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Can We Just Stop With The Cheesy Stock Photos?

It’s hard to believe, but even in today’s visually sophisticated culture, we’re still being bombarded with cheesy stock photos on websites, blogs, email blasts, and more. These aren’t real life “captured moments,” they’re completely staged – and staged badly.

fun guy with thumbs up

Don’t think for a minute that today’s digital generation isn’t repelled. They’ve grown up with digital devices and can spot cornball, poorly staged, cheesy stock photos from a mile away.

There are some excellent photo libraries out there, and some great free ones like Unsplash and Stock Snap. You can also get the real thing for free at sites like Creative CommonsNew Old Stock, and others.

I can’t stress enough how much research supports the importance of compelling visuals. For instance, According to Zabiscopeople respond far better to visual information that normal written text. After all, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed in the brain at 60,000 times the speed of text.

Cheerful male customer service operator showing thumbs up in office.

If you’re still not convinced, here are 19 reasons why you should use better visual content in your marketing. If you’re serious about reaching this generation, you need to become serious about selecting the right photos, graphics, video, and other visual content.

The bottom line? It’s time to up your game (and drop the cheesy stock photos) when it comes to using visuals.


This article about ditching cheesy stock photos originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."