The list of experts that are buzzing about the power of visuals is comprehensive, yet their message is simple: Marketers and presenters must use great visuals to communicate effectively. 

So, whether you are uploading a presentation to SlideShare, posting new content on the company blog, or connecting with your customers on Facebook and Twitter, you need creative, sophisticated visuals. Thus, it is inevitable that at some point you will be required to navigate stock photography sites, or at least manage content projects that involve stock photography.

To get the most out of your stock photography budget, use these few tips as a guide.

#1: Be intentional.

According to a study by John Hopkins University, irrelevant pictures make content more challenging for viewers to comprehend, especially in presentations. Don’t let arbitrary images decrease the potential of your content. Know clearly what you want to communicate visually, and what impact you want to have on the viewer.

Be purposeful even when selecting images for blog headers or other locations that allow for more poetic image choices. Consider the emotional impact, current trends, and cultural meanings of images before making your final image selection.

Remember, an image is not necessarily an appropriate fit just because it is listed among the results for a search query on a stock photo site.

For example, the image below was the first result for a search query with the keywords conversion optimization. You can likely stretch your imagination to make a creative connection between this photo and website optimization, but your understanding of conversion optimization will not be enhanced by this photo. A random photo like this might do more harm than good.

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

The image below, which was on the second page of the conversion optimization search results, is a more effective image for the topic.

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

#2: Be critical.

Stock photo sites are notorious for cheesy images that can turn a serious presentation or article into an office joke. You can identify joke-inducing images by the awkward expressions of people engaging in activities that are obviously forced and fake. In addition, watch out for images that feature amateur models, or unprofessional lighting.

The images below, which are results for the keyword business on a professional stock photography site, are prime examples of images that you should avoid.

All three photos need to be sharpened and color corrected. Also, the three images feature models in ridiculous poses against an all-white background. Hilarious, right?

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

#3: Be creative.

Photos that will enhance your content will most likely feature models who look at ease in a real-world setting. Also, professional images usually look like they were shot with all-natural lighting, and show subjects from a creative angle. The images below are results from the same site and search query as the images featured above.

Notice how the images below don’t look forced; the models look natural in their environment. Also, the backgrounds are an upgrade from the white backdrop in the previous images. Overall, these images have a more artistic and sophisticated look and feel.

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

#4: Be persistent.

If you are unhappy with the results of your search, revise the keywords in your query. For example, instead of searching for business, try searching for business vintage, business modern, or business black and white. Included below are examples from those search queries.

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Stock Photography Advice For Presenters And Marketers

Conclusion:  Great photos are out there, you just need to know how to find them. Take the extra time to find images that will add value to your message and enhance your credibility. Your efforts will be rewarded.

Want to learn more about the power of visuals?

Check out: The Power of Visuals: 10 Facts You Need To Know





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