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How to Use Stock Photography and Not Look Like Everyone Else

Traditionally, stock photography has had a bad reputation for looking unprofessional and not looking realistic.  However, for many small businesses who do not have access to their own professional photographer, it is their only option.  Here are 4 tips on how to get the best out of stock photography:

1.  Use believable images
Avoiding cliched stock images such as business people in suits or call center representatives in headsets, these types of images look unbelievable and therefore do not do much for your websites surface credibility.


Face of young charming confident woman with headset
Another reason why images may not “believable” is because they have been seen before on other websites.   A good way to avoid overused images is by sorting by “Newest” rather than “Most Popular”.

2.  Stay up to date
When choosing your stock image, look at the image very closely.  What type of clothes are the people wearing or what haircut do they have?  Are they from today’s fashion?  If not avoid it.  The same thing applies with tech images – is the laptop featured an ancient relic or a new macbook pro?

Electronic devices isolated on white background
Laptop, vector illustration.
3.  Don’t compromise on quality
Stock images come in various sizes and resolutions, for websites you won’t need hi-res images but you should consider where it is being placed on the web page and how large it needs to be.  Simply resizing a smaller image to make it larger will make it pixelated and look lower in quality. If you are planning on using your images in print you will need it in hi-resolution, check out this helpful guide on choosing the right file size.

file sizing
4.  Choose relevant images
Make sure the images you choose on your website are relevant to your copy, if there isn’t a strong connection then don’t use the image.  The images used on your site should reinforce what you are saying in words and therefore should be chosen after you have written your copy, not before or independently of the copy.  Even the most beautiful image will look unauthentic if the connection between the copy and itself is not there.

If you are having trouble sourcing believable, relevant stock images for your website, why not take your own photos, check out our post on how to produce pro-quality photos for only $12.

If you are a photographer, take a look at our free website templates for photographers here.

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