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Pros and Cons of Using Stock Images on your Website

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Using attractive photographs or illustrations on your website can be a great way of giving your brand visual appeal. You’re likely to experience significantly more user engagement if you use images, plus they can add to your site’s feel and show the products and services you offer. So, how do you get hold of good pictures? Many companies use stock images to add a little extra touch to their website. However, this approach has its positive and negative sides, as this article will explore.

Stock images are professionally-created royalty-free photographs or illustrations that can be downloaded from a specialist site and used in your designs. Some cost, but you’ll occasionally find freebies.

So is it a good idea to use stock images on your website? Read on for three reasons why it may benefit you, and three more explaining why you may prefer to use your own original images.

Pros of stock images

They’re cheap

If you want to get hold of some great original photos, you’ll usually need to pay a professional photographer quite a significant fee. Plus, depending on their usage, you may also need to pay royalties. Stock images usually require a much lower one-off payment.

They’re quick and easy

You can find stock photos to add to your website at any time, simply by downloading them from the internet. No need to arrange a photographer at short notice and then wait for the images to be sent to you.

They’re usually high quality

While you can do in-depth research and select a photographer with a great portfolio, there’s no telling whether the images they’ll create will be exactly what you want. Stock photographs are usually created by skilled professionals, so you’ll be able to take your pick of some great shots.

Cons of stock images

They are not unique

Because the same stock photos are available to everyone, it’s likely that you and a competitor within your field may end up using the same image, making you both look less genuine.

Stock image creators want their products to be used over and over again by multiple brands so that they can make a profit. Therefore, you’re likely to find very similar-looking images on offer wherever you look. This means there will be fewer options that will provide a truly unique feel.

They may not reflect your brand precisely

Web images are best used when they can help visitors to understand you completely. You may be lucky enough to find stock photography of the exact products you sell. However, more often than not, the images are generic and serve as more of a “nod” to the purpose of your company.

They are not always suited to your purposes

Before you use a stock image, you’ll need to take a look at the terms of its license. It’s a legal requirement to adhere to the creator’s terms and conditions. You may find that you are not permitted to use the image in question for the purposes you intended.

Property Solvers, a firm that helps people sell their homes quickly for a good price avoid using stock images as much as possible. Co-founder Ruban Selvanayagam says: “we find more natural images of properties we’ve actually bought and sold tend to resonate better with people.  Although stock images are well taken, they tend to look a little over-produced”.

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