7 REASONS WHY STOCK PHOTOS ARE BAD FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Photographer capturing professional business portrait at gym in Waunakee, WI

STOCK PHOTOS WILL HURT YOUR BUSINESS. 7 REASONS TO STOP USING THEM NOW.

Stock photography has been around since the 1920s. From business headshots to fine art, the most impactful photographs tell a story.

Fast forward to the present day, stock photos are still widely popular. However, when compared to original photographs they fall short.

Let’s take a look to some of reasons why stock photos are bad for business and why you should never use stock images to represent your brand.


1. STOCK PHOTOS ARE VERY EASY TO SPOT

First and foremost, stock photos aren’t real. And your audience can tell when you’re using them, as people are very good at spotting stock photos easily.

You want to turn your audience into customers or clients. Your audience wants to know what they’re really getting into. You want to gain their trust.

So, why lie to them with generic stock photos?

This leads to another key point.


Original photos have over 35% more engagement than stock photos. Even though original photos often don’t look as nice and polished as stock imagery.

stock images will hurt your brand
Original non-stock photo of business solutions company.

2. STOCK PHOTOS LACK AUTHENTICITY

If you want your audience to connect with your brand or business, be transparent and show original business photos instead of stock images.

It’s been proven, that original photos have over 35% more engagement than stock photos. Even though they often don’t look as nice and polished as stock imagery.

Your audience needs to be able to visualize themselves in some way being part of what they see. And stock photos do a poor job conducting authenticity and reality to viewers.

It’s easy to avoid this issue just by letting the real people in your company represent you in your visual content.


3. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY WON’T TELL YOUR BRAND STORY WELL

Well picked stock photos do OK job conveying some sort of aesthetic or message that can be used in clever and creative ways.

But it is way easier to tell a story with clear, focused imagery that you develop with your photography for your brand needs.

non-stock photos for health care
Original photos for healthcare provider.
original photos for hospital
Example of non-stock photo for hospital.

4. STOCK IMAGES WON’T CREATE CONSISTENT VISUALS ACROSS YOUR BRAND

When developing your brand image, you really need to strive for consistency. When you have custom photography, you can have photos made to fit neatly into your look and aesthetic.

But if you find stock photos that tell your message, what are the chances that they all have a continent aesthetic or theme or quality.

This makes your company’s website and brand look unplanned and inconsistent.


5. STOCK IMAGES ARE NEITHER UNIQUE NOR EXCLUSIVE

Stock photos are not unique in that each one has many of counterparts very similar one another.

Even if you do find a stand-out image, you must remember, that it is accessible to anyone else looking for stock photos. In fact, the supplier and creator of that image want as many people as possible to buy and license their stock photos.

So, if you choose to go down the stock photo route, don’t be surprised when your competition is using near-identical or the same images as you are.

original photo of attorneys working on criminal case
Original non-stock photo of attorneys with their assistants.

With Google pushing for better user experience and better search quality, it’s important to realize, that stock photos can affect your website’s SEO rankings.


6. STOCK IMAGES COULD HURT YOUR WEBSITE’S SEO

With Google pushing for better user experience and better search quality, it’s important to realize, that stock photos can affect your website’s SEO rankings.

Inconsistency in your company’s visuals, seeing same stock images on other websites, not being able to identify with what they see. All would lead to lesser user experience and engagement. As well as higher bounce rate.

Consequently, there’s big possibility, that in the future Google will prioritize original photos over stock to improve search quality.

always use original photos for your business
Original photos with real employees of internet security business.
Non-stock photos with real employees of technology business.

7. STOCK PHOTOS CAN BE LIMITED FOR COPYRIGHT USE

And finally, stock photos are not yours. You don’t own them, but rather pay for stock image usage.

In other words, you are restricted in how you get to use them. You may only be allowed a certain number of uses or platforms or come with expirations.

Often, more liberal allowances will be hidden behind memberships or more expensive subscription tiers.

Generally, an easier approach to this problem is to avoid the headache altogether and use original images instead.

With original photos it is easier to understand image copyright and usage terms, and re-negotiate if needed.


ARE STOCK PHOTOS REALLY THAT BAD?

It’s not the end of the world if stock images are what you need when you need it. But truly, replace stock photography with original content the sooner the better.

Original photography will help elevate your brand and business values and tell authentic story way better.

non-stock photo of healthcare professional working with patient
Original photo of healthcare professional working with patient.

All above are general rules and suggestions. After all, professional business photo planning is dictated by client’s particular needs. To discuss best approach for your business photography, give me call at 608-239-4199 or use this contact form.