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5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Corny Stock Photos

The internet is full of "worst stock photo" lists for a reason: even industry insiders have to admit that there are a lot of corny stock photos out there.  And if you choose corny stock photos for your branding and advertising campaigns, they will have the opposite effect of what you are probably hoping for.  Instead of making your business look professional and your products look polished and desirable, corny stock photos will make your customers laugh and dismiss your message.

That being said, there are a LOT of great stock photos available in the libraries of most big vendors as well.  And as long as you know what you are looking for and don't make the wrong choices, there's no reasons to choose corny stock photos for your business.  Here's our list of the 5 things you can do to avoid corny stock photos.

1) Use Your Best Judgement

For the most part, horrendously corny stock photos will be somewhat obviously passe or amusing.  Even if you aren't a marketing expert and don't have a lot of experience with stock photography, it's pretty easy to spot stock photos that are cheesy, over the top, and otherwise laughable.  Using your best judgement to sift through these corny stock photos means weeding out ones that make you pause and ask "is this too corny?"  And using your best judgement means taking your time as well: grabbing the first stock photo you find from a search without looking at some of your options or giving the selection process due diligence is more likely to lead you to choosing a corny stock photo, so take your time and be discerning.

2) Ask a Second Opinion

Sometimes one person's "corny" is another's charming, and it can be hard to tell at times if a picture that you thought was happy and up beat hits or misses the mark.  After you have selected a photo that you think would be perfect for your branding, make sure to ask around.  Get a second opinion from someone else in your company, and see if they think your selection looks corny.  Or, ask the opinion of a complete outsider, and let their reaction help guide your decision.  You don't have to trust on your judgement alone, and getting a second opinion can be a great way to avoid choosing imagery that looks corny to the general population.

3) Keep Up with Aesthetic Trends

Just like any other medium, stock photography moves in artistic and aesthetic trends, and what's in style is constantly evolving.  One of the easiest ways to accidentally choose corny stock photos for your business is to ignore aesthetic trends, and grab a photo that would have looked great a few years ago but looks dated and laughable in comparison to other more modern options.  You can check out our full list of the biggest aesthetic trends in stock photography in 2015 to help you keep up to date with what looks and feels modern in stock photography, and be sure to incorporate as many ideas from the list as you can to avoid choosing corny stock photos for your business.

4) Look for Natural Situations

With so many stock photographers in the world taking so many photos, there are a lot of interesting and amusingly staged situations and scenarios caught on camera that populate even the best stock photo libraries.  And one of the most sure fire way to choose a corny stock photo is to grab a picture where the staging and set-up just look flat out unnatural.  The ridiculously wide laughs, odd positioning, and other marks of unnaturally staged stock photos all translate into "corny" in the minds of your customers and clients.  So avoid this kind of reaction, and avoid corny stock photos in the process, by making sure that all of the scenes and situations you choose look natural and as "un-staged" as possible.

5) Don't Over Crop or Edit

Good stock photos are balanced, focused, and cropped  by a professional eye already, and unless you have a big history in graphic design or another aesthetic art form, cropping and editing existing stock photos can lead to corny results.  There is nothing wrong with a little cropping to help images fit your design, but if you over edit or crop, you can unintentionally end up with some very corny looking stock imagery.  To avoid creating a corny stock photo from a perfectly good one, revisit the other steps on this list when you crop or edit existing imagery.

The Bottom Line?

Yes, there is a lot of corny stock photography on the internet.  But there is a lot of great stock imagery too.  Use the tips above, and be mindful of the imagery you select, and you won't end up with a corny stock photo unless you want one.

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WebSofa.org was established way back 2009 by Scott Cole. It was made into reality when he was thinking to blog about his knowledge and skills on how to earn money online. Web Sofa was named after he was at his sofa when he decided to create this website. The rest of it is the history.

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