How To Effectively Use Stock Photography On Your Website

Stock images are often used on email communications, websites, in social media posts, on videos, and on print media too.

How To Effectively Use Stock Photography On Your Website

They are a way for businesses to relate to and engage customers, by providing eye catching visuals and images whilst on a budget. 

Stock images are often either free or very cheap to use, which makes them very popular for small businesses or individuals to use.

These stock images can be used to provide better graphics for blogs or to promote a product or service. 

In many cases, you can use stock photography to decorate a website. So, how can you effectively use stock photography on your website?

Read on to find out. But first, let’s take a look at stock photography as a whole.

What Is Stock Photography?

Stock images are digital photographs that can be used for free or bought for use in digital and printed media.

These can be found on stock image sites, where the photographers can sell them or license them to the consumer. 

When you choose a stock image, the site works as a mediator between you and the photographer, and you will be able to download the photos as long as you agree to the license, which allows you to use them under certain terms and conditions. 

The most popular stock image sites are Shutterstock, iStock, Getty Images, and Adobe Stock. 

Why Use Stock Photography?

Stock photography is photographs that are intended for personal projects, advertising, marketing, blogging, websites and commercial projects. Stock photography is also known as stock images. 

These images tend to be generic photographs, icons, illustrations that would suit a range of needs.

They are never really specific, as they are designed to be used for a range of projects, without a particular one in mind.

This is because stock images are licensed typically for free for organizations or individuals to use in marketing materials, book covers, websites and more.

As long as stock photography is labeled for commercial use, they can be used in a variety of projects with a for-profit purpose such as websites and advertising.

However, you should always be wary of the licensing agreements for the images you choose.

How To Effectively Use Stock Photography On Your Website

The main issue with stock images is that everyone can use them.

They are not exclusive to you or your company brand, so there are a few things you should keep in mind when adding stock photography to your website.

To implement stock photography on your website, you should follow these tips. 

Don’t Choose Overused Stock Images

How To Effectively Use Stock Photography On Your Website

The thing with stock images is that despite there being so many out there to choose from, businesses tend to choose the same ones over and over again.

To avoid falling into this trap, we would recommend that you use a Google Image search and search by image when you find one you like to see how often it has been used. 

To do this, simply drag and drop the image file into the Google Images search bar to see all of the times it has been used across the whole internet.

You will be able to see what websites currently use that photo, and how many that do. 

If you have a common topic or niche, then it is likely that other businesses will have used the image too.

So it is vital that you try to choose ones that haven’t been used or are not already out there on countless websites so that you can stand out from the competition and your site will appear more unique. 

In addition, if your audience is already familiar with the sphere in which your site resides, it is likely that they have seen those images over and over again.

Therefore, using different images can engage your audience and make them feel more valued with new, more unique content. 

Make Sure They Are Optimized For SEO

For the most part, when you download images from stock images sites, they are named after the photographer.

This is bad for your SEO when you upload to your site. Instead, rename the photos so that they are optimized for your site’s SEO, and use the same name for the alt text of your images so that it all ties together. 

Edit Your Stock Photos To Suit Your Brand

Just because they are stock images, this does not mean that they cannot be personalized to your business or brand.

You can edit the stock photos so that they align with your brand message and ideals.

You can do this by cropping out aspects you don’t necessarily want or need in the image, or you can actually edit the photos with Photoshop, PicMonkey, or Pixlr.

This will help the stock images blend in more easily with your website and seem more natural and connected to what you do rather than being a stock image that everyone else has too. 

Choose Images That Can Hook Your Audience

When it comes to choosing images, you have to ensure that they serve a purpose.

What are you trying to achieve with the images? Is it to sell a product? To sell a service? To convey what you do as a business?

The photos you choose should truly set the tone and explain your brand to your audience. 

You may also want to choose images that can draw your audience’s attention by choosing the people in the images that are similar to your target audience, or items and points of interest that will resonate with your audience.

This can help you relate to and hook your audience in, in the hope for sales or better conversion. 

Is It Okay To Use Stock Photos On My Website?

As long as the stock images you choose are labeled as for commercial use, you can use them for profit and promotional purposes on your websites.

Do Stock Images Affect SEO? 

If you have a website, then you already know how vital SEO is for your site’s performance online. So, can using stock images affect or negatively impact this?

The good news is that using stock images does not really impact your site’s SEO at all. There are plenty of high ranking sites that utilize stock images. 

What may affect SEO is if the images are not relevant. They need to accurately represent the topic and niche, and the images you choose should also assist conversions. 

Tips For Choosing Stock Images For Your Website

  • Avoid cliche stock images or those that have been overused before
  • Focus on your branding, and choose images that align with your business/image
  • Use faces and people to connect with your audience
  • Think about pixels – make sure the images are high quality
  • Review licensing agreements
  • Showcase those images in a way that highlights your brand & promotes conversion


To summarize, using stock images does not have to feel cliche, or overdone.

You can edit, alter and be smart about it to use them effectively on your website to promote, market or brand your website and make it your own. 

Katie Dawson

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