Using Stock Photos to Show You Care

This post is more than 3 years old.

Creepy scary stock photoOne of the funniest parts of browsing the Internets is when I come across the funny stock photos of professional people in various professional settings, used by site owners to put a "human face" on their web presence in the most generic way possible. It began with using the headshot of the attentive and waiting customer service representative to show you that "operators are standing by now," and it's just gone crazy from there.

With the photo here, I don't even know what the hell is going on. It's like the creepy older guy is trying to arm wrestle with the maniacally screaming younger dude over who gets to use the laptop, while the two women totally ignore them and instead grin broadly at the hamster dancing on their screen. But I'm like "creepy older dude, BACK OFF!" Why does he need to lunge into younger dude's space like that, using his fingertips as a push-off to further invade? And why won't either of the women help younger dude? This is some messed up stock photography. What was the photographer yelling at them? "Pretend you went to the office holiday party and took Ecstasy!"

I won't say I've never had a hand in building such a website, but with apologies to stock photo models everywhere, I thoroughly discourage this practice. If you really want to put a human face on your website, then put your face on it (or that of your staff, customers, partners, family, etc.) When you use a stock photo of an ethnically balanced group of people to show how diverse and contemporary you are, you look stupid. When you use a stock photo of a bunch of high-powered blinking servers stacked up in a huge data center to show that you know something about technology, you look stupid. When you use real pictures of real people related to you or your organization, then you look authentic. If you can't do that, then consider doing without the photos altogether.

5 thoughts on “Using Stock Photos to Show You Care

  1. I'd like to know what company (or other entity) thinks that photo is an appropriate representation of their business ... Who knows, maybe it's someone advertising the need for conflict resolution in the workplace?

  2. Kudos,
    mon ami.
    Though, were it Ecstasy in actuality,
    they'd probably be much more touchy feelyness going on, and overall a little more sedate.

    It is clear to me, that these people have obviously been smoking crack.

    And they call it crack for a reason. Oh yes, they do.

    But you're right, it's creepy, unsettling, and I can't really wrap my brain around what's going on actually; apart from passing the crack pipe.

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