Stop the Madness: 5 Stock Photography Mistakes to Avoid

young woman holds her face in horror

Stock photography seems like the cheap and easy option, and it can be — but beware of these common mistakes and mishaps.

A lot of the mistakes people make with stock photography can be averted. I’ve rounded up the top no no’s that you’ve probably run into either on your own site or others.

Don’t Steal

Copyright Infringement is a real issue to pay attention to when adding photos to your website. Sadly, there are still people who believe that any image they find in Google Search is fair game. These people also probably don’t floss everyday either.

There are two types of photos you need to pay attention to, even on paid stock photography sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.com: rights-managed and royalty-free.

Rights-managed images have more restrictions on how they can be used, and you may have to contact the creator to inform them how you’d like to use their work.

Royalty-free images have more freedom but still have restrictions in place such as how many times you can use the photos (such as on your website, brochures, newsletters, etc). They also may bar you from adding the photo to any product you plan on selling. Click here to view what to look for!

What a silly thief, but hey the pic is royalty-free!

You can always try the free stock photography sites on for size. The images on these sites are usually royalty- and headache-free. And wow! Someone wrote a blog about such magical free sites.

Avoid the Cliche

Most of us have witnessed bad stock photography. How many times have you seen a Customer Support image of a woman with a headset? I work on our Support Team, and no one has provided me a headset. Maybe I’m missing out.

I wonder what it’s like to work in a white void.

A good tip on not choosing overused photos is to avoid the most popular pictures in the search results. Consumers prize authenticity, and having generic photos does not inspire confidence. If you think the photo might be cheesy, just say no!

What? You don’t end all your meetings with a group high-five?

Take Note of Your Layout

You’ve found a perfect, royalty-free unique image on Shutterstock, but there’s another hurdle to clear: your website layout. Does your homepage have sliders that beg for a landscape-oriented image? While some images can easily be flipped or mirrored to fit an area, beware of any text on the image when doing so. Otherwise, the words will be backwards, and the jig is up.

Download High-Res Images

Regardless of where you find a stock photo, please download the highest resolution you can. It can always be downsized, but there’s no hope for a small blurry image that you love but can’t use.

Just Hire a Photographer

Okay, okay. This is probably cheating, but I do have a point! There are times when you can find a great stock image for your site, but other times you may need to outsource out to a photographer. As we say here at Infomedia, your website is your virtual storefront. If you’d like to build trust in your company, it pays off to invest in custom photography.

Don’t believe me? Hop on over to Carrie’s blog about Stock Photography vs. Original Photography.

And Infomedia can help you do it, too — our photographers are masters at creating fantastic shots within the parameters of your budget. Want our team of experts to help you take your website to the next level, including finding great images that represent your company? Contact us today and let’s chat!

woman smiles for a portrait photo for Infomedia

A born organizer and go-getter, Mary Katherine is a wizard when it comes to deciphering scheduling apps and puzzling our complicated schedules together so projects get done right — and right on time. She can coorelate, catalog and coordinate with the best of them, and her experience as a web designer and forays into the world of SEO mean she can come in with the assist on projects big and small. Mary Katherine worked in theater in New York City before coming to Infomedia; if all the world’s a stage, we’re glad she’s shined her spotlight back in Birmingham.


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