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Overcoming Overused Stock Images

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Overcoming Overused Stock Images

With a huge library of photos and a refined search engine, stock image sites are the ideal resource for high quality images for your website or marketing. But it isn’t surprising to see images with very similar themes saturating the page of professional and start-up companies alike. Some overused photos have such notoriety that they have successfully turned in to memes, even with their own Facebook pagesWhile that popularity could be good for internet humour, it isn’t good for your brand. Overused images and illustrations can quickly lower the quality of the presentation of whatever they are attached to. Here are some things to consider when looking for images.

 

The Problem with Stock Photos

 

Most stock image hosting sites have some sort of standard for what kinds of content they are looking for. Sites like iStockphotos keep an eye out for visual trends as they arise so their contributors can better meet user needs. But they inevitably become saturated with similar photos that all contain recurring themes.

 

Search results for ‘Success Stock image’

 

We’re picking on corporate stock photos as they embody the overused stock photo problem, but there are plenty of other examples as well. Avoid using cliché and obvious keywords. As accessible as they are, the underlying problem of stock photos is that they become very unoriginal very fast. Other brands are using the same kinds of images on their pages to the point that a stock image is very obvious to users. An image you use may have already been used by twenty pages somewhere else.

 

The Solution

 

The best thing to do as a brand, when looking for images, is to develop original content whenever possible. Engage your designers, explore what’s possible – you never know what they might come up with.

 

If your deadline is fast approaching and funds are tight and you have no choice other than stock, here’s are some tips:

  • Before purchasing the image, copy its link and use the ‘search by image’ option in Google to see where it may already be in use. This can save you from using an overused stock photo, especially if you’re going to be paying for the rights of high quality stock content.
  • Another thing you can do is engage with designers and customize the image to bring the feel of your brand in to the look. One way could be to combine one stock shot with another. The key is to separate the stock photo as far as you can from that ‘stock photo’ look. Original designs or combining multiple sources can achieve that is a great way to do it.

Using high quality stock photos can give you a polished professional look when time is of the essence. But finding an image that isn’t already being used can be challenging, and even if it isn’t already used, you may notice a recurring theme in the pile of photos. If you want to truly make your brand stand out and impress your audience, try to either create original designs or blend elements of multiple stock shots. These solutions may take a bit more time but the original experience that you give your users will pay off in the end.

Level 7 (XP: 2700)
last year
This seems to be an issue in many different industries these days. I have heard horror stories about people who actually don't have anything better to do than to search up different images on the web to see how they are being used. If it is noted that the images are being used without attribution they go out of their way to sue the person who used the image without permission, I mean I get it, there's rules in place to avoid this issue....but to go out of your way to hunt these people down? :s anyway, great info!
Reply by Imprint Marketing Group
last year
Hi MaRia, we totally agree! Some even go as far to hunt people down and wait so that they can come knocking with a greater lawsuit amount based on how long the person has used the images for.