatable stock images you can reach out the audience you’re looking to target, letting them feel like the content was produced just for them and ultimately increasing the chances of the perfect audience for your business reading your content, browsing your website or even purchasing your products.

Don’t: Go Overboard 

Like everything in life there is sometimes too much of a good thing, stock photography is no different, which is why it’s a good idea to try and keep your stock image use to a minimum or at least try not to overdo it. Using too much stock photography can get tedious and it’s entirely possible your audience will get bored of constantly getting shown stock photos. By only posting stock photos one or twice a day in your social media or incorporating it with other forms of media you can avoid getting too over the top.  

Do: Mix In Your Own Content

In order to avoid going too overboard with your stock photography don’t forget to mix in your own content alongside it. By posting your own photos, be it images of your products, your team or even your working area you can break up your content and break up the usage of your stock photography. Using your own content can make your content also appear more relatable and also can work as a way of humanising your brand and your content. 

Don’t: Assume Stock Photography Is Bad

While stock photography does get a bad name, it’s always good to remember that stock imagery isn’t a bad thing. For small businesses and bloggers, stock images offer a number of opportunities that might not be possible due to budgets and funding. It’s simply a matter of doing your own research and working out how you can get stock photos to work for you and your business. 

Despite their reputation and the stigma of businesses using stock photography, stock photos are still an effective way to help increase customer engagement and can work well in boosting your businesses reputation, image and even profits. While you should always aim to include your own images within your business, with the above tips in mind there’s no reason you should be shying away from the benefits of stock images.