Don’t Let Bad Stock Photos Cost You

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1stWebDesigner asks, “Remember when you were a kid and would rather read a book with lots of pictures in it versus one with just text?”

This question perfectly illustrates the importance of images in modern media. Just look at the popularity of photo-sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram. According to MDG Advertising, press releases with photos get 94 percent more viewership and Facebook posts with images receive 36 percent more engagement. So basically, if you’re not including pictures in your blog, you’re wasting your time.

Although having a blog, website or social media account flush with a huge image library can be helpful, more images does not always mean your blog is better. Distorted, pixelated and low-quality images are an ugly part of the Internet that you don’t want your blog or website to be associated with. Follow these tips and tricks to avoid common photographic pitfalls that could be hurting your blog:

Don't Let Bad Stock Photos Cost You - Blogelina


Place Your Picture Above Your Headline

Having your headline above your picture could be hurting your blog. It seems like a no-brainer, but once you start looking for it, you notice it everywhere. A study commissioned by advertising legend David Ogilvy found that having your headline above your image can lose you up to 10 percent of your audience right off the bat. Kissmetrics explains that this is because of people’s natural reading sequence and the risk of being distracted by a misplaced image.

Find Relevant Images

If you throw photos into a post because they are pretty or you don’t want to dig through stock images for hours to find a good one, you’re not just being lazy but also confusing viewers and driving away traffic. Kissmetrics suggests giving images a caption to make sure they are relevant to your post. If you can’t think of one, then the photo probably isn’t essential to the story you are telling.

Don’t Trust Free Stock Photos

Generic stock photos are, in many cases, just as bad as irrelevant pictures. Free stock photos are free for a reason: they are overtly generic and everyone else is using them. Don’t waste time digging through mountains of free stock photos, knowing you will settle on one that only kinda works in the end. Instead, find a stock photo company with an easy navigation system and get to know it well. For example, Shutterstock has easily searchable tabs and images ranging from vectors to icons to artwork to millions of high-quality images.

Go Guerrilla If You Must

If you can’t afford to purchase images, create them. Research blog photography tips, and set up a little shoot. Use a powerful smartphone camera or invest in a DSLR to have manual control and higher image quality. Then, use free online editing tools to boost your professional appeal. But remember: the quality of your photos has to match the quality of your desired advertisers. If you want Nordstrom to take notice of your blog, for example, your pictures better up to the company’s standards.

Stacy Eden is a Phoenix, Arizona native with a passion for art, power tools, and historical significance. She draws inspiration from classic cars, ancient mythological sculptures and jewelry designers such as Delfina Delettrez, Shaun Leane, and Dior Jewellery creative director Victoire de Castellane.

Don’t Let Bad Stock Photos Cost You - Blogelina

12 thoughts on “Don’t Let Bad Stock Photos Cost You”

  1. Thanks for the pointers. I always include at least one pic in all my posts, and sometimes I feel frustrated when I spend tons of time trying to find the right stock photo. Your post helped remind me that it’s worth it 🙂

  2. I’ve been burned by free stock photography. It blows me away that people are okay with stealing images to sell as their own, but I really shouldn’t be surprised. I think a good Stock Photography site is well worth the investment. I stock up annually (or 2x a year) whenever AppSumo has a great deal for

    • Kimberly, using stock images doesn’t always involve stealing, as I’m sure you know. There are some great sites like and that allow you to use their images for free when a link is used to give credit to the creator. That being said, though – what a great idea to stock up on images when they are on sale!

  3. It seems with each post you write I find something to help me become a better blogger. Sometimes they aren’t mammoth changes but they make such a big difference. Thank you for your dedication to helping us better our blogs.

  4. Thank you for sharing so many tips with the blogging world. In the past year I’ve been compiling my own photo pool to draw from and am enjoying it! Variety is something I am missing though, so that’s something to work on.

  5. It takes so long sometimes to find the right stock photo. But I know it’s worthy it! I’ve found some great stock photo sites to use, and I use multiple sites to make sure I have a visual variety on my blog.

    Eventually I want to ‘go guerilla’ and take some of my own stock photos, I think that would be so cool!

  6. So glad you stated that you need to be careful with stock photos, rather than make a blanket statement that they all simply suck. If you search with a little savvy and smarts, and look beyond the front page results, you’ll often find wonderful hidden gems that you can make your own with overlays, gradients and more.

    It’s all about your intent and purpose. If you don’t put in the time, you don’t turn out the good stuff.

  7. Great tips! Agree with all the cons of getting free stock photos. They are all generic and I feel like when you’re using those photos on your blog, you’re not a professional blogger or your blog is not serious on what you’re doing.


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