Let’s face it: there is a lot of bad stock photography out there. Pick the wrong stock photo, and you’ll end up with cheesy overly staged shots, bad lighting, and silly expressions on the part of stock photo models, all of which have given the medium a bad name. Some people would judge stock imagery overall based on these worst examples. But if you look a little deeper, there are plenty of examples of stock photography that buck all of these stereotypes, and stand up as truly quality imagery.
For businesses and other stock photo users, it’s important to be able to spot good stock photos, but it’s even more important to know when the image you have your heart set on is the wrong stock photo to pick. Today, we share some reasons why businesses can choose the wrong stock photos, what makes these photos wrong, and how you can find better alternatives. Here are the top three reasons why you still use the wrong stock photos.
1) You think Smaller is Better
Where art is concerned, a lot of the time, small and independent artists are able to produce some of the best stuff out there. Not so in the world of stock photography. Remember, each stock photo is a piece of art, captured by an artist. But don’t be fooled into thinking that small, boutique photo agencies offer the best stock photos out there. In fact, if you pick from the inventory of a small photo site, you’re probably picking the wrong stock photo.
Take a look at www.bokelberg.com. Curated by a long time photographer, catchy motto. Everything looks fine on first glance, and this small photography vendor might trick you into thinking that small=quality. But look closer, and you’ll find corny, badly lit pictures. The facts are, bigger stock photo sites usually can pay artists more, and attract the best photographers. Unless you want to pick the wrong stock photo, don’t fall for the “smaller is better” trick.
2) You Don’t Take the Time To Pick The Right Photos
If rush and pick the first stock photo you can find for a search term, you often will end up picking the wrong stock photos. Plain and simple. Most good stock photo libraries are big and getting bigger, and there are of course some duds in even the best collections. If you don’t dig through search results a bit, and take the time to pick the perfect visuals, you might end up using the wrong stock photos for your business.
Go check www.istockphoto.com, one of the oldest and most respected stock photo vendors in the game. Type the phrase “dog playing catch” into the search bar. You’ll see that in the first ten searches, a few are terribly corny and overdone, a few have laughable lighting, and some are just downright bad. If you picked one of the first images that came up with that search, you’d pick the wrong stock photo. Dig just a few search results deeper and the results look a lot better.
3) You Think You’re Saving Money
For many stock photo users, budgets are tight. Which is why a lot of people are lured into using “on demand” stock photo vendors that don’t have subscription options. These sites seem like a good deal at first, until you browse their libraries more thoroughly and notice that lots of the photos offered in on-demand only sites aren’t very good quality. What started as an idea to save a few bucks quickly means you are downloading and using the wrong stock photos.
Just check out www.canstockphoto.com. At one dollar per download, it looks like a decent deal at first. And there are some decent illustrations and images on the site no doubt. But the facts are, larger subscription based sites will have a lot more images to choose from, and importantly a lot more images that are good quality. The truth is, most of the best photos on some of the best on-demand sites are still not as good as the photos on subscription based, bigger sites. If you don’t want to make the wrong choice by going with corny, overused stock photos, stay away from strictly on-demand services.
Overall, there is a lot that you have to keep in mind when choosing the right stock photos. You want a picture that captures your company’s spirit, and meets your specific commercial needs. But there’s a lot more to keep in mind when avoiding the wrong stock photo choices. You need to be careful that the imagery you go with isn’t corny, badly lit, or otherwise low quality. There is a lot of high quality, artistic, professional stock photography out there. Just don’t make any of the mistakes above and choose the wrong stock photos.
Do you want to feature your stock photos? Contact me.