Why You Shouldn’t Use Stock Photos on Your Business Website

By April 1, 2014 No Comments

Let’s be honest, you can most likely find a stock photo of some kind on every website out there today. These are the photos that are taken by professional photographers and contain professional models. The problem with these is that they rarely convey the emotion you may be trying to achieve as a business. Most of these photos come off as just corny and don’t authentically represent your business or company culture. Okay, so now that you’ve heard my spiel, here are some disadvantages to using stock photos and tips on using the best photos for your business.

What are the Disadvantages?

iStock Working on ComputeriStock Shaking Hands

Here you see some really nice stock photos that can be purchased for around $50 each.  Typically you can use these in both your web and print marketing.  Photos like these are commonplace on business websites and are supposed to convey a message of trust, professionalism and the perceptions that the company is easy and friendly to work with. But do you really get that impression?

If you were visiting a site, would you feel better seeing completely random people high-fiving, shaking hands and appearing to do actual work? Or would you rather see real people within the company doing work and interacting with actual customers? Unfortunately, it has become the norm to fill each page of a site with pictures of totally different sets of people, doing totally different things. Not to mention there is a pretty good chance that there are hundreds, if not thousands of other websites using that same photo trying to present the same message. When you’re considering what types of images to use on your website, you have to ask “Is this authentic or unique?” and “Is this going to differentiate me from my competitors?”

What’s the alternative?

The alternative is to make an investment in your print and web marketing that will serve you now and into the future.  Do you architect buildings? Do you collaborate with co-workers? Are you out in the world making a product?  Then take photos of it, and show it off.

The best route is to hire a professional photographer who will bring in the right equipment to photograph you and your company.  Or maybe you have someone on your staff that is an amateur photographer and has what it takes to get the job done.  I’ve even seen beautiful photos taken with a cellphone when done right.

Before you get started taking your own photos, the most important thing to do is to make a plan. Do some brainstorming and think about the different types of photos you want to take and where you want to use them. If you don’t properly plan then you will probably end up with a bunch of photos that you can’t effectively use on your website or marketing.  Plan on getting the right people involved at your office, and make sure they bring a couple different outfits so all the photos on your website don’t look the same.

Will it be weird to have the same people used on different areas of your website? No. This is who you really are, and your potential customers will appreciate getting a realistic view of your company, staff and culture.  Also don’t make all of them overly professional.  Show some personality! For example, on our website we have some photos where we are dressed up and other photos where we are in t-shirt and jeans. Visitors to your website should be able to get a well rounded view of who you are as a company based on the photos and the people you choose to showcase.

I’ll leave you with a couple photos from our professional photo shoot below to help you get inspired!

Photos by Trumpie Photography

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