Stock Photos vs. Original Photos

(What to use for your website)

“A single picture can express thousands of words.” Following the boom of the digital industry, this old adage seems more relatable to online than offline businesses. 

In an online marketplace, where users cannot physically touch the products, pictures play a convincing part in their purchase decision. From engagement and user experience to brand identity and retention, images are an important tool. Therefore, they are a core element of digital tactics.

Their commendable outcome is also present in research showing an 87% high interaction rate of content with images. Thankfully, getting a photo for a website is now easier than ever. Depending upon your budget, business requirements, and the target market, you can easily get the correct type of image for your website.

However, having acute knowledge is essential before selection. Stock photos and custom or original photos are the two main options we have today. Let us dig inside them, study their pros and cons, and see which is the right fit for your website:

Stock Photos

Stock photos are a hub of pre-captured images available for everyone. You can get stock pictures for a very cheap price

The collection available here is huge. Just think of a subject, and you will find various stock photos in the category. Shutterstock, Stock Photo Secrets, iStock, Storyblocks, Canva Pro, etc., are some of the widely known platforms for stock photos. Apart from offering a wide range of photos, the stock images are easy on the pocket.

Benefits of Using Stock Photos


Rather than investing big bucks in personalized photography, picking the right photo from the stock is a wise decision. You might need to pay a small fee in some cases, but the overall cost compared with hiring a photographer is always low.

Variety of Images

Stock photos provide the ease of getting access to a wide range of photos. Instead of limiting the options to a few captured images, you can select the best ones from the entire collection. Furthermore, photographers from different backgrounds take these photos. You can view the expertise of each and opt for the one that looks the best and fits your promotional material.

Time- Saving

Using stock photos is a matter of minutes. Simply pay for the preferred one, and you are good to go. Yes, this is the most significant benefit of using digital images. As soon as you pay, you can download the image almost instantly. 

Most importantly, all well-known stock photo platforms feature high-quality photos. Thus, you do not need to compromise on the quality. In short, a whole bank of images becomes close to your fingertips.


Unfortunately, every good thing has a few drawbacks too. The same is the case with stock photos. Some of its limitations are:

Lack of Originality

Stock photos receive criticism for lack of originality. Since every user or client gets access to the same collection of images, there is a chance that the photo you use is present on multiple sites. 

Questions Trust

Websites often use words like “trustworthy service,” “authentic product,” etc., to describe their product and services. However, they use cliche or overused pictures in their marketing material. This makes the audience confused as they immediately notice the lack of authenticity in the photos. They think the content is about trust and loyalty, but the images fail to portray the genuineness promised.

Original Photos

A picture that is shot for the sole purpose of your business is termed as a custom or original photograph.  In some businesses, the owners take these pictures by themselves using good quality equipment. However, many small business owners and bloggers hire professional photographers to conduct the shoot to make their photos exclusive. 

Benefits of Using Original Photos

Real and Genuine

When so many brands are competing in the online arena, showing something original is imperative to stand out from the mob. Rather than considering the cost and features of a product, clients are now focusing on the genuine side of brands. Therefore, business owners strive to build consumer confidence by showcasing authenticity and originality. Using original photos on the site is one way of displaying the true version of your products.

Customized Images

Original photos give you the freedom to adjust lights, angles, and positions. For instance, if you are talking about a particular feature, you can take a picture mainly focusing on that feature. Thus, it boosts the flexibility of design and style.


As competition is immense, businesses are now focusing more on branding. Using a particular theme or inserting your logo in the image becomes easier when you are the one to capture the photographs. Otherwise, people spend a lot of time adjusting the photos through online editing tools.

Long-term Investment

Though hiring a photographer and arranging a photoshoot requires a good investment, it pays off in the long run. Within a few months, you can compile a photo library of your business. Thus, selecting photos from the collection for your business will no longer be difficult.


Though original photos are a genuine option, they have some limitations such as:

Lack of Funds

Investment in hiring a photographer is not possible for every business. Those who have just started the business journey find it difficult. Likewise, it comes along with massive risk. What if the business doesn’t go as planned? If we make a contract with a photographer, we need to pay at least for a month. 

Time Consuming

Since original photos require time, you cannot instantly implement the ideas. It is a long process, which involves time along with effort.

Final Verdict

As you can observe, the above points reveal the significance of both stock and original photos. However, consider the business nature, time, and budget – you need to pick one for your web design. When original photos create an authentic business image and help in branding, stock photos provide convenience and diversity.

Unfortunately, the negative impact of stock photos on the website’s SEO is a misconception. Businesses that cannot afford to invest in original photographs, successfully use stock photos. Likewise, many brands have hired top-notch photographers to get genuine photos.

So, take your time, review your business plan, and opt for the option that suits your business needs.


Back to Top