5 ways to make stock photography work for you

We’ve often talked about the value of bespoke photography in presenting a cohesive brand image, but sometimes budgets or timescales dictate that stock is the only option. So how can you make that work to your advantage? Here’s five easy ways to give stock photography the personal touch, with some examples where we’ve done just that.

1. Be location-specific

Pay particular attention to any details within the image that could identify it as another country. For example, there are many instances of British healthcare companies using American stock photography that shows incorrect uniform colours and looks unconvincing. Sometimes, images just don’t feel ‘British’. Keeping this front of mind will help your brand to resonate with your target audiences.

2. Complement your branding

Choosing images that incorporate or complement elements of your branding, such as your colour palette, will help your audience to link the image with your business. 

3. Check the competition

One of the main issues with stock photography is that anyone else can, and will, be using it. Always check your competitors’ content to avoid using the same, or similar, images.

4. Make it your own

Don’t feel that you have to use the whole photo – some judicious cropping or cutouts can change the whole emphasis of an image, and make it more relevant to your message. You could also add text, as we did on this website review spread, or an overlay in your brand colours, as we did for this Hanover Sport brochure below, to keep it all on-brand. A bit of blur – when using as a background behind text – is another way to make it less obviously ‘stock’.

5. Show context

You may be able to use stock photography alongside existing images to plug gaps in your messaging, or to give a more rounded impression of your service, if you can’t find an individual image that says everything you need. By showing a generic shot next to a specific one, you’ll give it meaning and context. A good designer will ensure the link between brand images and stock images is seamless.