Photo of people waiting for job interview in office hall

How to Use Stock Photos in Your Marketing

Any target audience perceives visual materials more favorably than an abundance of text. The properly selected illustration, aside from grabbing the attention, helps us learn, understand complex information or concept, or entertain, depending on the purpose of the primary material. The amount of information is growing, hence the demand. People are looking for unique photographs made by professionals to stand out among everyone else. Here comes the stock photography.

Stock photography is highly convenient. Of course, you may create visual material for your marketing campaigns by yourself, but is it worth the effort? Just to get even one high-quality picture, you will need a lot of modern equipment and long-term preparation. Also, the services of a skilled photographer who has such equipment are costly. Therefore, downloading a ready-made photograph is a better and more convenient option. In this case, a photo will not suffer in quality but will also save your costs which you may put to a good cause.

The only drawback that stock photography has is its vast popularity. Therefore, the picture you prefer might be already used by someone who purchased it earlier. Not to worry, though. We have already taken care of this concern for you. This article has covered how to make any image work to your advantage.

But first, let us get you through the basics quickly without boring with theory. The picture is not just to download and use since any photograph is a copyright object. Some images have legal restrictions, which must be read and acknowledged before use. The opportunities that purchasing a picture give you are prescribed in the license terms. Let's consider what types of licenses exist for stock photos. 

Photo of coworkers talking during coffee break in office

Different licenses give different rights

There are different licenses, and the terms of using every photo must be read and acknowledged before purchasing and downloading. Initially, all the images that you buy from the Africa Images website are provided under a royalty-free license. 

  • Royalty-free license means that if you buy a photograph, it is considered yours, you may use the content for your own purposes as many times as you like, and any additional uses aside from the initial one are charge-free.

Before making a payment, you must decide how to use the content – for personal or commercial purposes. Depending on this, you choose a license, standard or extended one.

  • Standard license. In this case, you can use the photo for digital reproductions (websites, social networks, mobile apps), printed copies (product labels, packaging, newspapers, books) up to 500000 times, and outdoor advertising with the same limit. Personal use does not have restrictions, for example, when you need to conduct a graphic design test. However, it is prohibited to use the content for complex business tasks, such as product sale or distribution. You may find more information by the link on our website. Everything there is described in great detail and layman's terms. If you still have any questions or concerns, you may contact us, and we will do our best to cover the topic.

Kindly note that the photo license is not something to be trifled with due to possible legal consequences and unpleasant experiences. 

Now let's look at how you may use the stock imagery

Photo of team of employees celebrating success in office. Startup project

Make sure a preferred stock photo image matches the specifics of your company

When looking for a proper image, your task is to acquire such that will not contradict previously thought-out concepts and the business area as a whole. The holistic image created by the company, faced by existing and potential customers, should remain the same, and the selection of visuals must correspond to its specific features. 

For example, you have a law firm. Sometimes marketers decide to experiment, moving away from the formal foundations, using emotional, vivid pictures. This approach may look promising on paper because you will differ from competitors. But a client seeking professional help may get discouraged by a non-typical design solution. 

Check the image using Google Image Search

There is a common misconception that for a business to be successful, you need to use the images that worked for someone else. For example, successful business is typically associated with the pictures of business people in expensive suits shaking hands. If you talk about pantry staples ads, they usually show a happy family at a table sharing a meal. When it comes to baby staples, it will be a child smiling widely or unnaturally at the camera, demonstrating how good the baby care products are. 

Unfortunately, the Internet is flooded with this type of pictures; you may even get most of them for free. Applying them to your project will turn on the so-called advertising filter, placing your ad at the end of the list. A situation like this may happen because other companies have already used this content multiple times just to look like other successful businesses. 

So, how may you avoid mistakes? It’s simple. Google search allows you to answer the question "Do competitors use the same photo?" in a few seconds — no need to waste your time exploring websites and ads on your own. Everything can be done with a single button. Thanks, Google! Even if another company modified the image, for example, cropped it, changed the contrast, or added effects, the search engine will most likely display this content on the screen as well.

Photo of senior business owner talking on phone in his restaurant

Remember: stock photos are a workpiece, not a final product

Obviously, it's best to use a unique photograph. However, if you decide to use an image for a social media ad taken by someone else, a client may dismiss your ad because they have seen it already. In addition, there is a high risk of looking like a copycat, which is not good from a marketing point of view. So, if you want to use visual content in your marketing activities, the images have to be adapted to your project needs. 

Still, if you prefer using templates, you need to choose them correctly. There are a few notes here. First, a non-standard plot and a good metaphor will help you attract a potential client's attention. Second, the natural emotions depicted in the photo work well. Simply focus on the genuineness, and it will help you in your task. Finally, perhaps, you may want to be interested in hiring a designer for the best results.


Africa Images is a passionate team of professionals. Our goal is to make the best place to buy visual materials taken by Africa Studio for individual, business, and non-commercial projects, including but not limited to informational, educational, cultural, and scientific uses.