Stock photos get a bad rap. That’s because some are truly terrible. And, when used improperly, bad stock photos can make your brand look careless.
We know images boost engagement on website content and social media posts with images attract more clicks, but many small businesses do not have the resources to create a great library of original images. That means stock photos are necessary for many marketers.
So how should small businesses use stock photos for the win (FTW) to better tell their stories?
Stock photo clichés include, but are not limited to:
Try to think outside the box if you find yourself searching for photos that fall into a cliché zone. Ask whether the image is essential for strengthening your story or if it will, instead, distract or weaken the credibility of your message.
While it’s tempting to search for a perfect photo to encapsulate a blog post or demonstrate your point, that search is often fruitless. If you don’t easily find the photo you had envisioned, it’s best to keep it simple.
Focus instead on one element of your story and look for a simple, symbolic photo that will help that element hit home.
For instance, Shout it Out Design has a blog about customer service that includes references to yard work, so we selected a lawnmower to feature with the post. Since this element of the story isn’t apparent in the title, the featured image creates intrigue and may entice a visitor to click an article or read further to see how the image relates to the topic.
So unless your brand is into that sort of thing, and can use it to your advantage, steer clear of the weird. Not sure what I mean by weird? Look to the right. Yes, this stock photo hand-creature was available in multiple variations. So many uses for this guy!
There are many free stock photo resources available that are helpful no matter your budget. Since these photos are free, they may have usage limitations or require attribution.
While the free resources are certainly helpful, I usually have better luck when purchasing stock photos from services like iStock. Investing in a stock photo subscription can provide your businesses with access to plenty of professional images to keep your content engaging.
Any stock service you use will have stock image landmines, but if you can steer clear of the weird, cliché, complicated photos you can create a better experience for your website visitors and strengthen your storytelling.