We all know the hustle. Business owners, especially, are generally quick to make decisions because there are a thousand more decisions to be made in just one day. So, when it comes to selecting images that represent your company and the culture, you hit up one of those stock sites, enter ‘relevant’ search terms, fill the cart with things that kinda fill the need and check that task off the long list.

But, let’s face it. That photo with people you’ve never met in your life totally misses the mark. It’s professional, but it’s fake. The fancy conference room with perfect charts and graphics strategically laid out is cool but not an accurate representation of your data or the conference room where you actually meet with your client. That world, as represented by those people, is not your world. So, why are you putting your money there?

Aside from the total lack of uniqueness, these photos are actually perceived as stock by about 98% of your audience. Whether they recognize the perception or not, they know those people don’t work for you. So, they get to your site or read your blog posts and it doesn’t feel genuine. They still don’t know anything about what it’s like to meet you or work with you. So, they’re either left ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ by their interaction with your site. In this case, not even ‘half full’ should be acceptable to you. Your audience should be moved to action. By your content, by your expertise AND by the feeling they get from your well-constructed site and the images of your people, your work, your hand shaking a client’s hand. Get my drift?

Let’s perform a simple experiment. Grab a stock photo from a reputable site (see example below). Nice image, good vibe (albeit total strangers).

Generic stock photo of people meeting

Next, navigate to images.google.com and upload the image you chose.

Google image search

Google will go out and retrieve instances where this exact image is being used on websites around the world. Here’s what that looks like based on the image I selected:

Using Google image search

The image I chose, while professional and perhaps convenient to get my hands on, is not unique. There are millions of instances of this image being used by other companies and maybe a couple of images that look like this image. But, by and large, Google uncovered 22 MILLION instances of the image on other websites.

On the flip side, I did a reverse search on an image I captured uniquely for use by TBH. You can see those results below. There are exactly 2 results and neither one of them are this exact image because this photograph was taken for use by TBH and will not be found in any stock library, ever.

Google image search results

What’s my point in all of this? Well, you’re reading this because you’re the type of person that does their due diligence. You made it to the bottom of this blog because you do care about the content you create. So, why put forth half the effort? Why create beautiful content, professional bios, work hard on your marketing and strategy only to drop the ball on your images and use something that’s literally second-hand when you can possess a library of images that are completely unique to your brand, your style and complements your content?

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