Stock photos in blog posts

Do you use stock photos when you blog?

A friend’s post yesterday mentioned he takes time to search for a stock photo to supplement his posts. This made me wonder about my own blog:

Would a stock photo be useful for me?

I tend to not use stock photos; if I use anything at all, it’s my own images which I typically take with my phone.

But most of my posts don’t include any images.

I pondered about this as I sipped my second coffee. While I scrolled through my reader I suddenly saw an image I had seen before. This one:

The image looked really familiar. I searched my brain and realized why: another blogger I follow had used this image before. Maybe a few months ago?

Here is it:

So my questions today for you are these:

  1. What is the value of stock photos?
  2. Do you, when you seek out blog posts to read, look for images first?
  3. If not images, what do you look for that make you want to read something?

For me, I tend to flip flop all over the place when it comes to reading blogs and looking at images. 🙃

Some days I really like looking at the various photos people choose to supplement their blog posts. But I tend to like the unique, self-taken ones better than the stock photos.

Other days, I want a title that hooks me, that seduces me to want to read more, and not an image.

On the topic of titles:

I tend to skip over dates in titles – I don’t care what date you wrote the post, I want to know something of interest you will be talking about. (I fail at this occasionally too – coming up with good titles is time consuming and I don’t always have the brain power to deal with this.)

In terms of whether or not to use stock photos – I’m neither here nor there about them. I personally don’t like to use generic photos on my unique words, but stock photos don’t deter me from reading your words.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I tend to not make much sense by the time June, and end of school, arrives… 🙄

But let’s stay with this topic for a moment. Allow me to illustrate my point:

The above stock picture was chosen by two different blogger and for two different reasons.

The first blogger, AintLifeGrand101, chose that image because it evoked a romantic, sexual idea to her. She is inviting us to imagine her own feet in the picture, then further discusses how satisfied she is in her new relationship.

The other blogger chose that same image to illustrate a completely different notion: exhaustion (work and illness related). He titled it 12 Hours Sleep.

That stock picture is generic enough that it suits both topics. Don’t you think?


32 thoughts on “Stock photos in blog posts

  1. For now, I am only a reader on WordPress, so I can give you my side of perspective. Usually, if I see some photo on a lot of posts I get an image in my head that this man didn’t even care about the photo which is coming right after his title, why should I take care about his content.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. Not sure what the value of stock photos are, but I guess it’s all in relation to marketing your content, so perhaps the value is high? Then again, a great photo doesn’t equal a great post.
    2. I don’t look at images first if I’m seeking out a blog post, I care a lot more about the content.
    3. A title can grip me, but if there’s an interesting image to accompany it I may be more enticed to read on, but that depends. For example, I would expect a graphic design blog to be more visual than textual with its blog posts, especially if the subject is on the work of a specific graphic artist.

    I think your blog is fine without photos. You are a self-proclaimed writer of words, not a curator of images for your words. 😊

    I prefer to use images from as opposed to standard stock photos for my blog since there are a lot of indie photog contributors that utilize that site and the photos are free, unique, and of excellent quality. I’m also a contributor there, though I don’t submit often.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have used a couple stock photos when I needed to demonstrate something but don’t have my own pics, or when I’m talking about a specific product. I don’t mind seeing stock photos, but I far prefer the authenticity of the personal photos people post because they show me another side of that blogger’s personality and perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t use stock photos but I do love a beautifully taking photo on a blog. Your post made me think so thank you!


  5. I like using photos when I post, it’s something I picked up years ago on Vox. At the time, I’d collected an array of “Mood” photos, and then whenever I’d post if I felt confident or moody or whatever, I’d post a photo. They weren’t always stock photos, but at the same time, most of them were age-old photos of old movie and cartoon stars so I don’t think they cared that much. I think adding a photo adds a little something extra to a post and just maybe when I see two posts for someone I don’t normally follow, I might be more apt to read the one with a photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting perspective, Claudette. ☺️ Unique words do deserve unique photos. I mainly use stock photos for my blog because I prefer the quality over any photo I’m able to take with my crappy phone camera (also, I’ve got limited subject options around here, lol). Another thing is…I tend to occasionally craft a story by using a stock photo as a bit of a starter. It’s wonderful fun, and kind of an interesting experience to merge my creativity with another source of creativity. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the stock photos are often much better quality, I agree!

      I understand the creativity thing too…sometimes looking at photos inject a whole new creativity that then propels us to write something unique. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think a blog needs a picture. It isn’t always the case, but it certainly helps. I would prefer to use my own images, but I don’t always have the one I am looking for. In that case I turn to free stock photos or pictures labeled for reuse.
    While it is true that I don’t always note other people’s titles and pictures when I read their blogs, I think both of those things are necessary. Of course, if you have a great opening line, it may not be necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My biggest issues with anyone using photos on their blog (or really anywhere), is “Do they have the rights to use the photo?” and if so, “Did they credit the source/photographer?” These are issues because copyright theft and abuse is huge in the photography industry. There are lots of sites out there offering free images, but not all of them actually have the rights to offer those images. Sometimes people will just pull a photo off of Google images or wherever, not caring whether they have the right to use it or not. I have no problems with stock images, as long as they are obtained fairly and legally, from reputable locations and are cited as to where they came from. I almost always have a photo attached to a post, but every single one is mine unless I’ve noted otherwise, and I do that very clearly. It is just way too easy to see an image, say “Ooohh! That’s pretty!” and then use it wherever and however you want, and most people don’t even realize that in a lot of cases, that is actually theft. Sorry, kind of a sore spot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes the giving credit thing is crucial.

      Some sites state up front the the pictures are public domain, but just randomly googling and copying pictures without permission or credit is a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. To me the right picture makes the blog better….and it’s fun to arrange them….kind of like doing a magazine layout. I only use my own pics though, although I have occasionally used a stock one if I can’t find one that suits.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vis a vis the stock feet photo – I guess the choice is made, processed like tea leaves, through the user’s psyche at that moment.

    Myself, I can spend an inordinate amount of time search for the exact image that illustrates my feelings at that particular moment. Lately, though, I’ve been reusing images that have already made it to my “media” gallery, because I’m creeping up there, storage-wise.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I don’t use photos much at all. Don’t take my own very often, so if I feel I want to put something in the post that isn’t about family or a vacation trip then I would likely turn to a stock photo. I do try to always credit the photographer or website if I use someone else’s work though. I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong, benefit or not, but I have read from “blogging experts” that photos are a necessity. Unless I’m going to a blog known for photography then I’m typically drawn in by the title more than anything. I’m horrible with titles so anything catchy always makes me interested!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. To me, stock photos need to get posted with credits when they do. When I see stock photos getting used without credit, it makes me mad!

    That being said, never underestimate the power of clickbait. If your aim is to get views, the right photo can increased views more than any words on a page – because the majority of people are more visual in nature.

    I guess it depends on your motivation. Are you seeking to make your post the way you want to and just do as you please and see who sees it? Or are you aiming to appeal to the masses. Because adding the right picture will increase views.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. As someone who – to put it kindly – is unable to produce a catchy picture I adore the skill of professionals and thus stock photos:) But I always hope to discover the more unused ones, it’s really not such a great feeling to see “my” photo on another blog. I feel like the photos just lighten up the whole article, especially since some people (like me) use the dark screen on their computer and the black can be a little too overwhelming without a friendly warm picture above it.

    All the best

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am fine reading blogs that don’t have photos. I don’t think they are necessarily necessary. Some say people are drawn to posts on either blogs or Facebook that have photos. Whatever. I used a stock photo once, of a very old car, as I thought it added to my post and I don’t own a vintage car 🙂 But the rest of the time I use my own photos.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m the same. I don’t think I’ve used stock photos, but if I have it’s waaaaay back, or on another blog. But I’m attracted to the words, generally. Instragram is full of pictures, I go look there for that.

      Liked by 1 person

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