STOCK PHOTOS: Easy, Convenient, and Bad for Your Brand
When it comes to branding, standing out from the competition is one of the main goals, especially for new start-ups. In a digital world where users are constantly bombarded with advertising clutter, a lot of which looks similar, it can sometimes be difficult to catch their attention. You want to make sure your brand comes across clear, consistent, and most important, authentic. Authenticity is the key to gaining consumer’s trust and respect within the market place. No two companies are identical; find your niche and promote it.
One way to give your website an authentic look and feel is to avoid using stock photos. Investing in custom graphics helps your brand stand out among the rest of the cookie cutter sites on the internet. Here’s why:
Have you ever visited a website and felt like the graphics didn’t relate to the brand? When it comes to graphics and photos, they should be just as unique as the brand’s personality. Your graphics are the visual representation of your brand, and they should work in unity with the other elements on your website. Now, if your brand doesn’t have a unique personality, then that’s another issue within itself.
There’s no argument that stock photos are an easy and convenient way to add imagery to your website. That’s what makes stock photos so popular. However, because they’re so convenient, many companies use them. Have you ever seen the same graphic or photo on multiple websites? Now imagine if you and your competitors are using the same stock image. Not a good way to differentiate yourself.
It Looks Sketchy
There’s no way to sugar coat this so here we go: websites that only use stock photos look downright unprofessional. The truth is that internet users are just as shallow as people are in real life, and they make judgments about your brand based off looks just as much as the quality of your product or service. Websites that look dull and flat, with little visual stimulation, are less likely to attract/hold user’s attention. How can you generate sales if your users can’t take your website seriously?
Now that we’ve discussed why it’s best to avoid the use of stock photos on your website, it’s time to get into how to customize your own graphics. If you absolutely have to use stock photos, there are simple ways you can customize them to make them your own. Here are a few tips that are quick, easy, and require little-to-no Photoshop skills:
Remove the Background
One of the simplest ways to improve a stock photo is to remove the background, especially if only the model is needed. This is specifically important for websites with colorful backgrounds. It looks unprofessional and haphazard to have an image trapped within a white box against a colored background. Just don’t do it.
Overlaying text is also a great way to personalize a stock photo. Simple, yet effective. You can add an inspirational quote or a clever call to action.
Online Design Tools
Photoshop is expensive. We get it. However, there’s no need to pay for expensive creative software or bare the shame of stock photos, because there are multiple online sites that offer free design tools. The best part? It doesn’t look like it was created on a free design site! Stunning AND cost effective! PicMonkey is a free online image editor and a great alternative to Photoshop because it has a lot of the same features.
If creative software like Photoshop and Illustrator just isn’t your forte, there are companies that will create custom graphics specific to your brand. At Blayzer Marketing, specialized branding, like these customized graphics, is what we do best, and we’d love to hear from you.