Images are an integral part of website design. They offer visual interest and serve a great purpose in illustrating services, faces of companies, business personality, and more. When hiring a professional isn’t something your company can afford, turn to stock photography.
I spend a good portion of my time searching images to use for websites and let me tell ya….there is some BAD stock photography out there!

I find the hardest categories in which to find decent stock images are those involving people. Consider these tips to help avoid cliché images and fond the right people photos for your marketing.

1: Keep Your Images Current

Past fashion horrors are in the past and for good reason. They don’t need to be showing up in your hip, modern marketing design. Look for images in which the subject is wearing stylish, yet clean and not distracting clothing.

Also, take note of the environment and technology in the images. If you’re looking for an image of someone holding a cell phone make sure it’s not a 1989 Zack Morris style phone.

Unless your marketing is ironic or satirical stick to current, modern photos your viewer can relate to.

2: “Oh, these people are just like me!”

Consider your region of the country in which your target market resides. What do people dress like? What is their behavior? What sort of marketing do they respond to?

In the mid-west, people tend to dress more casually, their overall style is easy and relaxed. While on the other end of the spectrum the East Coast is a more fixed-up, polished chic style, the energy more high-paced and modern.

You want potential leads to be able to connect to your marketing, to feel like they could be a part of your business. If you give them images featuring people that look like themselves they’ll feel comfortable and welcome. Connect to your visitors by keeping the style of the people in your images consistent with your region.

3: Real Environments

While this guy is obviously posed, he’s in the right environment and perfectly illustrates the way a storage business office might possibly look.

While this guy is obviously posed, he’s in the right environment and perfectly illustrates the way a storage business office might possibly look.

We’ve all seen those photos on websites. A person on a bright white background, holding whatever item they’re selling you, smiling that cheesy smile at you. These images leave much to be desired. Do these photos accurately depict your business? Chances are your visitors aren’t going to connect to these photos.

Choose images with people in real settings. If your business is a storage facility, for example, pick photos that show people at a store counter or people actually within the storage rooms. While the places may not be your actual facility, find an image that shows a similar environment.

If you’re going to feature an image shot outside keep in mind your geographical region. What is the terrain like? Are there mountains…or not? If you live in Missouri, for example, you may think twice about using a photo with the subject leaning against a palm tree. Those are in California. If you live in a modest community maybe stick to house photos of a more simple design.

4: Illustrate Diversity in a Less Literal Way

We live in a time where our diversities are embraced, we don’t have to have the blatant literal image. (Think ten people of different ethnic background holding hands around a giant globe.)

Again, consider the region of your target market. Research the community to more accurately represent your audience’s cultural diversity. Using multiple images featuring a single ethnicity, instead of one photo with 12 different ethnic backgrounds, creates a more subtle, but understandable and meaningful illustration of diversity.

5: Sometimes it’s the Little Things

While with stock photography you’re not able to art direct you still should consider the simple aesthetics like composition and lighting. Consider these suggestions when sorting through the 9813950724857 stock photos out there:

  • Choose photos where your subject is well-lit. There’s nothing worse than a photograph that’s too dark or too light.
  • Contrasts tend to grab the eye, consider the colors of your website. If it’s colorful, perhaps use a more muted photograph. If your website is minimal in color look for images with pops of bright colors.
  • Consider composition. Images in which the subject matter is just slight of center are more visually interesting and pleasing.

Time Well Spent

Just remember…if you have no idea what an image is trying to say…neither will your viewers.

Just remember…if you have no idea what an image is trying to say…neither will your viewers.

Finding the perfect people stock photographs can be a little time consuming, but do not become overwhelmed. Taking the time to find those meaningful images will truly shine a light on your business and accurately portray your business’ message.

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