When you’re looking for images to use on your website, social media, or blog posts, the options available can be overwhelming. Finding images that are available for you to use under copyright law and that look professional isn’t as easy as it sounds.
That’s partially because there are a lot of bad stock photos out there–really, really bad ones. Stock photos like this:
We know truly bad stock photos when we see them, but what is it that makes them bad? How can you tell a good stock photo from a bad stock photo? We figured out the formula.
Bad Stock Photos
Bad stock photos can fit under a few different categories. There are the business-themed stock photos that feature exaggerated facial expressions and the required suit and tie. There are the artistically blurred stock photos of objects sitting on desks.
And don’t forget about the cringe-worthy vector images of conceptual ideas (this one’s harder to describe, but you’ll see examples below).
Examples of Bad Stock Photos
Good Stock Photos
Good stock photos are easy to point out. They’re visually appealing, look professionally done, and don’t feature outlandish scenarios or facial expressions (unless that’s what you’re going for).
The site we use to source stock photos from, 123rf, has a great selection of stock photos, and if truth be told, we had more trouble finding really bad stock images than we did finding really great ones.
What makes a good stock photo?
Good stock photos have a clear point of focus. There isn’t too much going on in the frame, and the image should be crisp and clear. They are taken with the rules of composition and lighting in mind. They don’t rely on stereotypes to convey a message (unlike our friend with the pink piggy bank representing saving money above).
Good stock photos can take an average blog post or web page and make it pop. And when visitors see great images on your site, they trust you more. After all, if you’re so focused on your business and content that even the stock images you use are great, there’s a good chance you provide amazing service to your customers.
Examples of Good Stock Photos
See how much cleaner and appealing these images are than the first batch? They feature scenarios that look realistic, or show a new way to view existing objects (like the laptop looking through to the trees). Interesting visual angles, bright colors, and clean lines make these stock photos look professional and enticing.
Bad stock photos are great for a laugh, but terrible for your business. If you can’t find a great stock image to use for your idea, consider creating an image using Canva or a similar app. Remember: We are visual creatures, so the photos you use to market and promote your business are very important. Choose your stock photos wisely!
If you’re looking for amazing stock photos, check out our blog post: 10 Sites to Find Amazing Free Stock Photos