There are few instances that stock photos are appropriate to use. A school project or a meme, but definitely not to promote your business. Although, if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, business sites, or even magazine ads, you’ve seen businesses (sometimes with the same photos—but I’ll get to that later) use them.
Stock image websites offer tons of free and paid photos to anyone who is willing to download and/or buy them. You may be familiar with these popular sites: Getty Images, Unsplash, Shutterstock, and iStock. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these sites (as long as the photographers are being paid for their work), they’re just not the best option to use when promoting your business.
Why not? At the most basic level, stock photos aren’t personal to your business. They don’t accurately reflect what your business has to offer, simply because they weren’t created for your business or with your business in mind. Oftentimes these photos are dated, staged/posed, and don’t capture the audience you’re looking for. Not to mention, it can be time-consuming to sift through millions of photos. Bored at work and want to show yourself a good time? Go check out the lists of the most downloaded stock images.
Additionally, many of these images are overused by businesses in the same market—especially niche markets, where few stock images exist—so if you’re trying to stand out from the crowd by using stock images, it’s quite possible your competition is using the same photos…eek.