Avoiding the Curse of the Stock Shot

Avoiding the Curse of the Stock Shot

Apr 10, 2015
  • By Colm Hannon
  • In General
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The rise of the internet brought with it the mass availability of relatively cheap stock photos from generic libraries. And we all flocked to use those seductive photos of shiny happy people (© REM) in brochures and on our new websites, to show how approachable and aspirational our businesses were.

Remember this one? Isn’t that just how your commute to work looks? Er… actually it just says, “we couldn’t think how to depict our business, so we dropped in an idiotic random stock photograph”.

And on your Contact Us page, are you guilty of having this sort of person on view?


“Yes, we actually have phones, with those new-fangled headsets too!”


While all of our meetings end like this… just before we go into the mandatory group hug, of course.

The truth is, there’s no excuse for it. It’s just lazy. And the reader is not fooled. The irony is, it is being perpetuated by just the people that I am mocking. I lifted these offending photos from another article on bad stock shots and at the foot of the article, placed there by an algorithm, was an ad offering “75 Free Stock Shot Photos!” of exactly the kind shown here.

The aim is often to make the company look more substantial. If you are working from shared start-up offices or from your kitchen table, it’s understandable that you don’t want to show the reality of your workplace. But depicting artificially posed, impossibly smart people on your website doesn’t impress. We are not fooled. It’s easy to tell a hollow presentation online, and conclude that the company is not all it seems.

Keeping it Real

The truth is, the false stock photograph has had its day. There’s no excuse for it. With the rise of Instagram, Pinterest and other visual social media, people expect you to serve up real images of yourselves and your products or services in action.

And the simple solution is to commission a talented professional photographer to visit your location(s) – and maybe those of some installations at your customers? That is why we have set up our Corporate Photography unit within Hannon Digital, to take real photos of real people. We know of course how to make you look your best and present the right image to the world. But it won’t be artificial and it means that people will recognise you when you do meet. For professional  LinkedIn profiles as well as the corporate website, it is a must.

And it goes much further than that, or it should do. Take advantage of our photography session to obtain genuine images of your office or factory (having tidied up of course, no-one expects you to show everything ‘warts and all’). We know how to shoot to your best advantage: it’s our job… We can take –

  • Events photographs
  • Office photos
  • Team images
  • Product and service shots
  • Bespoke concept images

Let’s talk (face to face?) about a better and more genuine outlook for your business…