How to select “authentic” stock images

Using stock images for digital marketing purposes may have been the norm for many years, but today its use is increasingly being frowned upon. Many people are able to differentiate between “cheesy” stock photos and authentic photography, according to B2C blogger Jared Evers. He offers a few tips on how to use these photos in a more authentic way for email marketing and newsletters:

Overview: The overuse — and perhaps overconsumption — of cliché stock photos has taken its toll, and consumers now increasingly want to see authentic images. The “cheesy” ones, as Evers calls it, are distracting users from the overall marketing message.

  1. 1. Photo collections: Evers suggests using photo collections, which he describes as “sets of photos that a curator or editor has pulled together intentionally and specifically.” They are selected for their quality, and gathered based on a similar theme (topic, vibe or type of photo). Choosing from these collections can also help ensure your email newsletter remains on-brand.

  2. 2. Keeping with the brand:
    Staying on-brand is a more natural way to avoid using “cheesy” photos for your email marketing. This is because the stock images you will be selecting must fit with the email header, logo and design — along with the overall brand aesthetic. Evers adds that the photo layout should look natural “when in context with the rest of the email.”

  3. 3. Avoid popular stock photos:
    Don’t give users the chance to discredit your email newsletter or other digital marketing initiatives by using a popular stock image. Avoid the “featured” or “popular” sections and you should be fine.

  4. 4. Think abstractly:
    You may not always find engaging, captivating and motivating photos if you’re using the same search terms. When this happens, try selecting a photo that does not directly relate to your article headline as it may grab the attention of the user. This can in turn motivate them to actually click on the link. That being said, don’t include a photo that is too far off point either.