Stock photography agencies started to reach prominence in the latter half of the 1990’s. At the time, they were filling a necessary void in both the digital and print worlds for cutting costs and saving resources. Many businesses since have benefitted enormously from having an extensive portfolio of brandable images to choose from. This has made the overall process of web design much easier and cost-effective than it was prior to that date.

There’s just one problem. A lot has changed in the decade and a half since.

The stock image market, owing to its incredibly accessible convenience, has now become so overused, that we’re seeing duplicate stock images. Ironically, this was something that the industry was created to address. This is quite a feat when we consider the amount of stock photos available at any time, and the probability of two businesses choosing exactly the same image from such a diverse portfolio. Getty Images has over 80 million alone, as a reference point.

Conversely, easy-to-use phone apps, such as Instagram, as well as a huge increase in the amount of free stock websites, has seen the overall quality of the stock image industry fade in recent years. When first initiated, stock photography showcased the same depth as conventional photojournalism. Now, stock images are relatively easy to spot, owing to the oversaturation in the industry of freelance photographers and designers.

This might seem like we’re suggesting that you should avoid stock photography at all costs, which is not our intention. Rather, greater care must be taken when investing in stock images. The ideal mixture would be stock images with your own work for the overall presentation of your website design. This has become more important with Google’s recent algorithm change – the quality update – which will look at the clarity of the message that any desktop or mobile site conveys to the user.


To aid you in selecting perfect stock images, we’ve come up with a short list of things to look out for when looking to invest in licensed photographs:

  • Study the message – Many website developers fall into the trap of looking for images in categories, rather than images for quality. Study the potential for the image to convey the written content on your site. Does it carry the message well, or not at all?
  • Avoid “polished” photos – Scenes that are overly staged will reflect that in their final product, and it’s important to look for images that represent reality.
  • Does it fit in with your brand? – Many web developers still choose images that do not fit in with the overall appearance of their website. This is a critical problem for eCommerce web design, where the potency of the store can be easily lost through an overuse of dissimilar images.

At IT Consulting Company, we understand the powerful, visual impact that photography can pass on to viewers of your page. We can create images that will both convey your message and resonate with your audience. You can contact us on 1300 770 119 at any time to speak to one of our digital consultants, who will be more than happy to show you exactly how we can enhance the visual potency of your website.

Are you a fan of stock images? How many do you use in your own design?

Stock photography agencies started to reach prominence in the latter half of the 1990’s. At the time, they were filling a necessary void in both the digital and print worlds for cutting costs and saving resources. Many businesses since have benefitted enormously ...

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