The pro’s and con’s of using stock photos in your business.

Being in the start up phase of your business is expensive and it’s natural to look for ways to ease some of that financial pressure early on. Many dietitians skip out on getting some professional photos taken for themselves for their marketing and often look to stock photos as a back up. 

No-one would follow a social media account that had no photos or look at a website that was text only now would they? 

There are many businesses out there successfully producing stock photos that are there for the uptake for other businesses. 

It can be a challenge to produce enough quality photos for your business and brand. However, I  don’t actually want your social media feed to be just photos of you or stock photos. The key to a good social media strategy is to have a combination of images – you should appear 3 times in a 9 grid as a minimum, a stock photo here and there is ok, but the key is creating savable and sharable content which is where infographic style posts come in. 

Why stock photos aren’t a fabulous visual marketing strategy. 

1.Stock photos can be used by many companies.

Actually last year I had a nutritionist ask us to swap out a photo on her website because a college had used the exact photo and she didn’t want people to associate her brand with the college. Using stock photos doesn’t create a unique brand experience. Your brand is unlikely to be remembered, or remembered for the wrong reasons as you get lost in a sea of competitors. 

2. Stock photos conform to the “highlight reel” mentality.

By this I mean they are often “perfect” photos that don’t depict real life. They appear too posed and far from reality. Stock images often exaggerate situations making them look over polished. 

3. Stock photos are impersonal.

When was the last time you saw an image of a person that truly represented your ideal clients? They are rarely tailored to your brand and therefore come across as impersonal and inauthentic. The result? Your brand appears untrustworthy. 

4.Outdated and non professional imagery is obvious.

Your brand will look out of touch with reality if you are using imagery that is old and over filtered. 

How to make stock photos work

If you are going to use stock photos, here are our tips on how to make it work best. 

1.Incorporate your branding elements. 

The key here is to make sure they fit into your visual marketing strategy by ensuring they are on brand. Do they incorporate your branding colours, can you add a logo, an overlay, some text. 

2.Pay attention to context. 

It’s easy for a photo to look great by itself, but you need to pick a photo that is relevant to your context and business. The first question to ask yourself, does your image match your copy? 

3.Choose photos that match your feed. 

Take some time to think about the look and feel you are trying to convey, then search for images that match that goal. By doing this, you will find that your audience will begin to recognise your style and they will look less “stock” overall. 

4.Use photos from the same photographer or series. 

Once you have your brands aesthetics and you have finally found something you like that matches, go find more of that where it came from. Chances are the same photographer will have more photos in their gallery that you can use. 

5.Use them sporadically. 

Mix stock photos in with your own photos, pictures of you and infographic style images. Start with determining how often you are going to use a stock photo ie once or twice  in a 9 grid and stick to it. 

6.Choose photos that allow you to edit.

Adding text to images, a countdown, an engagement question, icons, illustrations or branding elements can take a simple stock photo and make it a branded, non stocky image. You can use search terms like white space or copy space when looking for stock photos with the intention of adding elements to it. 

7.Use Mock Up Images.

I’m sure you have seen the images where there is an iphone or ipad or laptop screen that allows you to put your branding content in the screen section so it looks like someone is looking at your website or a resource you’ve created etc. Here’s an example if you don’t know what I am talking about. 


These types of posts/images are great for making an announcement or showcasing some of your work or resources. You can get really specific in your image search. If you need a particular brand colour, search that plus the device you are after.

 See how we have used mock up images on our website here.

Five of the best stock photo websites

If using stock photos is still part of your strategy then here are some of the reliable websites you can access good quality images for free. 


  1. Pexels –
  2. Unsplash –
  3. Pixabay –
  4. Foodiesfeed –
  5. Styled Stock –

How infographics can benefit your social media strategy

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If you are a dietitian nutritionist and you are not using infographics, you are missing out on marketing opportunities for your business. 

Infographics are a great way to summarize data and share information in a compelling and engaging way. We are all familiar with social media algorithms and know they favour saveable and shareable content. If you were to post purely a stock image, what is savable and sharable about that? If you were say a dietitian that helped mums lose weight and you create an infographic that showed diet mentality, then picture what happens when those mums shared with all their friends online. You could see how them sharing it, exposes you to a far greater audience than just your own which is a perfect growth strategy for you. 

Let’s take a closer look at why your social media strategy as a dietitian nutritionist should include the creation of infographics. 

1.The quicker you process information, the quicker you can make decision. 

The mind processes information in images faster than it does words. Infographics help you communicate your message quicker and in turn helps your audience get to the end goal quicker. 

2.Increase exposure 

As mentioned before, you can increase your audience reach by creating sharable and savable content which is then favoured by algorithms and gives you great exposure. 

3.Help you tell a story 

Due to their format, they have the ability to help your audience understand a complex concept far quicker and position you as an expert by allowing you to get your message across about your products, services and industry. 

4.Less time consuming. 

We live in a fast paced world where content is consumed instantly before swiping.

So all in all, stock photos have a time and place. 

They can be used as part of your marketing but shouldn’t be the only images you use. When it comes to social media, ideally you want to be creating personalised posts that show you as a person of authority or content that is savable and sharable. 

If you are going to use stock photos, make them your own. 

So stay with me and I hope you will continue to share my journey with me.

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