The appeal of using stock photos on your website or in other places is that you can get exactly what you need for an image immediately. Rather than needing to go out and find the right place to take your own picture – and trying to get a picture that meets your quality expectations – you can just find an existing stock option and be on your way.
With that said, it’s easy enough to wind up making a mistake when picking out a stock photo. If you get it wrong, the finished project won’t be what you had in mind, and you might even do something that offends your customers or causes other problems.
To help you get it right the first time when picking out stock photos, we’d like to highlight five mistakes to avoid.
1 – Ignoring the Importance of Quality
Adding low-quality images to your website is a sure way to come up short of your competition. You always want to represent your brand in the best light, and that’s only going to be the case if you pick quality images. Sure, you might pay a little more to get higher resolution and better photography, but that’s an investment in the future of your business that you should be willing to make.
While it’s always important to pick quality images, it’s particularly critical when you are going to be using pictures in a large format. As pictures get bigger and bigger, any issues with the quality of those image files are going to be exposed. The last thing you want is a large header image on your site that looks pixelated or otherwise degraded. Make sure the images you pick out are going to be up to the challenge of looking great no matter how they are displayed.
2 – Lacking Originality
By the very definition of stock images, you are going to be using pictures that can be used by others. After all, if you are able to purchase a stock image for use on your site, there is nothing stopping your competition from purchasing the same image. That’s just how it goes when you opt for buying stock photos.
But that doesn’t mean you are destined to create something that has the same look and feel as everyone else in your space. By working hard to dig up great images that don’t appear on other sites, and by thinking creatively about what kinds of pictures might make sense on your pages, you can avoid the kind of dreaded sameness that will leave you blending in with everyone else.
3 – The Photos Don’t Match
One thing that you’ll want to keep in mind in the search for good stock photography is it’s best to find pictures that fit in with the overall theme and feel of your website. For example, if the colors featured in the stock image you select are way off in terms of the rest of your branding and style, the picture will look out of place and you probably won’t be happy with the finished product.
Before you even look at any stock photos, think about what colors would make sense based on your branding goals and any existing design elements on your site. Having a framework in mind before you start searching will make it more likely that you’ll end up with something you love, and you might be able to save some time in the search process along the way.
4 – Using Only Stock Photos
We love stock photos, and we are proud to present a great collection for our users to explore. But there will likely be something missing from your site if you only use stock photography and fail to include any of your own original images. Most of the time, it’s going to be a blend of the two that is your best bet for a quality design that connects with your audience.
For example, you might want to quickly take some headshots of the important people in your business. Those pictures can be featured on an About or Bio page, so the site has a personal touch and makes a connection with the visitor. Then, you can feel free to use a range of stock photographs to fill in the rest of the pages and bring everything together. It’s the blending of these two types of photography that is going to help you wind up with a finished product that you will be proud to call your own.
5 – Failing to Optimize Photo Files
Even the best stock photo will be wasted if you fail to optimize the image file when you put it on your site. Because they are often quite large and feature a high resolution, stock image files can be huge. If you just take that file, load it to your site, and expect all to go well, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
A large image file is going to take a long time to load for your users, especially those on mobile devices. As a result, the image might not even fully render before the user has decided to move on. To avoid this issue, you’ll want to have your image files optimized or compressed when they are loaded onto your site. There are plenty of tools available to do this job, and the task takes just a matter of moments. It should be noted that all of the image files on your site, not just the stock photos, should go through an optimization process to make sure they aren’t any bigger than what is absolutely necessary.
To choose from a great selection of beautiful, affordable stock photos and images, explore Planet Stock Photo today. We think you’ll love the options you find here, and our easy-to-use interface makes it easy to track down the ideal photos for your next project. Thank you for considering us!