Back in 2008 I worked for a small British design studio. My task was mass creation of templates. The studio heavily relied on stock photography. We had a folder of thousands of pre-downloaded images. It cost a fortune.
Yuri Arcurs got enormously rich taking stock. Maybe you remember his model, Sofie. She was everywhere! A doctor, smiling right at you. A wellness girl jumping on a beach. A serious, yet cute business woman.
Stock was the go-to solution for companies and designers. It was prettier, momentarily available and easy. Everyone was using it. People got used to it. People got indifferent to it.
The new stock
And then came Unsplash. Simple, emotional. A little site that grew quickly to get millions of pageviews every day. No project becomes such a hit with little to no marketing effort if it’s not just what the world needed.
But is Unsplash just a new wave of stock (even easier to use, because it’s free)?
Since I work as a freelance web designer for small companies, I often hear a sentence I dread: "Just put some stock there!"
It is a curse of low-budget projects.
It is CEOs subconsciously giving a message that they don't care about honest depiction of their brand. They don't care about creating emotion, a relationship with their online visitors. A small company to forever remain small.
Do you really want your users to believe the girl they saw on another site is your teammate?
Grab your camera and make photos of your business!
Take pictures of your team working together, of your creative process, of your office or production hall.
It does not have to be perfect, but it is real. Visitors can see the difference.
If they walked into your office, would they see models or real people? Would you show them placeholders or a real product?
If you care about your brand, be honest.
Show who you truly are.