How to Choose Authentic Stock Photos

Many people think that stock images are a bad idea because they look staged and “stock”. The truth is they just don’t know how to search for unique and authentic stock photos. Stock photos can be as genuine and impactful as images produced in photoshoots, too. It just comes down to sorting through millions of choices on the photo web.

Here are some actionable tips to help you find authentic stock photos for your creative projects:

  1. Determine the purpose of the stock image. Where are you going to use the images? If you don’t take the time to really understand what they are used for, you could end up with photos that look out of place or clichéd. But when you know the purpose of the images, you can avoid all the guesswork that plague stock images. That includes the use of images with unsuitable content.
  2. Know what makes a stock photo inauthentic. To choose authentic stock photos, you need to know the qualities of “stocky” images. Inauthentic images lack personality. Usually, they lack people’s faces. They may also use too-literal features such as the word “business” to emphasize that the image is about such. Moreover, they usually have wide-angle shots. This is not entirely bad, but it robs the image of relatability.
  3. Choose images that complement your message. The authenticity of the stock photo also shows on how closely it supports your subject and connects with your message. Don’t use the images simply to have an image with your content. You need to showcase the appropriate one – an image that complements your message and doesn’t drown it.
  4. Choose stock photos with people’s faces. It’s not just any image of a person. It should include smiling faces because studies show that a smiling person inspires people to feel positively about your brand. As a result, your conversion rates and revenues are boosted. Authentic stock images with people’s faces should be looking right at the camera, well-lit and well-defined.
  5. Use a realistic context. Select stock images that show some degree of realism. When they realistically depict an aspect of your project, they help make a bigger connection with your audience. For instance, use an image of a busy airport rather than the sunny beach when you are working on travel or vacation related projects.
  6. Use filters to narrow your search results. This is one of the best things about buying images from stock photo agencies. You can make use of filters to help you find what you are looking for quickly.

Stock photos are important the success of your creative projects. The right image can lead to greater results. But, not all images are created equally. There are high quality images, but others lack uniqueness and authenticity. The latter don’t do well because your audience are extremely skilled in discerning images that look real from those that are “stocky”.

If you seek success, you need to know how to choose authentic stock photos from a plethora of other images. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this. Just follow the above tips and steer clear of generic images.