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3 tips for making the most out of stock photography//

3 tips for making the most out of stock photography featured image

Stock libraries have managed to earn themselves a pretty bad rap over the last few decades – some of which is well-founded and some of which is most certainly not.

In an ideal world (from an agency perspective) every project would have bespoke photography, that was completely ownable and art directed to perfectly represent a brand’s tone – in voice and visualisation – but let’s be honest, how many projects have unlimited budgets and unlimited timings; stock photography is a necessary ‘evil’ and invaluable resource (when used well).

The facts

Stock libraries are purely a repository for peoples work, which means 90% of the fault that has earned them the reputation for being clichéd, limited and budget is largely user-error. YES, many of the popular libraries have become flooded with the typical image of a person pointing at a graph whilst smiling at the camera, or an ethnically diverse mix of business men gathered around a table, also pointing at things etc… but, the perfect picture is out there, and with a few helpful tips we can help you find it.

Be promiscuous

There are many libraries to choose from ­– look a little wider than just Getty, Shutterstock and iStock. Once you’ve worked with few, you’ll realise each has something different to offer; something they’re better at than the others.

Be specific

You can avoid hours of scrolling through garbage, just by being a little more specific. Use the filters each library provides to narrow down the parameters, but more importantly, be more specific in your search terms – if you want a picture that represents business, but don’t want the cliché, search with a vision in mind e.g. Meeting, low angle, light flare… or, Business, atrium, shallow depth of field.

Be original

Things only become a cliché because certain topics, industries and emotions are so immediately associated with certain imagery (mortgages have keys, doctors have stethoscopes, solutions have puzzle pieces etc.) if you want to define yourself from the competition, you need to either be a little more insightful or a little more abstract in your approach.

The Final Word

Stock libraries may be daunting, but by following our tips, you can find imagery that works really well. Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to edit stock imagery.

If you want images to better fit a campaign or your brand, find an image that’s close enough and a person that’s talented enough to crop/tweak/merge/retouch and generally improve what’s available.

Alternatively, if you’re still struggling, get us to do it for you!

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