The do’s and don’ts of stock photography

You already know using your own images is the best way to visually portray your brand. But there are still times when you simply don’t have the photo you need.
Then, you’ll need to head to a stock photography website to find the right image. Take a deep breath, though. Stock photography has come a long way. And with the right tips, you can find some dazzling images to market your business.
And gasp! If you do it correctly, your customers may not even know it’s a stock photo!
Simply follow these do’s and don’ts of stock photography when selecting images, and you’ll be good to go.
Stock photography don’ts

It’s best to avoid these three types of stock images.

1. Photos of people looking directly into the camera

Portrait Of Happy Businesspeople

These pictures look forced and cheesy, which means others likely won’t receive them well either. Instead, opt for more action-orientated shots of people.
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs research found photos with faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes and 32 percent more likely to receive comments. When the models are doing an activity, they sell it better.
2. Photos of obviously fake scenarios

concept money and small tree in jar and sunshine

When was the last time you saw an adult using a piggy bank or planting a tree in a jar of money? These images represent literal concepts, like saving or growing your investment. But the result is often hokey. If the stock photo is of something you wouldn’t see in real life, keep looking.
Instead, go for the big picture. Think about the emotion behind the concept you’re portraying, and try to find an image that captures its essence. That’s what people will respond to. Or if you really want to stick with the literal, again, opt for action shots that could happen.
3. Illustrated photos of digital or abstract concepts

Innovation concept, consultant in management doing presentation

You’ve seen images like this everywhere. While the images may include the word you’re writing about, they don’t capture the feeling or experience behind it. Plus, they’re ubiquitous, which means people are tired of them, and they don’t visually differentiate your brand.
Instead, visually portray the digital experience or abstract concept. For example, say you’re talking about social media. Are you discussing the moment when you snap the must-have selfie? Or perhaps the feeling when you agonize over whether you’ll get any likes? Dig deeper, and go beyond the surface here to discover images that will resonate. Your images will be richer, and they’ll better illustrate your message.
Stock photography do’s

Use these tricks to find better images on stock photography sites.
1. Narrow your search
Describe the picture you want to find. If you don’t like the images that appear at first, add in qualifiers or substitute synonyms to find exactly what you are looking for.
2. Stick to photographs
Generally, stock photos, as opposed to illustrations or renderings, look more authentic. Applying this filter to your searches may make the golden images easier to find.
3. Listen to the data
A Curalate study found that images with a single dominant color, lots of light and a high amount of background perform better on social. Though, of course, the best data will come from your own analytics. Test and learn what works for you.
4. Find your brand’s visual identity
You can grab photos from a wide variety of sites. But they should all look cohesive and complementary as you scroll through your social feed.

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