What are the disadvantages of using stock images?

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There are tons of websites out there providing banks of stock images to anyone who is looking for them; some websites offer them for free whereas others you must pay for. These can come in handy in a lot of situations; they can be used to accompany blogs or social media posts to make them more visual, some people use them on their websites and even in their logos. While stock image websites are an easy, low-budget way to access images when you need them, they're not always the best option. Here are a few disadvantages of using stock images and what you should be doing instead.

 

They're too generic

When photographers take photographs with the intention of distributing them as stock images, they want to make them appealing to as many people/businesses as possible. To do this, they make them really generic so that they resonate with a wide audience. Because of this, the images are not likely to match the message or personality you want to get across, as opposed to creating tailor-made images to suit your needs exactly.

This can be particularly detrimental on your website; if you want pictures of people on your website but they are generic, stock models and actors, it's normally quite obvious and can make you come across as fake. Photos of your own team or clients appear much more personal and genuine than those of generic models.

Everyone is using them

If you've used stock images before, you might have come across a situation where you've been browsing another business' website and noticed the exact same picture in use there. Since you are trying to stand out as a business and offer a unique product or service, looking the same as a dozen other businesses in your market is going to hurt your chances of attracting prospects.

Using stock images in your logo will likely lead to you having a very similar logo to other businesses, perhaps businesses that offer the same thing that you do, which will make it difficult to distinguish between you.

Be aware of licensing restrictions

Not all stock images are free-to-use. Different websites have different rules when it comes to the distribution and use of their images, so make sure that you read all of the terms of use on the website to ensure that you are not breaching any licensing restrictions. Some images can be used royalty-free in any situation, some you are allowed to use as long as you credit the source or photographer, others you must pay to use, but some are still not allowed to be used for certain commercial purposes. Read the fine print on each website and for each image to avoid copyright infringement, which could hit your business with a hefty fine.

Stock photos are useful in some situations, but if you are looking for images to make your website stand out, we would recommend hiring a professional photographer who can create high-quality photos that really match the message and personality you are trying to get across. If this is out of your price range at the moment, taking your own photos is always an option, using a good camera or even a smartphone; this is especially a good option for creating images to accompany your blog. When it comes to designing your logo, a professional designer will be able to create a professional, custom logo that really reflects your brand values, much more than any stock image could. Your logo could stay with your business for its entire lifespan, so it's important that you get it right.

Get in touch if you would like any advice about sourcing good quality images or finding the right professional to create images for you. Call 0115 880 0247 or email shamshad@shamshadwalker.co.uk.

Tagged in: Branding Marketing

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Guest Thursday, 26 April 2018