Cheesy Stock Photography Is No Joke

Cheesy Stock Photography Is No Joke

stock-photos-vince_3219825kEarly last month we were all really amused with the marketing gimmick employed by iStock, Getty Images and Fox to promote the movie Unfinished Business. The campaign showed Vince Vaughn and other cast mates Photoshopped into cheesy/boring stock images. As part of the promotion, all rights were granted for using these images without any cost.

Although the concept was incredibly hilarious, finding non-cheesy stock images to use in your materials is no joke. The images you use in your brochure, website and sales materials directly reflect on how your company is perceived by customers and sales prospects. Your company image is created by those visuals you choose.

Many companies don’t consider this investment in its visual representation. It comes as an afterthought when building a new website or brochure – and typically without a budget. Fortunately, there are some good low-cost options like iStock available now.  Still, be careful.

We’ve put together a few things to look out for when selecting stock photography.


The person in the photo is WAY too happy to be doing whatever it is they’re doing. It’s just not right.






A group pondering off into the distance. Or star-struck.







stock-photos-vince_3219813kForced unnatural stiff poses.






1425489402-vince-vaughn-appearing-free-cheesy-stock-images-you-can-download-getty-4The barren, white background doesn’t make your site look like Apple’s.





We’ve all seen them. So, in the interest of not being “that company”, here are a few recommendations.

  • If you’re thinking of doing any marketing in the future, build up your image library now. Your marketing company/person will love you for it. And please photograph at a high resolution. With a flash if needed.
  • Hire a photographer. A good professional will work with you to help develop a few core images that represent your company’s essence. This small investment can provide photos that you own and can use for years to come.
  • Take natural photos of your staff while working. Natural photos are genuine, and that’s what you want to convey.
  • Don’t be afraid of stock photography, just work with someone who has the expertise to use it correctly. Find images that have some punch or interesting angles. And there’s no need for stock images to be so literal, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by finding images that convey a concept or mood.
  • Rights exclusive images can also guarantee your photos won’t be seen everywhere. Sometimes these are worth the investment.

Need more cheese?  You can view all 12 Unfinished Business images and their stock photo origins here.

* All images were taken from Getty or iStock

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