Many teams aren’t aware when and when not to use stock photography for marketing purposes. Here are 4 easy tips marketers should consider when implementing stock photos in their strategy.
1. Do your research
Use the right imagery for your audience. One of the advantages of stock photography is that it can be sold for a long time to a wide audience. But that’s also its biggest disadvantage. When choosing imagery, pay attention to clothes, demographics, props, locations and everything in between. If you’re selling in Mexico, blonde, blue-eyed models using CRT monitors from the 90s would not be your best choice.
ID 29820822 © Meinzahn | Dreamstime.com
2. Be authentic
Get out of the blind spot. Avoid cheesy, obviously staged photos with exaggerated emotions and unreal scenarios. People have seen these a million times and they won’t have an impact. Try to use authentic photos of real people in real locations, even if they aren’t perfect. These tend to be appreciated more. Perfection often equals advertising and people have developed a partial blindness to advertising. It’s up to you to cure them. The good news is that, in stock photography, it’s possible.
ID 91570627 © Lesia Sementsova | Dreamstime.com
3. Go beyond the first page
Find your favorite photographer. They say nobody looks on the second page of results. This is true far too often. If you’re a professional, you make sure you make the best possible choices. Yes, more often than not, you will return to that first page of the search results because it simply shows the best photos. But that photo on the 7th page could be a missed opportunity. Since millions of new photos are added monthly to stock databases, you need to dig deeper into the search results. When you do find a great image that fit perfectly in your project, go visit the photographer’s portfolio. Chances are you will find more images created in the same style. More choices, more opportunities.
Photo 35669930 © Liv Friis Larsen – Dreamstime.com
4. Be honest
Stock photography was meant to be generic, yet a lot of people are using it wrong. As an example, it’s totally fine to buy an image of a Quattro Stagioni pizza and use it to illustrate your press article, blog or social media post about pizza in general. However, if you’re a restaurant delivering pizza to your clients, it’s not OK to use stock images as reference for your products. People want to see how YOUR Quattro Stagioni pizza looks like when they order from you. Yes, you can use a generic stock photo of pizza toppings on your menu at the start of pizza section. No, you cannot use a stock photo for illustrating specific products. That’s where you should hire a photographer or, if you have the skills, shoot the photos yourself and show your real products to the clients.