Website Content - To Use Stock Photos or Not?

Written by Margaret Shakibaie

Use real people in your website content.

Including photos in your website content is considered good practice.

A good visual website design has a balance of photos and text. It is considered to be good practice to have a photograph of a person in your website content. This is supposed to build trust with the viewer, specifically if you can see their eyes.

But the photos should be real people. Not stock photos.

Would you use a Stock Photo for your LinkedIn ProfileI was recently researching competition for a new website for a client, a denture clinic. On at least three websites, I noted that the photo on the home page was the same man. A grey haired smiling man in a white coat, with his arms around a middle aged woman dressed as a dental nurse. Did this Prosthetist actually work in all three clinics. I doubt it. They were spread across Australia, with totally different business names.

Photos of people are good - If they are REAL people.

Eye-tracking studies highlight a number of "End User Optimisation" features of website content in relation to photos of people.

These include

  • Users differentiate between feel good, decorative images and content related images.
  • Users spend more time looking at photos of real people than stock photos.
  • On the "About Us" page users spend more time on the photo than the text
  • Photos do create more trust - again real people

A photo on Linkedin, and your Google + profile will increase interaction. Would you use a Stock Photo as your linked in profile. No! Well don't use it on your website.

A good photographer will use their photos to tell a story of you and your business. They will capture you as your clients will see you. And by using these images on your website you will be able to start forming that relationship with your client well before they even make that first contact with you.

Shak Studios eye catching business photos really encapture digital story telling.