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Debunking the Myths of Stock Photography for Content Marketing: Part One

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The world of stock photography is a big one. At times, it’s also a misunderstood one. Understanding how to use images legally, where to get them, and how to find the perfect one to match your content can give even the most seasoned content marketing professional a headache. That’s why we’re here to clear it up in a two-part series that examines the myths regarding stock imagery and how content marketers can use them effectively.

Myth: “Stock photography isn’t necessary since I can just use Google image search.”

FALSE. It may be tempting to grab images from Google, but it can get you into big trouble.

Photographers work hard to create stock imagery. Microstock agencies (like Bigstock) then work with these contributors on the licensing of their images. Model-releases, language considerations, metadata, and legal rights are all factors that go into the acceptance process of every image in a stock agency’s collection. This is done to ensure credit is given to the image’s creator, and that the customer using the image (whether the customer is a small business or a freelance artist) is legally protected and cleared to use it.

When you use an image without the proper license, you are using someone else’s work without their permission and without compensating them. Basically, taking images from unknown sources is the equivalent of bootlegging or buying bootlegged movies. It’s just plain wrong.

Myth: “Stock photographs are available to anyone, so other people are buying the same exact image that I am.”

Young Couple Resting On FloorTRUE. But it’s also true that you could win the Powerball jackpot twice. Microstock sites have millions of royalty-free images available for downloading. For instance, Bigstock currently has over 14 million images. With all that choice, it’s unlikely that a competitor or site that your readers are familiar with will use the same image as you.

If a copycat scenario is a concern, one way to avoid it is to look at what other brands in that space/industry are using. Review your competitor’s marketing concepts—models, illustrations, color schemes—and find a fresh way to represent your service.

Myth: “Stock photography looks stocky.”

TRUE and FALSE. Sure, there are some standard traditional image concepts—business handshakes, the dangling keys of a new house—that have consistently performed well for marketing campaigns and image contributors, and will be in high demand for a long time to come.

Another stock staple you may be familiar with is white space. But here’s the thing: White space can actually be a designer’s best friend. It makes for a super-easy layout. Using an image created on a white background means you can place it anywhere on a page without having to worry about how text will look over the background.

In addition to these stock photo staples, however, are millions of dynamic images from photographers and artists all over the world. Stunning aerial shots, bold wildlife photos, and cutting-edge typography are just a few types of content that are infused into stock collections. Different perspectives help keep stock imagery current and inspired, giving those in need of photography some new, non-traditional options.

Also, keep in mind that stock images don’t have to be used “as is.” A downloaded stock image can always be modified. If you don’t feel comfortable making bigger changes, seek the help of a graphic designer to make the image your own special creation.

Myth: “Images confuse readers and weaken the brand’s message.”

FALSE. Content should be snackable and shareable. Images help bring color to your text-heavy blog posts, and articles with photos often receive more clicks and social shares. It’s important to recognize the advantages of using a stock photography service like Bigstock, and that not everything you hear about curated images is true.

Come back next week for part two of this look into the myths surrounding stock photography.

Skyword’s Partnership With Bigstock

Skyword helps clients produce and distribute custom online media designed to succeed in search and on the social web. With the help of Bigstock, Skyword now offers clients across all industries millions of images that pair perfectly with their content marketing collateral. Learn more about Skyword’s partnership with Bigstock here.

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