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How to keep the overabundance of stock images from affecting your creative process

stock photos

by Fred Gaede, Chief Creative Officer

In my previous blog  we discussed the issue of allowing the abundance of easily accessible and reasonably priced stock images take control of the creative process. After jotting down your initial ideas, there is a great temptation to turn to stock image sites for a quick visual solution. The trouble is, you often find yourself settling for a less than perfect image, and by doing so, diluting your concept.

The most important part of being a Creative requires that you be exactly that—creative! One must apply the creative process, not just in the initial ideation, but also through to the final execution. You must be innovative as you work within the parameters of time and budget as well as corporate design standards and messaging. To weaken a concept by using a less than perfect image, or even worse, to abandon a concept simply because you cannot find the perfect image, is unacceptable. It certainly does not help your client.

Perhaps the best solution requires no visual at all. Bold use of color and type can be just as effective as photography or illustration. And this is NOT a cop out! In fact, I would say that it is a greater creative challenge to execute an effective, type-only piece than it is to slap another businessperson-shaking-hands stock photo underneath a bold-faced headline. stock images

After returning to your office from the launch meeting and scribbling down your initial ideas, before you immediately begin searching the stock photo sites, may I recommend this? Take a breath, maybe grab a fresh cup of coffee or take a walk around the building, and then review the ideas you have written down. This is a far better use of 20 minutes than scrolling though stock images.

Now, look at your concepts from a reverse angle—see how they might best be executed within the parameters of the project. If your favorite idea will only work with a unique or specific image, instead of wasting time searching for that image, put that concept to the side and focus on the others. This way, you can be sure of holding on to the reins of your concept and delivering to your client a better end result.

Thousands of reasonably priced images are at everyone’s fingertips and it’s extremely tempting to rely on them. But simply because they are available, doesn’t mean they are applicable. Though there is much to choose from, chances are there still won’t be enough.

I am not opposed to the use of stock imagery. It plays an important role in solving your B2B client’s needs. But we should never allow the availability of stock images drive the creative instead of letting the creative direct the images.