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The Art of Making That Stock Image Look Real!

shutterstock_366038264-1.jpgThe choice of images has long been an important ingredient of creating a successful ad. Over the years, consumers have gotten savvy and can now easily detect when they are being sold to. The most obvious giveaway is where the photo or image looks "staged". This is a red flag as the consumers of today do not want to be sold to and brands need to have a real connection with consumers. So what can designers do to help their clients especially where their clients rely heavily on stock images? Here are a few tips to make that stock image look real.


#1. Papa don't preach!


Ads containing these kinds of images obviously looks like it’s a paid advertisement. Avoid images showing a person pointing with his fingers or who looks like he is presenting. This just screams “I know better.” Instead, choose pictures that are actually using the product. This way it looks more convincing and powerful.





#2. Who is your dentist?


Aren’t they soooo happy? Yeah right! Avoid images with fake, white toothy smile. Choose images that come across as natural and not posed.  Like in real life, fake smiles on ads can be a real turn off.




#3. Let the emotions flow



This image is supposed to convey anger however to me it comes across as cute and posed at the same time. If you want the image to convey a particular emotion, select one that truly does.


#4. Filters in the wrong place.



Orange filter denotes afternoon, sunny, dreamy, instagram-like feel. However, at times it can feel artificial depending on the setting and the original image. Too much red-orange filters in the outdoor images make it look unnatural on a blue sky or an entirely cloudy sky. Instead, consider lightly treated images which have filters close to real tones. That way it looks dramatic, powerful and most of all, authentic.




#5. Group photos only for a pose



Group photos of professionals often times signal that this is for an ad. It does not show what they’re doing and is not convincing even with their complete costumes. Instead, consider images that show people doing their job. This is far more persuasive than an image showing a group of people posing for a camera and doing nothing.


These are just some personal tips on how you can detect images looking like the default stock photos. At the advent of digital photography, there are a lot more images to try and be wary not to fall into the trap of these images.






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