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Why Stock Photos Are Killing Your Brand.

It’s not hard to understand why we have come to rely so heavily on stock photos over the last two decades. Stock photos are easy to find and free or relatively cheap to use. I urge you, for the love of all things beautiful in this world, please stop using stock photography. Here’s why.

1. It’s cheesy and repetitive.

If you are thinking about using a particular photo, chances are that image, or something similar, has already been used by dozens of other businesses. In fact, you can use a reverse image search such as TinEye to do just that. Twenty years ago, when stock photography first became widely available, it gave companies a professional edge in their advertising. Because of overuse, it means the opposite today. Stock photos often indicate a lack of originality and a low budget. Plus, your customers are pretty savvy. They can tell when you’re using a stock image instead of a real photo.

I’ve never stood in a field, wearing white, while spreading my arms wide. Never. And I grew up on a farm. With lots of fields. It's impractical and the laundry stains last a lifetime. From left to right, these images have been found on 54, 117, 226 and 16 different websites, respectively.

2. It’s not representative of you.

The purpose of using imagery is to convey an idea or feeling that’s difficult to describe with words alone. Ask yourself if the stock image you’re about to use is actually helping convey a positive image or idea. Stock photography typically does a very poor job of representing real life as you can see in the example below.

While I’ve been in corporate and small business settings since I was teenager, I’ve never taken a group photo with my team while wearing coordinated blazers and definitely not while placing my hand on their shoulder. An image search revealed this photo has been used on at least ten other websites. Plus, it’s just awful.

Here’s How You Can Fix It Now

It’s time to usher in a new era of real life, real action photography. If you want to convey that you help teams work together better, show me a photo from a recent workshop you’ve conducted in which you did just that. It will be genuine and give people a much better understanding of how you work with people in real life.

1. Use your own photos.

Taking your own pics doesn’t have to be time consuming. Most phones have a decent camera and editing software is built in. Use product like Canva to overlay text and colors on top of your images for a custom look. In fact, you can sign up here to receive a link to download 5 stock images from Imago Visual that you won't find on hundreds of other websites. These can be customized to use on your social posts.

2. Hire a professional.

The leverage you can get from a single photo shoot is astounding. Branded imagery should be at the top of your list for your marketing budget. We will create authentic images that represent who you are and what you do. What better way to brand your business than to actually use photos of yourself? Take a look at some examples of our recent photography here and then email us to book your photo shoot! You’ll be glad you did.

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