Tips for choosing stock photos

Stockfoto Beispiel 3

Who doesn’t use them: stock photos are a classic way to spruce up web content and brochures. They’re inexpensive and more readily available than your own snapshots. Here are a few tips for making the right choice.

The gigantic offer of the usual image databases is not necessarily a blessing. What criteria should be used to select a motif? In order not to take any risks, we go for the tried and tested. Motifs that we know from everyday life. And that’s exactly the problem…

Four mistakes when choosing stock photos


Over the last 100 years, stereotypical motifs have become prevalent in the media on certain topics. When we think of a certain topic, we have a concrete image in mind. The consequence: At first glance, content increasingly appears interchangeable.

Solution: Sometimes it’s better to access stories, metaphors, or scenes from your own everyday life. However, always keep the visuals in the same perspective, e.g. your own or that of the customer.

Popular when it comes to data protection and security: is the faceless hooded wearer on the computer.

Lack of authenticity

The massive use of stock photos suggests to the customer that you want to hide behind an artificial facade.

Solution: If you want to come across as authentic, you should at least present a few team portraits and behind-the-scenes photos.

The classic: the female call center agent with snow-white teeth and a direct gaze.

Inconsistent visual language

Accessing stock photos carries the risk of ignoring the visual language. Part of professional communication is that the tonality, brightness, contrast, colors, color temperature, degree of abstraction and image style in particular should be as consistent as possible. If in doubt, therefore, call in professional picture editors who have an eye for this.

Everyone knows them: The caring hands with a plant shoot. Symbolizes environmental protection and sustainability. However, the motif seems rather hackneyed.

Unclear copyrights

Especially on free image databases, the origin of images is not always traceable and watertight to clarify. There remains the risk of expensive warnings if one day the author wants to assert his rights. If in doubt, it is better to obtain stock photos from a reputable provider and invest a few euros in them.

This universal motif from the pre-Covid era is supposed to help develop trust. But does it work?


Don’t be hasty when choosing stock photos. Too heavy-handed communication looks unprofessional. It’s better to let each photo tell a part of a great story. And it’s even better to show real customers interacting with your product.