7 Reasons not to use stock pictures in Marketing

Oct 10, 2018 by Phoebe Cook
11 MIN

“A picture paints a thousand words.”

Your choice of images will influence both the credibility of your company and the image you want to portray to your clients. 67% of online shoppers stated that high-quality photos were very important to them, whilst product specific information, long descriptions and reviews weren’t such priorities.

When finding photos to support words on a page, we are often tempted to search for ‘cheap stock photos’ or ‘business stock photos’, instead of using a professional photographer to take photos tailor-made to you. However, in doing this, you diminish the value of the photo, and more importantly, your website. By looking at a variety of overused stock images, we examine why stock photos just don’t cut it anymore...

1. Someone else’s vision

Meet Jim, he’s the generic “Friendly Manager of the Company”. If you feel like you’ve seen Jim before, it’s probably because you have. It’s impossible to count the number of times this image has been used in the “employment” section of a company’s website to assure clients that their leaders have experience and are very attentive. The firm handshake and eye contact only corroborates this impression.


don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: Can Stock Photo

Would you agree that looking back at your own holiday photos is much more exciting than looking through someone else’s holiday snaps, which have no sentimental value to you? Stock photos can sometimes feel like a random person’s holiday pictures because they aren’t tailor-made to you.

2. All-encompassing, but vague

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: Dreamstime

Stock photos need to appeal to a wide-range of people, they use all-encompassing images to appeal to all audiences, and in the process make their photographs as vague as possible. Here, in order to make the picture all-encompassing, we are faced with a bizarre image of two employees focused on drawing a simple pattern and seemingly achieving nothing. And yet, many companies use this photo or variants on their websites.

3. Lacking originality

We already know just how important visuals are to people, so why take your most powerful medium of speaking to people and make it generic? Using stock photos misrepresents what your company stands for and lacks originality every time.


don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: 123RF

The lack of naturalness in this photo would make it almost more effective for promoting a deodorant brand than to show team cohesion

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: iStock

And if you are looking for originality, do not go in that direction.

4. The Everywhere Girl

In recent years, this woman has managed to single-handedly deal with customer services in thousands of companies across the globe. Despite this immense amount of pressure, she manages to keep her cool and always crack a smile!

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: iStock

However, she’s not the only woman changing the marketing world day by day. This is Jennifer; a woman who does everything, from modeling in rivaling marketing campaigns (Gateway and Dell computers), to featuring in a series of books on Christianity, she’s quite remarkable!

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: CXL

In order to fully understand the overexposure of some stock photos, take a look at this short video that sums up it up. This is a compilation of stock photos featuring the same person in different roles, there’s even an original song to go with it!

Video Credit: Youtube

5. Inconsistency of brands​

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: Getty Images

If a client sees this image on two or more different websites, the meaning behind the photo becomes redundant, as it creates inconsistency in the photos. Does the image mean that the company’s employees are often late to work, or is he advertising running a charity marathon in a suit? To make this clear to your clients you need to own your images. This could be purchasing stock photographs for a certain amount of time, or using a professional photographer, which allows you to use the photos whenever and however you like.

6. The fake-multicultural stock photo

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: Shutterstock

How many stock photos have you seen depicting people of different ethnic backgrounds smiling and getting along together, or shaking hands in a business deal? The problem is that stock photos are not subtle, and it comes across as trying too hard to seem inclusive. It makes a business look extremely disingenuous. The repetition of the same photographs reinforces a forced and fake environment, which even becomes repulsive to clients.

7. Photoshop your stock images

If you really insist on using stock photographs for your company’s website, then there is a way to own them and make them original. Photoshopping your stock images will make them less generic and will therefore also add value.

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: CXL

don't use stock pictures in Marketing

Image Credit: Canva

Looking for an alternative? Try Meero professional photographers!

Another, more effective solution would be to hire a professional photographer who can take pictures with similar meanings, but specifically for your company. Meero will create authentic images, which truly reflect your company and stop you having to use generic and impersonal stock photos!

Image Credit: Meero

The words ‘professional photographer’ may make you question the price and the quality of the services. However, Meero is committed to finding experienced photographers near you to take photos that will accurately reflect the ethos of your company and what your company aims to achieve. Meero handles everything, from finding you a reliable professional photographer, to retouching the photos (thanks to its own editing artificial intelligence), to delivering them within 24 hours after the shoot. A website that is honest, original and reflects reality will always outperform those who use generic, vague stock photographs.

And if that’s not enough to convince you...

Then this series of images of women eating salad and laughing alone will make you feel so uncomfortable you’ll have to change your mind! Furthermore, to see an example of a website using stock images, which portrays their company poorly, then check out Accelity marketing.

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