Stock photography has been around since 1920s, yet there is still a hint of prejudice in regards to things like utility, accessibility, originality and authenticity of stock photographs. One reason for this skewed perception is perhaps the lack of knowledge in the small changes that shape the industry.
Stumbling on stock photography is just the beginning. You have to understand how to use the images, how to find them and how to fit them into your projects. All of this is a headache for some of the most frequent stock photography users.
To clear the table, we’ll be looking at 10 common stock photography myths and how you can use them more effectively. We’ll also include useful resources and tips for those interested in integrating stock photography into their projects.
Stock photography vs Google images
Are you ready to get involved with potential legal issues? If the answer is no, you might need to think twice before using images from Google that aren’t labeled for reuse. When you use images without proper licenses, you’re illegally taking someone else’s work without credits (as most people like to do) or without compensating the artist/photographer.
Stock photographers upload their images with model and property release forms and work with agencies such as Depositphotos to license those images. Every collection with microstock agencies makes this part of the process to avoid any legal issues. You purchase images and the rights to use them.
Although it is true that stock photography libraries are available to everyone, your search will always be only as good as your ideas. There are a million alternative ways to show similar ideas. If you’re concerned with using the same images as your competitors, do your research and find a fresh perspective.
Microstocks have millions of royalty-free images. Our library as 60+ million and new ones are being added everyday. If you spend time brainstorming concepts and reviewing your model choices, medium and color schemes, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have the exact same images as someone else.
It’s a question of taste
This is perhaps the greatest of all myths and generalizations about stock photography. Of course we’re all familiar with stock photography that looks forced – flooded lighting, fake smiles and poses. Stock photography doesn’t have to be generic or cheesy though. It all depends on how you approach your search.
We know the classical stock photography cliches – the businessmen shaking hands, a happy family smiling away into the camera, a sprout representing growth. Previously, they may have worked well for marketers but stock photography doesn’t stay in place. If you follow current trends, you’ll have a better understanding of the types of images that are in high demand and one thing is for sure – they’re far from ‘stocky’.
Prices and plans
This is very false statement because conducting your own professional photoshoot will cost you thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. These kinds of costs rarely pay off for small businesses and the general customers. Stock imagery is a viable option as it is cost effective.
If you wonder how cost effective it is in comparison, Depositphotos has a Flexible Plan in place where images will cost about $1 each. If you’re putting together a marketing plan and images are a must, this is a great alternative which won’t reflect too much on your budget and provide you a collection of images that you can use for years to come.
A matter of opinion
This statement is far from the truth if you consider that microstock agencies attract photographers from all over the world. It’s a truly international environment with content being updated every single day, down to the minute.
If you’re not finding the images you want, it’s a matter of being more specific and creative with keywords. You might have to go past the first few pages, but rest assured that newer content is somewhere there.
Putting in the effort
It’s a common misconception that you can never find what you’re looking for. Trust us when we say the images are there. What does hold true is that there are certain rules that you ought to know that can facilitate your search and help you find better images.
We understand the struggle, which is also why put together featured collections every week based on popular and trendy topics. These collections are hand selected so you don’t have to spend hours looking for that perfect image.
Stock photography vs your own
One of the biggest challenges with this premise is that costs aren’t considered. As previously mentioned, organizing professional photo shoots is costly. It’s true that if you know exactly what images you want, you can create them with a better sense of direction. However, the time and money you put into the organizational process might not be a better alternative to stock photography which gives you ready-made projects for a fraction of the price.
Level of professionals
This misconception comes from a lack of understanding about the contributors for microstocks. Majority of the photographers that work with Depositphotos, for example, are professional photographers.
What would help is getting to know these photographers a little better. You can find new interviews with our contributors every week on our blog. They share their insights into the stock photography business, share tips with our community of photographers and we also include their portfolios in case clients are interested in their work.
A place and time for free stock photography
It is true that stock photography is an available option, but is it always the better choice? They work similar to photo banks but they have different types of licenses. The libraries are also smaller in size which decreases your chances of finding the right images in line with your theme.
Are we still talking about authenticity?
We’ve already covered that stock photography is always evolving. Authenticity has been the buzzword the past few years. You can rest assured that majority of photographers understand this movement and are edging closer to more authentic photography.
You can conduct your own photoshoots, but you must have enough knowledge about cameras, lighting and post production to produce professional looking images. Kudos to you if you’re knowledgeable in these areas but do entrust the professionals to do the work for you.
The main point to take away from all this is that microstock communities are dynamic and international. Photographers from all over the world contribute their works to make them available for you. They work with themes that are in line with your projects.
Our library is full of vibrant images, aerial shots, wildlife photography as well as whole other sections with illustrations and videos. These different photographers and their unique visions keep stock photography in line with trends so that you can stay inspired and never feel like you’re out of ideas for projects that require visuals.