Common Misconceptions about Stock Images

There have been many mixed opinions about stock images and using them. Not everyone dislikes them, but at the same time, not everyone favors them. So what’s the deal?


Stock images are typically used by designers and creative agencies all around the world. They are high-quality images of varying scenarios and styles, making them great alternatives for when you don’t have your own visual assets or for tweaking to create original imagery.


Sure, cliché keywords automatically come to mind when thinking about stock images, and there are also poor stock images in terms of concept and use. However, there is more to stock imagery than generalized assumptions and misconceptions about them.


Let’s examine popular misconceptions about stock images and debunk them one by one.


Stock images are unrealistic and not creative

There is a negative connotation against using stock imagery in business – how using stock images make it seem like the company or brand lack authenticity; how use of stock images and not their own images make it seem like they didn’t care enough to actually showcase their own real products or services, or even to spare some creativity to their designs.


In the end, badly used stock images give a feeling of insincerity, mixed in with a little ridiculousness, since bad examples of these images look extremely exaggerated and too obviously staged to look like the exact image you need.


However, it isn’t always like that! Over the years, stock libraries continuously update to include stock photos that are more realistic and authentic. They have improved through the years and it isn’t as hard to find the right stock photo or illustration you need for a design project. Also, the images wouldn’t look fake and funny and would feature a realistic depiction of what you want your audience to experience if they are used creatively with other graphic elements.


Stock images are not high-quality and look unprofessional

In reality, there are many stock libraries that feature creatively shot or produced stock images by professional photographers and artists, many of them are even accessible for free. Sites like Death to Stock and Unsplash features high-quality stock photos that are stunning and highly artistic and will definitely bring any content and design to life, as long as they are used in the right context. In fact, using high-quality stock images look more professional than using a personal photo that doesn’t have the right resolution for graphic design use.


For others, what makes stock imagery look unprofessional is when they are accessible to anyone and thus, there is a tendency you will see the same stock image used by different designs and websites. While this is a fact, stock imagery has evolved now and there are millions of various royalty-free images available online. To make sure you don’t end up using the same stock art as your competitors, study their marketing models and strategies, their imagery, branding, and visual styles and make yours more unique and engaging.


Stock images are stereotypical

Of course, there will always be the staples – generic concepts like businessmen shaking hands, people smiling at their computers, and photos on white background. These types of stock images are popular for a reason. These concepts are in demand as they are easily applied to marketing campaigns. They also easily go well with any design, especially stock images on white background.


People also tend to associate stock imagery with gender stereotypes and smiling nuclear families, with each of the parents male and female. Now there’s nothing wrong with using these stock photos if they are exactly what you’re looking for. However, in addition to these, stock libraries now have a variety of images and concepts with diverse representations.


Also, keep in mind that stock images don’t always have to be used as is. They can be modified to fit the design. Know the many ways stock images can be modified; get a graphic designer to help you.


Only photos are available in stock libraries

Stock is definitely more than just photography. Many stock libraries now also offer stock 4k video footages, stock illustrations, icons, textures, and more. Some libraries even offer 360-degree stock video if you ever need them. You most certainly can find whatever design asset you need in stock libraries. Don’t limit yourself before even checking what the stock libraries out there have to offer!



And don’t forget, when using stock art, always check if it is subject to copyright and apply the required attribution, if any. Some stock images are only allowed for either personal or commercial use, while some cannot be modified. Although in most cases, once you have purchased the stock photo, you can use it in any way you see fit. But it won’t hurt to check the terms and conditions for use. And finally, don’t get stock images from Google image search – using images without the proper license can get you in big trouble.


As a reliable design agency, MicroCreatives only uses the right high-quality stock images for our projects. Don’t hesitate to consult our design experts when it comes to using stock and bringing your brand and design to life, adding value to your business.