Improve Your Stock Photos With These 3 Tips

What do you think when you see this photo? Several questions may come to your mind… Why is she eating such a large salad? Why is their a very natural radiant in the light behind her? Who has a wall like that? Who actually smiles so pleasantly during a meal? If this photo feels a little fake to you, then good. It’s an example of an poor stock photo. Stock photos are the best and worst thing when creating content. Having a good photo could really enhance your blog. However, choosing a poor photo, like the one above, will only frustrate your website visitors. Why? Because consumers have been bombarded with awful stock photos for years. The early 2000’s were the worst! Salad lady and her friends ran wild through the internet. Thankfully, there are a lot of better options. If you’re not in a position to work with a professional photographer, consider these 3 tips for improving your stock photos.

Tip 1: Stop and Think

Let’s consider some of the differences between these two pictures. Which feels more natural? What’s a more likely scene you’d stumble on? Obviously these are two extreme examples, but it illustrates a lot of different points.

  1. Avoid a plain white background. It may work for models, but it doesn’t work for stock photos. Find a more natural looking photo. If you came around a corner, is it a scene you’d actually see?
  2. Dramatic expressions aren’t very natural. Even over the top happiness looks fake. Find the middle range. If you’re trying to convey joy, choose a photo with pleasant people and warm colors. If you’re trying to convey something sad, choose straight faces and cooler colors.
  3. Eye contact is always something to consider. It can be a little creepy looking directly into the eyes of a stock person.

Tip 2: Add Text

Adding text to a photo will help personalize your photo and mask the stock feeling. If it’s the header photo on your website, make it the whole background and put your menu’s and other text on top. Call to actions, announcements, and important text will help your photo take life. Take a look at the difference between this photo with texts, and without texts.

If you just use the photo, your audience will most likely assume you didn’t take that photo. It looks too good. On the other hand, the photo with text changes the focus of the audience. They will read the text before appreciating the photo. Furthermore, the text accompanies the photo in a way that is obvious. Text is a great and easy way to alter a stock photo.

Tip 3: B&W or Blur

Sometimes color can make a photo look very generic. Simply changing the photo from color to black and white can make the difference. If you want to go a step further, applying a blur to the photo will help distinguish it.

The first photo isn’t bad necessarily, but it does feel a little too set up, particularly the angle. No one is going to look at a person from that angle. Remember, we want something natural, not perfect. Changing the photo to black and white obviously isn’t natural, but it simplifies and differentiates the photo from a color one. The blur is another great effect. It changes the photo just enough to make it fresh. Why not do multiple edits? Adding text to a blurred image will make it look even better.

As you can see, there’s no need to suffer with sub-par website photos. You don’t have to know a lot of design to perfect these tricks. Your audience will relate and accept your content more when your photos are fresh and approachable. Check out our blog post about the best stock photo sites to give yourself a head start.


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