Are stock photos an absolute ‘no-no’ in marketing?

Stock images have developed a reputation as a bit of a ‘comic-book baddie’ in the marketing world; in other words, the use of them is treated in some circles as inherently heinous, and something that any self-respecting brand should avoid at all costs.

Is this always entirely true, though? The reality is, for all of the articles out there demanding that stock photos are never used by any brand that wishes to convey a professional image, there are plenty of brands using them nonetheless.

If you ask us, it’s really a question of moderation. Our digital marketing consultants at PENNInk Productions would not necessarily ward you off ever using a stock photo in any circumstance. We would, however, advise you to be cautious about which stock images you use, and how.

What are the reasons why you might use stock photos?

However much of a bad rap stock images may have attracted over the years, the fact remains that they continue to be widely used by organisations wishing to present themselves in a flattering way online. And some of these firms’ reasons for turning to stock photography are very understandable.

There is, of course, the sheer affordability of stock images to consider, with many of them being free to use. Long gone are the days when a brand might have only been able to obtain non-cringeworthy stock images by paying for access to a premium photo bank; today, there are plenty of sources of high-quality stock visual content that organisations may not need to pay a thing for.

It is worth bearing in mind, too, the sheer convenience of stock photos. Entire databases of them are right there, ready for the average Internet user to delve into, as opposed to what may seem the arduous and time-consuming process of creating entirely original images.

After all, it’s not as if a quick snap of your team on your iPhone will necessarily look all that professional, either – so in that context, even using a fairly obvious stock photo may not seem that great a sin.

But there’s one more (potentially) great reason to use at least some stock photography across your brand’s marketing channels: it can be a genuinely effective means of complementing your brand’s all-round visual approach. Using the right stock images alongside the right original photos and other graphic design elements can actually help communicate your brand values, instead of detracting from or undermining them.

Allow us to help you hit the sweet spot with your graphics and branding

Naturally, you will have to make your own judgement calls to some extent when it comes to using, or not using, stock photography. If, however, you would appreciate the close attention and knowhow of established experts in all things branding and graphic design, we’re ready and waiting to assist here at PENNInk Productions.

Call 020 8144 7931 or send us an email today, for more details about how our digital marketing consultants can work their magic to really help elevate your brand.

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