Many businesses rely on stock photography or stock images for their marketing. These are images provided, typically via a library, that can be used to help sell or promote a product or simply to catch a potential customer’s attention.
While stock photography is used very commonly, many marketers don’t really use it in the best ways possible.
You may wonder how there can be a “wrong” way to use stock images. They’re just pictures, right? Wrong! A picture, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words. Choose the wrong one or use it in the wrong way, and it could have the opposite effect of what you intended. For these reasons, it’s imperative to use stock images in the right ways, which takes some real practice and know-how.
Don’t Use Too-Familiar Images
When the internet first started to gain popularity, certain images gained popularity along with it, many of which still exist in photo galleries today. Some of these images even went on to be used in “memes,” making them even more popular.
Unfortunately, a lot of these images, many of which are now so familiar as to be instantly recognizable, are still in use today among marketers.
You might think it’s a good thing to provide people with a familiar image. After all, familiarity often warrants trust, which is a feeling every marketer wants to inspire. However, for many people, a familiar image doesn’t read “trust” so much as it reads “boring” or “played out.”
When people see a familiar image, they often assume they already know what the article, ad, webpage, or other content is about, which makes them more likely to click away or, in the case of advertising on social media or other online avenues, to not click at all.
Thus, try to take a fresh approach by choosing stock images that don’t look like stock images or that, at the very least, are not instantly and easily recognizable or, even worse yet, commonly related to a product very different or very similar to your own. Either is a recipe for disaster.
Keep it Simple
In addition to choosing unique images, aim for images that are simple and straight to the point.
Whether you’re using automotive pictures, photos of people, animal photos, or anything in between, you want to make sure your image is not cluttered and that it has a clear focal point.
Having too many focal points in a photo can cause the viewer confusion as to what the photo is about or what message or image it is trying to convey. A basic picture that captures the “vibe” you want or that clearly showcases a product is always better than a busy image full of potential distractions.
Be Willing to Invest
A final tip for using stock images effectively is to be willing to invest at least some money in your stock photo budget.
All too often, marketers will spend a lot of money on the ad content and then just rely on the free category of the image gallery or galleries that they use, not realizing that the image is often the deciding factor in whether or not a person engages with the ad.
While there are plenty of good images available for free, the best images, ones that are truly unique and not overused, are likely going to require a bit more investment on your part.
You also pay for quality. Thus, investing enough to, at the very least, avoid watermarks, improve photo clarity, and make your ad look more professional is always worthwhile.
Stock photos are used daily in the marketing world. But, if you want your photos to stand out and to actually have the effect that you want them to, you’ll need to follow these tips and choose your photos and your photo supplier with care.
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