How to use stock photos without diluting your brand
We’ve all seen the disaster stock images on business websites, where attractive and professional looking individuals in suits are utilized to sell a product or service. In fact, Vince Vaughn created a fantastic series of parody photos making fun of generic photos of professional-looking individuals in suits, standing in a partially askew line, looking unnaturally staged and downright uncomfortable. The fact is, they nailed it: stock photos can be super awkward.
Yet, while we stress the importance of including visual elements on your website, in your blog, and throughout social media, time constraints, limited resources and lack of access to original photos can make it difficult to use anything but stock photos. The trick is to know how to use them so they don’t dilute your brand—and when to know there is no substitute for an original photo.
Stock Photos vs. Original Photos
Showcasing your Team
If the visual element doesn’t move the website copy forward and assist in the reader’s understanding, then scrap the image altogether. This is especially true when it comes to using people in the images—instead only use individuals who are actually part of your brand’s actual story. Your customers and readers will relate to your brand more easily, and feel the authenticity of your business. Introduce them to actual members of your team, rather than substituting them for models and actors.
Stock photos are taken with the word “generic” in mind. They need to be applicable to multiple websites, businesses, and personal blogs. With original photography, you can stay aligned with your brand identity by including colors and logos, while also capturing the unique perspectives of your business, products, services, and culture. There is nothing generic about original photography, and your audience will pick up on that. However, if you do have to use stock photography to tell the story, stick to more scenic photos or ones where people aren’t looking directly at the camera, rather than photos of people completing generic tasks.
This might go without saying, but we believe it needs to be said. Your readers and customers can tell that you are not the person in that photo, and all of those charming models do not work for your company, whether you are showcasing them on social media or on your website. What the audience perceives is not only that you didn’t put in the effort to grab original photography to accompany your content, but also that you thought you could fool them into believing the photos on your website might be your own-even if that wasn’t your intention. Instead? Hire a photographer to spend a day with your company so that you can tell the best story possible for your brand. Then, you can use those photos for your website, social media and in marketing materials.
No matter what, stock photography will always be an easier alternative with a lower return on invested effort, unless you have someone to get original photos and take on your entire content marketing strategy for you. That’s where Yakkety Yak comes into play. We are a full-service content marketing company equipped to take your website copywriting, blog content, social media content, and even your original photography off your hands. Contact us for more information.