In our last tech talk we discussed the three ways your photography might be killing your website. I could almost hear you all yelling at me: well, sometimes stock photos are the only option. Alas, I know this to be true. As such, today I'm sharing my three rules for using stock photos when finding photos for your website. Finding Photos for Your Website: Stock Photo Rule #1Avoid anything that's been downloaded in excess of 500 times. Seem like a lot? Many of the most popular photos on sites like iStock have been downloaded 10,000+ times. That's a lot of other places that folks can find the photo you want to use. Stick to photos that don't have many downloads -- this means more in-depth searching, but from a branding perspective it's worth it!
Finding Photos for Your Website: Stock Photo Rule #2Monitor big impact photos once a month. If you decide to buy and use a stock photo in a BIG way -- your main banner image, the lead slide, on your most popular page, etc. -- then you need to monitor that image once a month. What happens if that image suddenly gets really popular? You're are probably going to want to change it to main your unique brand position. When you use stock photos, there is no "I had it first" line. Everyone has equal rights to it. Checking a link once a month takes about 10 seconds and it is time very well spent.
Finding Photos for Your Website: Stock Photo Rule #3Familiarize yourself with the models. Does that sound really creepy? I apologize. But, the fact of the matter is that many of the models that you see in stock photos for your industry also pose for photos in completely different settings and environments. Do yourself the favor of researching where else this person pops up. Conveniently, many of the most popular models tend to stick with one photographer, so you can typically browse and filter that photogs portfolio.
Anyone else want to share their stock photo rules?