If you’ve ever written a blog post, e-newsletter or post on social media, you’ve probably struggled to pick an image that best conveys your message. When you know you only have a few seconds of consumers’ attention, then the image you choose to make a connection with them becomes incredibly important.

To make it simple, content marketing that looks inauthentic or cheap will alienate your customers. Regardless of how long you spend crafting your message or how great your information is, poor presentation can effectively render your point moot.

Ditching Corporate Imagery

So, what do you do? The need for high-quality, relatable images leaves organizations with lower marketing budgets in quite a bind. Without the means to take your own photos, you may find yourself relying on stock images. Sites like Getty and Shutterstock have millions of photo options and feel legitimate, but their selection can be very underwhelming.

It can be a fruitless task, spending hours clicking through page after page of stock photos on these sites, looking for that one image to best convey the theme of something you’ve written, only to come up empty. There’s something dehumanizing in those countless images of posed people in business suits sitting at clean white tables. The process makes you feel like even if you come across an image that thematically works, it will appear fake in some way.

The truth of the matter is your clients can sense this. Going to a standard stock photo site comes off as inauthentic, especially in an era where more photos are seen by more people every day than ever before. From Facebook to Instagram and Twitter, people have come to expect an inherent level of authenticity in images.

New Stock Photo Options For Authentic Imagery

Luckily, it’s becoming easier and easier to avoid standard stock photography. More and more sites are popping up with real, interesting photos taken by professional photographers who want to shake up the stock photo status quo. Most of these sites either ask for donations or that you sign up for email subscriptions, although some are completely free, with no strings attached. In fact, some of these sites allow you to use these images free of charge with no crediting necessary. Below are some of my favorite sites and examples of images:



Think Visually

Communicating with images like the ones above are essential to imparting your message. In the brief time you have the eyes of your audience, you must communicate that your organization is fresh, unique and understands your audience’s lifestyle. Using a glossy stock photo of an anonymous person working at an empty desk will only create a disconnect between you and them. Think authentic, and get creative with your visuals. It’ll make a difference.