We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words. No disputing it.

And with the reduction in price of the digital camera and the popularity of camera phones, stock photo libraries have exponentially grown in size whilst the cost of a stock photo has reduced. Which means there are no excuses for poor quality images.

But are your stock photos communicating the right words? Are they authentic looking or easily spotted as a stock photo?

I don’t know about you but my clients’ aren’t all models and don’t all work in pristine offices. They’re regular people. Yet many companies are happy to use these generic and inauthentic perfect images pretending that’s what their company looks like.

Don’t get me wrong, stock photos do have their place (like in this article) if chosen carefully and used properly. However nothing beats authentic lifestyle photos of the ACTUAL people who work in your office.

Here’s the 7 stock photos you should never use:

1.) We Always Sit in a Perfectly Straight Line Like This


Too staged and perfect looking to be authentic. Something a little more candid would be better.

2.) We All Work Together


A big cliché. We’re one big team here and this is how we end our weekly meetings! How about just showing your staff in action working candidly?

3. We All Collaborate. Our fearless boss will know what to do.


Too posed and somebody knows the boss a little better than they’re letting on. Again, something a little more candid and less perfect would be better.

4. What Does it All Mean?


Financial companies love an image like this. To date, no one really knows what this image represents. Don’t just use images for the sake of it, make sure they communicate something about the content or your company.

5. We’re a Global Progressive Company


Made popular by IT and web design companies this style of image has appeared on tens of thousands of websites and should be avoided. It’s hard to say what exactly it communicates.

6. “I wish the boss would buy me a headset that worked properly.”


This photo or similar is seen all over the internet and instantly says “Stock Photo”. Replace it with a real image of your staff on the phone.

7. We are Fun


I’m not sure what the lady with the red folder is doing or the staff in the background for that matter. Any ideas?

There’s no reason you can’t have a fun photo if your company is fun but just don’t make it look cheesy like this image.

Bonus – Word Clouds


I’m sure we’ve all seen these. They’re very clichéd and definitely not creative. And worse, they are too busy to get a single clear message across.

Instead you could use a short sentence to tell the reader what you mean (in plain English).

Well that concludes the 7 stock photos you shouldn’t use for your website.

Today, people can see right through a staged stock image that uses models instead of your actual staff. When you use images of people, try to use the real people behind your company. You’ll come across as a real company with real humans and you’ll build a connection with your potential customers.