Stock Images or Real Photos (What to use for your website)

Did you know that 65% of the content a person views can stay in a reader's mind when paired with images? The human brain also processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 

These statistics and more highlight the significance of using images for web design.

Unfortunately, many new business owners are unaware of the benefits they can achieve with the use of pictures. Those who know are always in doubt regarding the best selection of images. 

If you are also in the same boat, we are here to help. This article will shed light on the two main categories of photos used in online content: Stock Photos and Real Images.

After going through this post, you will be able to decide which type of images are the right fit for your site. So, let's begin: 

What are Stock Images?

Stock photos refer to the readily available supply of images that you can choose for your own design project. They are offered in numerous categories, allowing marketers to use these images in various online marketing materials, book covers, packaging, etc. 

You can get stock pictures for free on numerous sites. But you can also purchase them from various sources online. The difference between the two is quality and uniqueness. Paid images are high in quality and less likely to be overused in the online world, which is not often the case with free stock photos.

When Should You Use Stock Photos?

Here are a few different scenarios when stock photos are the ideal choice: 

  • When you have a budget constraint

Most small business owners invest in website designing during the start of their business. And in many cases, there is a shortage of funding to settle all areas of the design process. This is where you can consider stock photos as the most affordable option to fill in the visual gaps in your website. 

  • When competitors are using stock images

You might have done a competitor analysis and determined the type of photographs they are using in their campaign. You can do the same if those competitors are getting great engagement from stock photos. 

Using stock pictures will also save you time to focus on your core business tactics. Otherwise, your rivals will make the most of this time and grab the entire market. 

  • When you do not have enough time

Getting original photographs takes time. For starters, you will have to arrange a professional photographer, models, and locations for the shoot. Once the pictures are shot, there will be a long wait for post-processing edits to be completed.

All this can be time consuming. If you are in a hurry to have your photos uploaded, take advantage of stock pictures for immediate access. 

  • When taking real photos looks difficult or impossible

Taking real images may not be feasible in every business. For instance, if you belong to the travel industry, taking photographs of every destination might not be possible. Likewise, if you deal in medical products, not every patient will let you take a picture. Therefore, you need to use stock photos. 


What are Real Photos?

As the name implies, real or original photographs are the ones taken either by you or your photographer. Anyone else cannot use these photos as you have their copyrights. Depending upon your needs, you can adjust the angles, lighting, and focus areas. Plus, they are customized specifically for your brand so they emerge as more authentic.  

When to Use Real Photos?

Real photos are ideal for some situations, such as:

  • When budget and time is not an issue

After investing in all core business activities, you can hire a photographer if you still have a reasonable budget. However, do not forget that you need to bear some additional expenses besides the photographer fee. It can be the commuting cost or the cost of studio rent. Likewise, you can easily opt for real photos if you have enough time before making your website live. You might need to go for shoots along with the photographer and suggest edits. 

  • When you cannot compromise on quality

If we compare stock and real photos in terms of quality, then real images are near perfect.” Look at your industry and see what competitors are using. If they are using real photos, you cannot afford to compromise on quality. 

When visitors look at the best quality photos on your site, those images will create a positive impression. However, if they notice you’re using cliché photos, they might not consider your brand as reliable. 

  • When you are trying to stand out with uniqueness

If you have made up a strategy of targeting prospects by winning their trust, you need to use only real photos. Many business owners talk about brand loyalty, trust, and uniqueness on a website's homepage. But, they use ordinary stock photos in the inner pages, which looks odd. On the flip side, real images showcase authenticity, so website visitors can never question your credibility. 

  • When business nature requires only real photos

You only need real photos to showcase your work mainly if you belong to some specific fields. For instance, if you have a makeup studio, you need real images of your clients to let visitors know about your talent. If you use stock images, prospects will never know how you can change their look after the makeup. 

Final Verdict

In short, the selection between real and stock photos primarily depends on your business objective. Besides this, budget, time, and industry trends are a few other considerations. Stock and real photos both have their benefits and drawbacks for your site. Consider all the above scenarios and decide which option can better portray your business image. And if you need additional professional advice regarding your website, give us a call at 480.219.9069.

1 thought on “Stock Images or Real Photos (What to use for your website)”


    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from other sites.

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