Should You Use Stock Photos?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I was reading an article about using stock photos. In this case, it was about hotel property websites but the ideas apply to most commercial websites.

I’m not a fan of using stock photos. For many clients, the cost is an issue, but there are other reasons not to use them.

There are a good number of royalty-free photo sites online. The contributors are often professionals but even the amateurs are generally quite good. Pixabay is one of those sites.

Stock photos can be generic and impersonal. They may represent your industry but not your brand.  The fees for using a local professional photographer to shoot photos specific to your business may be cheaper and better suited to your brand. Be sure you are buying all the rights to the images and that they won’t be reused – possibly on a competitor’s website.

Original photography is always the best option because it is specific and because there are no issues with rights. DO NOT grab images found on the Internet that are not identified as royalty-free and get into trouble that will co$t you.

Orignal might even be photos the client can provide or may have a friend who is a good photographer. Another danger of stock photos is that since you don’t own exclusive rights, they may show up on other (competitor) websites.

Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

Some definitions:

Royalty-free image: When you buy a royalty-free image from a stock photo site, you can use it as many times as you like after you buy the license. Royalty-free images have no right to exclusivity, whereas other stock imagery categories may have this right.

Rights-managed image: For competitive reasons, the buyer may demand terms in their stock image license that prevent other entities from using the same photo. Rights-managed images may have fluctuating market value based on their size, exclusivity rights and usage.

Public domain: This category is free stock photos that you can use without buying a license. The free images that comprise this category have no usage limitations and generally do not require attribution.