How to Go Beyond Stock Photo Cliches

Stock photos are an excellent way to make a website communicate visually. They are inexpensive and high-quality photos are easy to obtain. There are plenty of well known stock photo websites that have new collections of images added to them every day. But still, many websites still use the same cliche photos – here are three popular examples to learn from and avoid:

The Value of Team Work

Working as a team

This image has several variations, but the general idea is always the same. “We are a friendly, warm organization that values its bright team members. We are empowered through our inner cooperation”.

The World is in your Hands

World in hands

You’ve probably seen this image on clean-tech websites or any websites promoting a “green” agenda. The world is after all, a pretty small place as it’s nesting warmly in a delicate hand. We are closely connected to this planet and are positioned to take care of it.

The Customer Service Girl

The customer service girl

She’s young and beautiful and always has a smile for you – the customer. She is also very responsible looking, which is how you know you’re in good hands. This is the company I want to hire! If you recognize one or more of these images, you get the point. Some images have just been overused, especially in web design. However, there are solutions and alternatives to using this type of photos.

How to Avoid Cliches

Use illustrations

Using illustrations instead of photos is a great option. Good illustrations can convey lots of personality and unique character. You can find great stock illustrations to make a statement and convey a message. Illustrations tend to be bolder and less ordinary compared to the average stock photo. A few years ago it would have been a tough task to find websites that use illustrations. But times have changed, and today, some extremely successful websites use illustrations.


Go Abstract

Pictures of people acting in a certain way draw attention, especially when the photos represent a particular demographic that you are inviting into your website. However, high resolution abstract photos, can give a site a modern feel. They can convey a certain emotion that you wish to communicate or be associated with. Often times, images which are less literal can give a site a sophisticated appearance. Careful though, abstract photos can damage your website if you use them as a replacement for photos

Go abstract

Use Styling 

You can always enhance a stock photo and give it a different, more unique style. If you have zero graphic design experience, get some help from a designer. The point is that you can easily turn a regular stock photo into an “original” by applying modifications such as filters and collages. For example, you can remove the “box”, the frame around the image, and integrate the subject of the photo seamlessly into your site’s background.

Moving company Wix website template

Stock Photo  Sites with a Twist

If you’re looking for photos with an added twist, be sure to expand your search to sites like Flickr and Morguefile.


For more “niche” type of photography that includes landscape, illustrations and art, visit Deviantart and Whoophy.

Using Instagram Photos

Photos can turn out awesome through use of Instagram’s  simple filters. As a result, many amateur photographers can produce compelling photos on their smartphones. Some brands have even started integrating Instagram photos into their product pages – why not integrate yours – or others’ –  into your website? Have a look at web.stagram,  Instagram’s web version, to browse through images on your desktop.

Use Instagram

Instagram copyright policy generally states that “Instagram doesn’t own the images – Instagram users do”.  To view the restrictions imposed on a particular photo, look at the label placed by its owner. You can always contact them directly and ask to use their creation.

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Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

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