Stock photos suck. See exhibit A:
Excuse me while I wipe the vomit off my keyboard.
Maybe you’re a little bit shy or perhaps a tiny bit crazy (most business owners are, and I’m not pointing fingers – I’m no exception to this rule).
The fact is, businesses, especially new ones, need to establish a level of trust. Nothing says trust more than showing you, and your staff’s faces. “Hey, this is who we are. Come do business with us.”
A stock photo paints the opposite picture: “You have no idea who we are because we are hiding behind a computer screen. We promise we won’t rip you off though. For serious. Come do business with us.”
If your business especially relies on trust (sales, law, medical, and insurance industries come to mind) there’s absolutely no excuse for crappy stock photos.
The Sign Store & Flag Center got it right, one of my old clients who not only agreed to put their staff photo on the home page, but even took my advice to hire a professional photographer to take care of the photo (thanks Jason!)
These are photos you can not only use for your website, but also for social media, commercials, etc. Consider it an essential business investment, and at the very least, a tax write-off.
If you can’t afford a professional photographer, I dare say that even smartphone photos are better than nothing.
The Bottom Line:
For the love of god, post your picture on your website! Not only are stock photos typically ugly, but they’re also counterproductive to establishing that critical level of trust that you should be striving to convey to your visitors.
Don’t underestimate your audience. They can spot a stock photo from a mile away.
Now if I see another generic photo of a white, middle class family with giant smiles on their faces, I may just make good on my promise to disconnect my internet and live on a commune in New Mexico.