Professional Photography

Stock or Not

In a prominently visual world, photos on your website can be equally important to the content.

The choice to hire a photographer or to use stock photography. While stock photography may seem like the go-to option based on cost and efficiency, but be sure to weigh in both pros and cons when making your final decision.


  • Stock photography has a large selection of high-quality photos for one to choose from.
  • When you simply don’t have time to hire or plan for a photoshoot, stock photography can be there to use in the click of a button.
  • Low budgets are another convenience with stock photography. With most stock photography websites normally start out around $10 but can become much more expensive in certain circumstances.


  • Stock photography may have that picture-perfect look; however, the photo isn’t explicitly yours and will be sold to multiple users. This means that there is always the chance of seeing the same photo on another website (potentially competitors).
  • Stock photos, whether they are overused or not, typically seem staged or distant making them unrelatable to the user.
  • Licensing tends to open up additional troubles since not all licenses include full usage rights. Usage rights are something you will absolutely want to check into before making any potentially hazardous mistakes and winding up with a pile of legal actions against your business.

Keep in mind that the photos you choose to use on your website can directly impact your search engine ranking. While Google can see that you are using stock photos, it doesn’t penalize you for using them. See what Google Webmaster Matt Cutts says on the topic. Even though Google might not lower your ranking specifically because you are using stock photos, it will notice the user reaction to the photos you are using. As noted in the cons stock photos may come off as unrelatable to the user, this can be the deciding factor for not choosing your business over your competitor, pushing your competitors ranking up.

Concerned that you might be overusing stock photos? Contact us to discuss your photo concerns or to schedule your next photo shoot.