Stock photography is arguably one of the greatest design weapons around. The sheer number of files available at the click of a mouse has revolutionised the way organisations are able to represent themselves. With image quality – for the most part – high and prices low, it is no wonder that providers such as iStock have millions of users worldwide (us included).
But let’s look at the flip side for a second. ‘Unoriginal’, ‘clichéd’ and ‘dated’ are all words that have been used to describe stock images by critics of iStock, Shutterstock and other providers. If used lazily, yes – designs using poorly selected, mismatched stock photos are at risk of living up to these negative labels. One look at Vince Vaughn and his co-stars posing in iStock parodies as a tongue-in-cheek PR stunt instantly sums up the current “cheesy” reputation some stock photos have garnered in recent years.
Selection, selection, selection
Getting the best out of stock imagery really is all in the selection – it’s that simple. Find a stock image that works with your campaign and you’re off to a flying start. However, with some campaigns demanding very specific images in order to perfectly complement the overall message, it is inevitable that stock galleries can’t always fulfil requirements.
The perfect image
So what happens when you can’t find the perfect image? You don’t have to settle for something that is just okay. Here at Bigwave media, our designers are able to take a number of high quality stock images and manipulate them to form a single, custom-designed image that is perfectly suited to your campaign and brand. The images below were used in a recent ecampaign to promote Exeter Business Games. In this case, the purpose was to show both metaphorical sides of the individual taking part – their business side and a more sporty, competitive side in relation to the games. Such images were too obscure to find in a stock gallery, so these were custom-created instead.
The result? A unique image that captures exactly what the campaign intends to communicate.