6 Tips for Choosing Awesome Stock Photos

stock photosSure, sure, it’s always better to generate your own photography. Everyone knows that. But the cold reality is that unless you have a professional photographer on staff, there is no way to generate the volume of original imagery necessary to support even a mid-sized marketing campaign or blog. Thus, the necessity of stock photos.

The problem is, stock photos get a bad rap. But the good news is, they don’t deserve it! Most of the issues you think you might have with using stock photography come from using it improperly, or using substandard images. There is a vast ocean of stock photography available to you to choose from, and if you take the time to carefully select the appropriate images for your needs, you’ll find that stock photos can accentuate and even transform a design.

So how do you choose the right stock photography? Answers coming up!

Avoid Cliche

The smiling customer-support woman in the headset. The close-up of the business handshake. The friendly group caught in mid-jump. There are an ever-increasing number of images that have been so over-used that you should never, ever use them again. I’m looking at you, stressed person rubbing their temples in front of a laptop.

High Quality Only

In this media-saturated age, people know a good photograph when they see one. Only choose stock photography that is well-lit, well-composed, in good focus and large enough to serve whatever purpose you have for it. Don’t settle for anything less, no one you’re marketing to will either.

Emotional Authenticity

Stock photography involving people is tricky. Most use models, and many can come off as insincere. It’s important when choosing imagery containing people that the emotional engagement of those people appears authentic. Another way to put it would be to say that a person in a stock image should look happy, not like they’re acting happy.

Use Interesting Perspective

Try to choose images that are taken from an angle or perspective that is unusual or engaging in some way. A unique take on an over-used idea can often make it a viable option for your stock photography. For instance, a shot of the surf from the perspective of someone standing on the beach has been used over and over, but a shot of the surf crashing on the beach taken from directly above looking down presents the same scene from an much more interesting perspective that isn’t used nearly as often.

Maintain Brand Consistency

Even a high-quality image taken from a unique perspective won’t do you any good if it doesn’t also fit in with the tone and style of your brand. Make sure that the images you choose support the culture of your company, and reinforce the direction of your existing marketing and design.

Maintain Consistency

When choosing multiple images, either for a single project, or for a continuing series over time (like a blog), make sure that the images you choose remain consistent with each other. Allowing too much shift in style from photo to photo can make your brand seem schizophrenic. Maintaining the consistency of your stock photos over time allows them to add to the cohesiveness of your brand, rather than detracting from it.

And there we have it! Follow these tips, and the stock photos on your site will start to help you instead of hurt you. Want to make sure the photography on your website is top-notch? Give the design team at Solamar a shout!

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