EJM Designs Limited Blog

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stock Photos: Yea or Nea?

iStock Kids Umbrella

I've recently been through a couple experiences that have made me question the use of stock images. A month or so ago I heard from one of my clients that they would not use stock images because of a recent study that showed that people are recognizing stock images. I took it under consideration, but still used (and continue to use) some stock images when helping my clients put their sites together. Then, two weeks ago, I was grabbing images from another client's suggested list when I saw the image above at iStockPhoto. My first thought was: [That first client] was right!

The above image, as mentioned, was pulled from iStockPhoto, as is obvious from the watermark. But as soon as I saw it, I recognized it as the home page (and some ATMs) photo of Fifth Third Bank.

They've recently made some changes to their home page, but I saw that kids with umbrella image on the ATM display no less than 2 days ago.

So what are your thoughts on whether or not people should use stock photos? At one level, people are not stupid; they realize that they are looking at idealized representations of what you are creating or selling. On another level: FAKE! And on a third and most realistic level, web budgets can handle a couple, professional stock photos. Can they handle a photographer?

I'd love to hear what you think. Hit me in comments.

1 comment:

  1. As a designer, I always encourage original photography in web and print, both because of exclusive rights and the unique flavor it brings to a piece (or site).

    Unfortunately, with tighter deadlines and tighter budgets, rarely does a client want to spring for what they see as an unnecessary cost. Professional photography is expensive and tough justify when you've got a hard sell even getting the client to print on a decent stock!

    Sites like iStockphoto and StockXpert have affordable, quality images, but they have also created a sort of free-for-all as far as stock photography goes. You see the same $10 images everywhere.

    It makes a good argument for clients to purchase that $115 image from Veer or Punchstock. Even though they are still royalty-free and you can't guarantee that a competitor won't use it, the photo is a lot less likely to be seen somewhere else.