Stop using stock

Visual imagery drives engagement, we’ve all heard this before. But you know what drives more engagement? Original content. Time to stop using stock and get creative.

Stock imagery plagues the internet, it’s more common than the common cold. We get the appeal, it’s much quicker and easier to type in ‘salad’ or ‘food’ into a royalty-free image search engine than it is to find someone who doesn’t mind you shoving a camera in their face as they munch down on a piece of lettuce. But surely you could do better than that?

No more excuses like “oh, but I’ve only got the camera on my smartphone”, this is 2018 and this simply won’t fly anymore. It’s time to get creative and put a little more imagination into your work.

Your customers have seen similar photos like this over and over again. How about showing them something new, you and most importantly, relevant.

Which of the above images do you think stands out more? Which one interests you? An awkwardly posed photo that’s been used hundreds of times before, or real people having an awesome time? A study found that nearly 35% of visitors would be more likely to use a service when they saw a photo of a “real” people as opposed to a stock photo.

By using stock imagery you are taking away from your unique selling points. Your brand and culture are what makes you special so why would you want to detract from that? We wouldn’t post generic stock images of a classroom when, in reality, you’re going to be sat in a ball pit. It’s all about creating and selling an expectation. Your ideal customer is going to want to see the true reality of your brand, not a dull photo with no personality or story to it. (Unless, you know, your brand has no personality, then you do you – but we all know that’s not true.)

It saddens us when we see brands that have so much potential using stock photography. A study showed 37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (hiya!) which was 38%. So you should really be thinking about the imagery you use to represent your business as it’s proven to be an extremely important touch point in the customer journey.

Start by using your own people in your photos, it may take some convincing, but trust us, it will be worth it. By using your own people you make the brand much more personable. Even if your brand isn’t people based you can benefit from putting a little bit of effort into taking your own image.

“But, I don’t even know how to use a camera” we hear you cry. Lies! You’ve all got a camera phone, and it can be as simple as just ‘clicking a button’ if you’re considerate about the composition – see our tips below for more.

Take your photo in the very best light possible. You don’t want to be backlit because it will create a silhouette.

Clear your background, the fewer distractions the better, you want the focus to be on your product or your people. Not the bin in the background.

Use the rule of thirds to help you compose the photo, figure out what you want to be the focus and create negative space. Most phones have the option to turn this on while you take a photo.

(Happy Penguin Day!)

If you have a person in your photo, try not to pose them or force them to smile, the more natural the photo, the better.

If you are taking a photo of a product, place it with purpose. Choose the angle to best showcase your product, what is the most appealing view of it? Ask yourself, would this make me want to buy this?

Editing is your friend, you can use apps like Snapseed to create a consistent edit across your photos.

Following these simple tips will see you on your way to creating epic social content, and it doesn’t actually sound that hard, right? Go on, take your own photo next time instead of spending ages searching for the “perfect” stock photo that’ll never benefit your business.

By creating unique content you are more likely to promote engagement which will help you get to your end goal, whatever that may be. This goal should always be in the back of your mind no matter what your activity.



You can take a look at our social media mantra here to find out more about what we do on our own social accounts and how you can implement it into your own strategy.

Want to learn how to make cool creative content for your business? Take a look at our content workshop where we’ll share with you best practices for making relevant, branded content that aligns with your larger business goals.

Or, maybe you want to learn how to use social media to your best advantage and share your content with the world wide web. Check out our Social Animal training course.



Phone: 01303 765394
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Folkestone Kent CT20 2QY