We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? Those photographs of happy, smiling, good looking people in business suits all gathered round a computer and leaping for joy at their latest business success.
No? How about the ‘look at how ethnically diverse we are’ groups of bright-eyed, white-teethed teenagers on some anonymous college campus, or those healthy looking -too attractive to be real- people busting out at the gym on any number of health and fitness websites.
Whatever the website, and whatever the scenario, we’re willing to put some serious money on betting that you’ve seen more than your fair share of stock photos whilst browsing the web.
So when it comes to building your own website, you may be all too tempted to use them yourself. After all, you want to create a professional image for your business, and what better way to do that than to have a bunch of good looking models shaking hands or jumping for joy around a computer?
Lots of things, actually, but that’s not the point right now. Rather, the point is that there are several big disadvantages to using stock photos when you build your website.
Here’s just a few of them
Everybody else is using them
Your business is unique. If you’re going to stand out from the crowd and rise above the competition, it’s vital that you show your website visitors just how unique you are. Is using the same photo of shiny, happy people at work really going to achieve that?
That great photo you think is just perfect for your site has already been used by a good number of other sites, so using it is hardly going to be a good indication that you’re unique, different and worth paying attention to.
They can be costly
Let’s get this one out of the way early, shall we? Unless you’re using a free stock photo library like the ones bundled in with leading website builder platforms, you’re likely going to have to cough up the cash to get the appropriate license for that image you want to use.
If you’re trying to build a website on a budget, this isn’t really going to help you achieve that, and even if you have the money to spare, couldn’t that be put to better use in creating your own quality images that help you stand out from the crowd, present a professional image, and avoid using the same pictures as everybody else?
Your visitors have seen them before
Remember when we said lots of other websites are using the exact same stock photos you’re planning to use? Yeah, well that means there’s a good chance your visitors have already seen them before, again meaning you’re reducing the impact you have of presenting yourself as a unique business.
Your visitors can tell the difference
Even if visitors haven’t seen that particular image before, they’re likely web-savvy enough to spot a stock photo when they see one, and they can likely tell the difference between a photo of your actual employees doing what they do best and picture of some perma-grinned models in business suits.
Why is this bad? Because audiences can’t really relate to stock photo models in the same way that they can relate and identify with real people, especially the people who’ll be providing whatever kind of product or service it is you want to sell.
Creating that connection between your visitors and your employees – whilst it doesn’t come with any guarantees- is certainly more likely to increase your sales than hiding behind stock photography.