Get rid of overused stock photos with these planning tips and resources

Marketers use a lot of images.

In an average week, 42.8% of marketers surveyed publish at least five visuals and 40.8% use two to five images, according to a study by Venngage.

Sourcing and organizing all those images takes up a lot of the content marketing team’s time. That’s why so many teams rely on image banks filled with cheap (but sometimes cliché or less than ideal) options.

You can cut that work and end up with better images with some planning. Try these tips to create your own “stock” photography library and keep your list of other inventory resources up to date.

Plan to do more with the images you’ve captured

Many companies create customer stories, profiles, case studies, and testimonials. If your company does, find out if a professional photographer will take pictures to assist. Then, plan on enlisting the photographer to capture a few extras.

Check out this photo in a customer story Stearns Bank about Danielle Bennett who works for a real estate group sought the bank’s help in financing an upscale living community:

An image of a woman smiling and sitting at her desk.

A brief review shows that this appears to be the only image of Danielle or her office in their digital marketing materials. But imagine if Stearns turned this need for customer story images into a photo session to capture some “available” images for other assets, such as blogs and social media. . For example, with the subject’s permission, a photographer can create images, such as a woman working on a computer, a glass-walled office, or a close-up of a hand holding a pen and write in the notebook.

TBH Creative regularly does that kind of multi-tasking photography for the company and its clients, Joy Olivia Miller , said content strategist at the company . (Joy worked with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Don Dry early in her career.)

Photographers take pictures for websites, social media, presentations, email campaigns, signature graphics, case studies, downloadable content syndications, etc. Use one-off content for other marketing and promotional assets, such as store posters, in-store digital displays, events, banners, and booths.

“We can get a lot out of these branded photo shoots… because we plan so much in advance,” says Joy.

Get the most out of branded photo sessions by planning #photography for a variety of #ContentMarketing or @tbhcreative’s Joy Miller via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click to post a Tweet


9 Key Trends for 2022

What will really make your content stand out, unforgettable, and impress your audience in 2022?

CMI and PlayPlay interviewed 24 veteran content professionals from companies like Nasdaq, SAP, Prudential, Zoom and Convince & Convert to bring you this guide, breaking down what you need to know about trends. this important. Hear from digital marketing influencers like Kim Garst, Matt Navarra, Joe Pulizzi, Mark Schaefer, Neal Schaffer, and more!

Download your copy today

RELATED CONTENT TO BE CLICKED: 3 Great visual storytelling examples

How to make the most of a photo session

Joy shared the planning tips she relies on for effective photo sessions:

  • To aim timeless image . Make sure the subject is not wearing trendy clothing or dated patterns of the image. Simplify the background image and ask the audience to wear branded colors.
  • Do light test before shooting to make sure the space suits the photographer’s needs. Are the backdrops and lights suitable? Are there enough stores? If not, is natural light enough to create the look you want even on a gray day?
  • Prepare props. For example, if a person is going to use the computer in the photo, is the screen Ready? Does it show proprietary data that you don’t want the viewer to see? Do you have another sweater or jacket available to swap out for a different look on the model?

To make the most of your photographer’s time and make sure you have enough images for primary and secondary use, follow this advice from Joy:

  • Shoot in multiple directions. Take photos in portrait and landscape formats.
  • Close-up and wide shot for more flexibility with images.
  • Set up the scene to suit adding a theme or message a little later. For example, if an executive isn’t available for a group shot, leave space for her in the photo. Or capture a blank screen or whiteboard where you can add and change product photos and messages.
  • Get periodic photos of your company . For example, get an image of your building to use on your website and Google My Business listing.
  • Don’t just rely on the photographer. Take your own pictures to give viewers interesting things to see. You can share them to give viewers a glimpse of objects in more comfortable contexts.

Once you receive the images from the photo session, you can use them for the main purpose and classify them so that they are accessible in a visual asset library when content marketers and others need an image for another purpose.

TIP: Make sure all pictures taken at a photo session are okay owned and licensed by you for commercial use, say Kamyar Shah business consultant.

Ensure that all # images taken at a photo session are owned by you and licensed for commercial use, say @bsnscnslt via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click to Tweet

Skip the ‘stock’ stock sites

Of course, it takes time to build your internal image library. Even if you have, sometimes you may need to switch to commercially available stock photography. Almost 30% of marketers in the survey Venngage say they use stock photos, but only 8.9% of them said the stock photos helped them achieve their marketing goals.

Nearly 30% of marketers say they use stock #photos, but less than 10% of those feel stocking photos has helped them achieve their goals, according to a study by @Venngage via @ AnnGynn @CMICContent. Click to Tweet Problem? Existing photos may appear unoriginal. Marketers often rely on the same, old images from the most popular stock photo sites. Your audience may have seen that guy standing in front of the conference table on many websites. That happy family? Yes, they show up in different situations in half a dozen pieces of content from six different companies.

Another problem? Your audience doesn’t see themselves or anyone else with them. Despite the many advancements, whites dominate in choices, as well as stereotyped roles and families. And that was a mistake.

Research by Microsoft Advertising, The Psychology of Inclusion and Effects in Advertising , was found in 60% of people to trust brands more and think those brands are more authentic when they reflect diversity in their advertising. The same survey also found that purchase intent for “most inclusive” ads – which includes people of all ages, genders and ethnicities, all with some form of disability – is 13 high. score higher for the “most engaging” ad and 23 points higher than all ads displayed.

“We need more inclusive photos and more images with equal power,” said the marketer. Penny Gralewski .

We need more comprehensive and powerful photos in #ContentMarketing, @virtualpenny said via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click to Tweet

Try out these diverse image collections

To help with that process, here are a few sites to visit for a wide variety of images and include:

  • CreateHER Stock features “women infatuation,” said Penny, who learned about the site from Christine Michael Carter at Content Marketing World.
  • She Bold Stock introduced by Anita Kirkbridge of Twirp Communications, who says: “The photos are bright and well-composed. There are many people in the pictures. ”
  • AllGo specializes in taking photos of oversized people and Picnoi includes diverse collections of minorities from all walks of life (recommended by Zach Blenkinsopp of Roofing Digital Innovation).
  • WOCinTech there are women of color in tech; Mocha Stock includes cross-cultural photographs and illustrations (recommended by business consultant Kamyar Shah).
  • Diapers focus on Blacks and Browns (recommended by Herbert Louis by Wondershuttle).
  • Gender Spectrum Collection from Vice focus on conversion and non-binary models; Agency issues list of diverse stock photo sites (recommended by Richard Lubicky by RealPeopleSearch).
  • Unsplash provides an extensive, stunning library that is easily recognizable and searchable by photographers; Pexels provides some unusual alternative images (suggested by Beth Kapes word to action).

Request the images you need

If you see a photographer’s image that has some relevance to what you need, contact the photographer to see if they have a different version, says Joy Olivia Miller of TBH Creative.

For example, if you need a photo of a college student in a wheelchair and see a picture of a young man in a wheelchair behind his desk, contact the photographer and ask if they have other versions. . If you see a photo of an elderly male doctor treating a young woman patient, ask the photographer if they have other photos with other models. Joy said, “Sometimes they mix up their shots and let people switch places.

Get more done with planned and extended photo sessions photo vault option will improve your visual content development. You’ll appreciate having a wider selection of relevant images for your content.

And more importantly, your audience will appreciate seeing original, varied, and inclusive imagery that’s right for them.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Ordered to a business day or weekly email from CMI.

Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute


By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *