Tips and Best Practices for Using Corporate Stock Photos — and What to Avoid

How much time do you spend thinking about stock photography? If you?re anything like us, then? probably not much. Often-mocked, and often-memed, stock photography is nevertheless an important part of content strategy for your business.

After all, compelling visuals can add context to your blog posts and social media posts, and help you illustrate important points. And while you may, at first blush, hesitate to refer to most stock photos as “compelling visuals,” the truth is that there are thousands of great stock photos out there that you can use to really knock your content out of the park.

When picking out a prime stock photo, the key is to look past attractiveness (if this was Tumblr, we’d say “the aesthetic”) and consider effectiveness. Don?t distract your reader with a pretty picture — instead, add an image that inspires their interest in your content and drives them to keep reading.

Let’s keep reading to see what makes for an interesting stock photo and what you should keep away from when choosing images for your business content.

1. Use real, relatable business photography.

This is the golden rule of using stock photography. Images that are authentic, minimally-processed, and relate to the subject at hand are what will connect most with your audience. Many stock photos have a bad reputation for having a fake-looking, hyper-edited sheen to them — and this is well-deserved. Your goal when choosing stock photos should always be to avoid this style of image (unless you’re choosing one on purpose, to be hilarious). Essentially, look for stock photos that don?t look like stock photos.

Use This

This actually looks like it could have been taken in our office.

Not This

Nobody has ever done this pose in the history of the world, except for these models at the request of their photographer.