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To Stock, or not to Stock?

18th December, 2015 by Steve F

I just bought myself a family Christmas!
Cheesy or what?! Its amazing the current array and low cost of stock photography. We've all seen those classic stock shots of pretty receptionist, stressed out office worker, the tech savvy young executive. You can spot most of these and know that they don't work for or represent the company who's website you are browsing. For some bad cheesy offenders have a look at Corey Eridon's blog.

But the choice of a particular stock image and sometimes whether to use stock shots vs commissioning a photographer really needs careful consideration. Take the case of the Daily Mirror ...

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Some 20 months ago it published a story on poverty in the UK and used a photo of a small girl crying. It was a heart-strings tugging image. But it was a stock photo and it turns out that the girl was an American, and was crying because she'd just seen a worm! When this was revealed in a rival newspaper the Mirror was criticised for being dishonest, misleading and deceiving its readers. It undermined the newspaper's credibility and lay them open to reputational damage.

We can apply the same warnings to commercial use of stock photos. It's important you check out the relevance of a stock image, check it's credentials don't pose any potential conflict and make sure they are accurate for the sentiments you want to express. You should also realise that stock images are likely to be used by others in websites or print - by competitors and possibly people with conflicting views to yours.

Obviously hiring a photographer to shoot your images is the solution to avoiding these pitfalls and it's worth keeping in mind today's huge move to being honest and truthful (think VW engine emissions). We should all make sure we can proudly stand by the merits of our work and our messages.

If you liked that, have a look at our other blog post's...