5 tips for choosing the right stock photos

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Kelly Erickson Mar 1, 2013

How to choose the right stock photos

Stock photos are great, right? No muss, no fuss, just a vast, searchable archive of photographs designed to meet every possible need. Looking for some commentary on hold times? That’s easy enough. How about a unique and eye-catching photo of a beautiful woman? Not difficult at all.

Okay, so there are some bizarre stock photos out there – five minutes on Awkward Stock Photos will prove that. But what happens when the line between a good stock photo and a bad one isn’t as clear as a lobster headdress?

Before choosing a stock photo, consider these five tips:

1) Subject matter: Does it give off the right impression? Does the image represent your target market?
2) Overall theme: Does the photograph “flow” with the other imagery on the site?
3) Colors: The overall color scheme should not conflict with the branding. Look for images that have a “cooler” tone if the website uses lots of greys. Try warm and vivid imagery if it uses bright colors, like red.
4) Quality: Is the image crisp and modern? Is the same model being used elsewhere?
5) Abstract concepts: Use clever metaphors, not tired clichés.

It is also generally a good idea not to mix topless women and sea creatures, despite this being surprisingly popular with stock photographers.

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