Should You Use Stock Photos For Your Website?
A picture is worth 1,000 words – cliché I know. But the reason for the old saying is because it’s so true. With photography you can decide in a less than a second if you want to continue with a website or keep on moving along.
According to scientists at MIT, it takes us just 13 milliseconds for our eyes to see an image.
You can glance at a picture and get a small idea of what the website or blog post that you’re considering reading is about, which most people prefer. You’ll also get a fuller understanding of the text, and probably read more of it.
How Can I Get A Photo On My Site?
When you need a photograph for your website you should consider the following options:
- Take the photos yourself.
- Hire a professional photographer.
- Find free stock photos online.
- Buy a license to stock photography website.
What are stock photos?
Stock photos are pictures that photographers from all over the world take and sell online for business or personal use. The images are collected in databases that allow you to search for the exact style of photograph you’d like. They’re available with a large number of online vendors like Veer, Corbis and Shutterstock.
Why Should You Use Stock Photos?
Most companies who need online images use stock photos because
- It’s easy and convenient
- You don’t have to plan a photo-shoot, hire a photographer or edit photos.
- While it may take you some time to find the perfect picture, it’s a lot easier than taking the photos yourself.
How To Select Unique Stock Photos
When looking for a picture on a stock website, make sure to find the unique ones. Don’t just look at the most popular shots; try digging through the pages. We have all seen the tired stock photos of businessmen in a conference room, people holding a globe up to the sky, or someone eating a salad while laughing (which someone made a hilarious tumblr about.)
Depending on the license, you can usually modify a photo. That means cropping or changing the color. This can help if you’re using a popular photograph but still want to make it seem unique.
Just keep in mind: try and find natural, unstaged pictures. It will make your website stand out and keep your visitors interested.
When Should You Not Use Stock Photos?
When you’re a business website, believe it or not, there are many times you should try to avoid a stock photo. Do not use the usual, boring stock photos that nearly every other business website has – especially in your own category.
If you can afford it, take your own pictures, or select from stock carefully. This will make your website uncommon, personal and memorable. This also helps if you are trying to brand your company and differentiate it from others.
Using a stock photo that is on 300 other websites will not give it that feel.
Know Their Rights
If you are unsure of the proper use for stock photos you can check out this iStockPhoto article here.
The article explains that while you may have purchased a photo, you still have a set of rules that you must follow.
For example, you cannot use a picture as a part of your business name, redistribute the photo or use it to depict a model in a sensitive way.
Where can I find stock photos?
No matter what kind of stock photo you are looking for, there is a way to find it. You may be able to find it for free, or you may have to pay for it. There is a plethora of websites to find them on. Check out some of my favorite free and paid ones here:
Top Free Websites:
- http://picjumbo.com/ – premium feature available
- http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ – premium feature available
Top Paid Websites:
If you happen to use these websites, make sure that you find the appropriate license associated with them and always credit the author! Using stock photos is not a bad thing, just make sure to be particular and stand out from other businesses.