How to Avoid the Cheesy Stock Photo Trap

By July 5, 2016Stock Photos
How to Avoid the Cheesy Stock Photo Trap

Stock photos are a necessity for many marketers and businesses alike. Unless you have a staff photographer at your disposal 24/7, using stock photos is often the only way to get the images you need for your website, blog, advertisement, newsletter and more. Unfortunately, stock photos have gotten a bad rap due to the abundance of cheesy, staged and just plain bad stock photos that exist out in the strange universe that is the World Wide Web. However, it is possible to find great stock photos to use for whatever purpose you need, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.

Our Guide to Finding Non-Cheesy Stock Photos

Avoid Forced Smiles & Photos that are Too Staged

Nothing says “cheesy stock photo” like a picture of a smiling woman eating a salad. There’s even a whole Tumblr page devoted to making fun of these cheesy pictures. When browsing through stock photos, opt for the ones that look the most natural — as if just catching someone in the moment rather than a controlled pose smiling at the camera.

 How to Avoid the Cheesy Stock Photo Trap | TTP Blog

Look for Unique Colors, Angles & Settings

Because stock photos can easily end up looking too generic, it is important to make an effort to find photos that are more original in order to express the right tone for your particular brand. For example, if you need a picture of a person working in an office, rather than just choosing a photo that shows a person sitting at a desk and smiling at the camera, try looking for something a little different. That might be a close-up image of someone typing or taking notes in a meeting.

Embrace Diversity

Sources for stock photos are filled to the brim with pictures of impossibly attractive young men and women. The truth is, those images don’t represent the average workplace. Instead of sticking with this unrealistic standard, go for photos that truly represent the diversity of the modern workplace. Find images with people of different ages, sizes and ethnicities. By using photos that embrace diversity on every level, you’ll make your website page, blog post, or other content more relatable and appealing to the average person.

Use a Variety of Sources

For sheer volume, we love using Bigstock. Bigstock carries over 36 million stock photos and other images, making it the ultimate place to go for photos representing practically any subject or category. Of course, with the good comes the bad. Bigstock is a paid service, so you will have to make room in your budget for a fee. Additionally, you’ll find that not all stock photos on Bigstock are created equal. Sifting through the not-so-great photos to find the one that is perfect for your purposes can take some time. In addition to using Bigstock, we like to use several free online sources for stock photos. StockSnap is a great source for high-quality images that are beautiful and original. It allows you to search through its images using keywords and will even send you weekly emails highlighting photos of the week that you might want to use. Gratisography is another good free source for stock photos. This is the perfect place to look for fun, silly and truly unique images.


Get Picture Perfect

Looking for help with imagery and design for your business? Turn The Page Online Marketing provides a variety of online marketing services, including graphic design. Contact us today to learn more!



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How to Avoid the Cheesy Stock Photo Trap

Author Sydney Rayl

A fourth generation Jayhawk, Sydney Rayl has a degree in Creative Writing and French. After graduation, she put her degree to good use as a high school English teacher in France, where she enjoyed croissants aplenty. Turn The Page snagged Sydney shortly after she returned from abroad, and clients enjoy the extra dose of “je ne sais quoi” she injects into all her content, from blogs and website pages to social media campaigns.

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