Stock images can be very helpful when you don’t have any of your own content to use. They’re usually free or come at a nominal price. They allow you to meet deadlines with minimal stress. And they are easy to acquire.

The imagery you use online is how people will identify your brand, so if you’re using the same stock images as another business how will anyone differentiate? Essentially, you are weakening the integrity of your own brand when you do this. You also risk coming off as generic and unoriginal.

But Wait, I’ve Seen That Before!

But, more importantly, do you really know where else those images are being used online? When you use images that are readily available to anyone on the internet, there’s a very good chance someone else is too. And that image you used may be on another site with a message you do not want to be associated with your own brand.

In advertising and marketing, nothing is more essential than high-quality imagery. They say a picture is worth 1000 words, so try not to be lazy and allow your audience to see the same overused image that everyone else is using? Your audience will start to think that they have already seen that post and continue on their scroll, completely missing your ‘carefully’ crafted post.

But What If I Have No Choice

If you must use stock images, change them up as much as possible. Play with layers and blur the background, brighten the foreground, change the color of a woman’s lipstick — that type of stuff. You can also cut out an element like a person or object from a stock image and use it in a new and unique graphic. You don’t have to avoid stock images, but rather make them your own and add a bit of your brand’s flair.

How To Avoid Issues With Stock Photos

After putting a tonne of time and effort into a campaign the last thing you want is to see someone else using the same photo as your business or brand. How to avoid this? You have two choices: maintain the exclusive rights (for a set time and particular purpose) or have your own photoshoot. With the later option you have the creative freedom and can curate something tailored specifically to your brand’s image. Your online (and print) presence will also be more cohesive.