If You’re Reading This, Stop Using Stock Photography


A photo is worth a thousand words, we know this. But a high-quality and original photo? Well, that has to be worth a million words. We’re simple creatures, and according to MDG Advertising, people only remember 10% of information for only three days after hearing it, but add in a photo and that increases to 65%. Yes, it’s that simple. 67% of online shoppers say that the quality of a product image is “very important” when making their purchase decision. *Russell Crowe in Gladiator voice* Are you not entertained?! In 2011, Marketing Experiments tested a real photo of their customer against their top-performing stock photo and found visitors who saw the real customer were 35% more likely to sign up for their service.

So, I beg to know, why are so many people still using stock photos? It is so important to have original photos that fit your brand and aren’t going to be used by a million other companies’ promotions. It could be really confusing to see your stock image promoting peanut butter and then the same stock image promoting mayonnaise; yikes! Or even worse, your stock photo could become a viral meme; double yikes!

When you choose to use a stock photo, you are spending hours searching for the “perfect photo” that is stuck in your mind, settling and purchasing the “not-so-perfect, but already used many times” photo, and probably putting in more time and resources to edit and make changes to the photo. By the end of it, you most likely have invested just as much into this as you would into shooting your own photography. So, if you’re worried about price, that’s a fair concern, but it’d be best to find ways to allocate your budget to make the investment in your brand photography.

The most important thing is to invest in a good photographer. You have one chance and limited time to get the right shot, so finding someone who knows what they’re doing behind the camera is the top priority. You can work with your advertising agency to find a photographer that works within your budget and can achieve your creative concept. To help stay within your budget, you can:

  • Try to use your own surroundings as your “set”.
  • Recruit friends or family to help model if needed.
  • Take advantage of natural sunlight.

These are all easy and budget-friendly ways to ensure you get the custom photo you need.

So, keep an open mind to shooting custom photography. There are plenty of ways to make it affordable, and with a little budgeting, planning, and friendly people on your side who want to see your company succeed, you can quickly have original, high-quality photos that represent your brand. Just please stop using stock photos. We’re begging.