Tips for working with stock photography

27th January 2020

Stock photography is a great option for people without the skills or equipment to make great images. The photos are of a really high quality and can help to lift the design of a website.

I use stock photos on my blog to save time when I need to illustrate my posts. I’ve learned how to work with and make the most of them so here are some hints and tips:

Try and avoid cliches

When it comes to illustrating business success it’s probably best to avoid images like corporate hand shaking photos. Cliched images will really date your website and your business marketing.

Check if your competitors are using the same images

One of the problems with stock photography is that your competitors could be using the same images. This will completely dilute your marketing so it’s worth sitting down and looking carefully at the images they’re using.

You can see how popular certain images are by downloading a proof image and performing a Google image search.

Illustrating concepts

Concepts can be difficult to illustrate without resorting to cliches. This is where you’ll need to get creative in how you use stock photography.

For example if you search for “Knowledge” you’ll get hundreds of images of books, libraries and light bulbs.

If I have to illustrate concepts with stock photography I’ll use a thesaurus to find similar words to the one I’m trying to illustrate. This will give me a selection of more original images.

Using people shots

I’m a big fan of using images of people on websites because they help to make a real connection.

People shots are particularly important for small businesses who differentiate themselves through their level of personal service.

To instantly see who you might be dealing with on a website is incredibly powerful.

Setting yourself a budget

Using stock photography on your website can get expensive.

It’s worth thinking about where you might need additional images at the start of a project and setting a budget.

Images form a huge part of website design so ask yourself some questions. Do you really need a large hero image on every page of the website? Could you just use a large image on your homepage and alter the layout so other pages don’t need one?

Stock photography websites usually have a budget range so you can significantly cut costs without losing quality.

The other alternative are websites like Unsplash which offer free images that you can download and use in your projects.

Unsplash has revolutionised free stock photography and the image quality is exceptional. The only problem you might run into is finding industry specific images.

If you do use images from Unsplash always remember to credit the photographer.

Let’s work together on a design project

I love to work with businesses who have a positive impact on the world and see the value of great design. If you need some help with a web design or branding project I’d love to hear from you.

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