Stock Photography makes sense, sometimes

Posted Oct 20th, 2019 in Content Marketing, Graphic Design

Stock Photography makes sense, sometimes

When does it make sense to use stock photography for business marketing? The answer is sometimes. Whether you are a retail store owner, e-commerce business, wholesaler, professional service provider, or large organization, stock photos can be a valuable asset when designing marketing content.

What is stock photography?

Stock photography is the business of selling pay-per-use royalty-free licenses to use professionally produced, quality images. 

There are stock photography websites, such as Depositphotos, where photographers display their photos. These sites have thousands of images to choose from and are categorized by topic, size, and type. Stock photography is typically used in small business marketing materials such as a website, social media, or even print marketing, such as flyers. Other images found on stock photography sites include graphics and videos. Price range is approximately $1-$10 per image with lower pricing or free options, and licensing agreements vary. 

Depositphotos offers

  • A library of 125 million files
  • 82,000 contributors
  • Advanced search filters
  • Images as low as $0.22 
  • Free files (limited)

Offering advanced search fields, including the type, size, colour, keyword, size (in inches or pixels) or category of the image, it makes it easy to find the right photo for your marketing needs. 

For agencies or those with multiple departments, there are options to save a favourite image in a folder if you find something that may be of interest to download at a later time. (This is a feature I use frequently).

When to use your own photography, when to hire a professional, and when to use stock photography. 

With the progress of mobile technology, business owners now have the opportunity to create high-quality visual content for their marketing channels using their iPhone or Android device. In an instant, you can pull out your phone, point, and click to capture a high-resolution photo or video. And, there is low-cost, user-friendly editing software, giving the user the ability to enhance photos and put together promotional videos.

However, even with the access to this technology, it does take time, equipment, and skill to take a photo with proper lighting, good composition/design, a proper layout for the marketing medium (e.g. some website banners need to wide landscape design), and professional-looking models. 

Use your own photography on social media when you want to tell your brand story

It is essential to have visuals that tell your brand story!  Something that is unique to you and helps people understand who you are.  Using original photos of people involved with your business, rather than models, is more interesting and authentic when telling your brand story. 

Social Media is a good channel to tell your story. The expectations of quality is not as high on social media as some other marketing content, so using your own photography makes sense. You can easily produce images or videos by using your mobile device or DSLR camera. Shoot a photo or video during an event, capture a new menu item, take a photo of the team, or go behind the scene.  For tips on composition and how to use an iphone or android device to take photos, check out , which is also LinkedIn learning, for some quality tutorials.  YouTube is another good source of photography tips. 

Hire a professional when you need quality photos or graphics for your website or large piece of content.

For instance, when a high-quality photo, that needs to be specific to your business, and you want to have a full license to use it in whatever and whenever you want, such as for website content, it is recommended to hire a professional. These may include, product photos of images that you sell, team photos, location photos of your office, special events hosted by your business. When creating reports, white papers, videos, or infographics, it may also be worth the extra money and time to hire a professional graphic designer. 

However, it takes quite a bit of time, skill and budget to produce the quantity of visual content required to build a competitive online brand in today’s digital world. Most entrepreneurs or smaller organizations do not have the budget to have an in-house designer or photographer to create 100% owned content, or the skills and time to create the content themselves.

Use stock photography to inspire and supplement a successful content marketing strategy.

Using stock photography and vector graphics, in the right way, as a supplement to owned visual content, offers the ability for entrepreneurs to create a professional content marketing strategy that can save time, money, and get the best return on investment and help you reach your marketing goals.

The following are some ideas on how to create a balanced mix of owned and stock photography and graphics for a variety of marketing channels, such as website, email marketing, social media, flyers, and internal communication or public reports. 

Here are some ideas on how to use stock photos for business marketing 


Browse through your Depositphotos account for visual inspiration when looking for content ideas.  You might find something that looks just like a photo that you have, or you might see a photo that triggers an idea for a new blog post, or you might find a graphic that you can use to create an infographic to visualize data that you collected.  

LDC Blog Stock Photos Fall


Visuals are proven to help communicate a message and capture the attention of your target audience.  Whether it is a seasonal campaign to sell photos during the holiday season, product launch, or part of an ongoing content marketing strategy, stock photos, graphics, icons or videos provide quality and instantly downloadable visuals to support a successful marketing campaign.  

Here are some ideas on how to use them in your marketing campaigns

  • Blog post feature image or in-post graphic/photo
  • Webpage banner image on a landing page or main page on your website
  • Lifestyle photos to support a product or service 
  • Social Media post
  • Icons for a brochure or website
  • Email campaign images
  • Flyer
  • Brochure
  • In-store print sign

Stock Photos for Holiday Christmas Sales

Stock icons for marketing campaigns

Blog Post Stock Images sell Journals

Vector Fall Leaves Graphic


When designing internal communications materials for your staff, using stock photos can provide an inexpensive option to increase visual interest, encourage engagement, and support messaging. Use stock photos when creating the following materials:

  • Graphic to post on the intranet
  • image to embed in an email
  • digital flyers to attach to emails
  • print flyers for the staff room
Here are some examples of when you may need to create materials for your internal messaging 
  • Health and Safety update
  • Sustainability Initiatives - such as how to recycle ,  #wastereductionweek
  • Contests
  • Job Posting
  • Policy changes
  • Welcome new staff
  • Workshops / Training
  • Success milestones

Sustainability Initiatives Stock Photos


Great content inspires emotions!  It helps people remember your message and connect with you.  Search in the Depositphotos search bar on the word for the emotion you are looking for, and it will show a variety of options.  

Stock photos showing expressions in action

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