Why Stock Photography Sucks


At Bing Bang, we are a group of positive, open-minded and accepting people (for the most part). We get down with industry trends and like to think we are forward thinking when it comes to all things in the Des Moines Marketing arena. That being said, there are a few trends that have a bad reputation around these parts.

Offenders that take the top spots include:

Vertically shot videos. Just don’t.

Badly lit Instagram posts. Natural light is your friend, embrace it!

And perhaps the shadiest of them all: Stock Photography. The horror!

We all know the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As a leader in Des Moines video production and creators of high quality visual content, we would certainly agree with that statement…in most cases.

Enter stock photography.

What are stock photos, except sucky? Stock photos are professionally shot photographs of common landmarks, events or people that can be bought and sold on the internet for personal or commercial use – and we dislike them for a number of reasons.


Why Stock Photos Suck

First of all, these photos can be spotted from a mile away. We’ve all seen it: an image of a diverse group of 30-something, well-dressed professionals laughing in unison in a brightly lit office. Tammy must be hilarious, am I right? Not only are these images generic and un-relatable, they’re also extremely recognizable…and because they’re so recognizable, they become overused.

As a partner to our clients, our number one goal is to help elevate their brands and create unique experiences for their customers any time they engage with those brands. Any time stock images are used in brand support materials, there is a strong chance that photo has been used before. If a customer were to notice and make the connection, it could easily create a feeling of impersonality and runs the risk of becoming a turnoff. These images are not meant to represent your brand – and shouldn’t be used that way.

Just to give an example of how often stock photos can be repeated, this photo, “Technology in the hands of businessmen” has been used almost 5,000 times on other websites! 5,000! Talk about unoriginal. However, sometimes we find ourselves in desperate times and those times call for desperate measures. If you find yourself absolutely needing to use a stock image, you can always use a reverse image search like TinEye to see just how popular your image is.

The biggest reason why we avoid stock photography in most cases is because they just aren’t friendly. What I mean by that, of course, is that stock imagery can often be very stale, generic and uninviting…much like your snooty great aunt from out East. Now more than ever, people want to do business with….you guessed it! People. These infomercial-esque images are actually driving customers away because of the impersonal vibe they send out. Lame.

But, there’s hope…we wouldn’t leave you feeling hopeless like that! There are several things you can do rather than use stock photography!


Lifestyle Shoots

Ah, we love lifestyle shoots! Scheduling a lifestyle photo/video shoot of your organization is a great way to capture your culture, environment and tell your unique brand story. Visual content that speaks to your customer and is a genuine representation of what your business is about is a great way to make a connection with your current and prospective customers. Especially when that content lives on places like your website, the images instantly click and give a person the feeling that they’re dealing with real people instead of a robot behind a computer screen. Bing Bang has completed several of these lifestyle shoots for our clients over the years and it’s resulted in great content for their brand that has legs to last for years to come. As one of the few Des Moines marketing agencies that specializes in photo and video, it’s one of our favorite things to do! If this is ever something you’re interested in for your business, hit us up!

Use Your Own!

You’ve got skills, use them! Don’t discredit your own photography, as it tells a lot about you and your interests. Heck, when you’re done, post it to Instagram, but don’t forget your hashtags. Since we’re kind of experts in this area, we’d love to help give you a few pointers!

Want to learn more about how non-stock photography can revolutionize your brand and your online presence? Let us know a little more about your needs, and we’ll be in touch!

By |2018-07-19T10:45:13-05:00June 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments