Need a new stock photo for your blog post?
Why not use free stock photography? It is free, you can usually find a picture that describes your blog perfectly, and it’s easy. You don’t need to hire models, book studio time, have a lighting crew, make up artists, and the gamut of behind the scenes aides that create one beautiful image.
Not so fast. Believe it or not, there’s more to the image than meets the eye. Before you grab copy and paste that image here are three reasons you should consider.
Other people are thinking the same thing
and pretty soon the same image is all over the Internet associated with a number of things. Your unique story looks like you copied it. Your high quality blog looks cheap. Here’s a generic photo that happens to appear on a number of sites:
While it does not affect your search results or traffic, it does signal to your reader that your post might not be as unique or special as once thought. In the world of infinite content, and a world where pictures dominate, a unique image seems like an easy way to stand out.
You could be losing out on valuable traffic,
depending on where you get your traffic from. Pinterest, for example, doesn’t see these stock images as new pins, because most likely they have already been pinned to someone else’s board. Because they aren’t new pins, Pinterest is less likely to show your story to your users (or to new ones). On top of Pinterest, imagine you do a reverse image search and see the above results? Which one do you click on? Even if half of searchers click on your story, you’ve lost half of your potential traffic to your site.
The images could be stolen.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. With the proliferation of free stock imagery sites, many people are stealing images and uploading them without permission. At some point down the road, you might have to eventually change the image or pay some fine. Even if this doesn’t happen, it’s a horrible feeling to know that you’ve ripped off another fellow creator.
Don’t fret, there are a few options you can take. Check out sites like Pixistock, Ivory Mix, Deposit Photos, Styled Stock Society, Haute Stock, Negative Stock, Freerange, Burst, and more. Or support your fellow creators at sites like Twenty20, 500px, or Foap.
Regardless, there are many other options available than to use generic free stock photos to have your blog stand out!
- You can purchase another creator’s photos as mentioned previously and most likely they will drive traffic back to you by showing how they were highlighted.
- You can use your own photos! Don’t forget the device that you call a phone is also a camera (and a video camera and about a million other things).
- You can find other free stock photos that have the usage rights set to commercial remix (or Creative Commons) and start to create your own collage in Adobe Photoshop or another free photo editor (like Pixlr or PhotoPea).
Try not to use the same stock images as everyone else. As the web turns (or has turned) more visual, we will be using these images to determine what posts we read (yes, we are judging the book (or blog) by its cover (or its hero image)) and if we see the same pictures and images over and over again we most likely will not be clicking. Unique images or remixes that we haven’t seen most likely will get our attention and our clicks.