Stock Photography Performs Better Than Original Photography

Posted on 1/16/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

You’ve seen all the stories about how stock photography is junk, will chase customers away and destroy a company’s business. Well now Darren Johnson, publisher of Campus News, says that Stock Photography actually Performs Better for his publication Than Original Photography.

He points out that there are often advantages to generic photography over specific. Stock images tend to be perfectly composed, angled and Photoshopped. One of the things he really likes is that stock photography fits the page rather than the page being forced to fit the photography.

In summary he said, “overall, stock photography is inclusive, while original photography is exclusive (aimed at one particular event or moment in time). For a modern print paper — considering the web scoops all exclusive stories — inclusivity may be the better tact.”

He further explained three of the reasons why he has found that stock photography often works better for his paper than original photography.
While stock photography may be generic, and original photography specific, the former won’t lose you a customer. For example, our recent cover with a stock image of a woman dressed for success, which we linked to an article on interning, performed better than the issue before it, with an original photo of a campus food program. The original photo wasn’t bad, but it conveyed something specific — a person passing our rack either was interested in that specific topic, or not. The latter person would not pick up the paper, because a choice was presented. But the stock art was vague enough to elicit curiosity — thus, a higher pickup rate.”

Stock photography is perfectly composed, angled and Photoshopped. The colors are more vibrant and the juxtaposition of elements in the photo are just right. This serves as a better design element than original photography. Let’s put our egos aside — unless we are at a huge daily paper, we likely don’t have that same photographic talent on staff.”

Stock photography fits the page, as opposed to the page fitting the photography. For example, with stock photography, you can usually find exactly what you need — a vertical photo facing inward? No problem. However, with original photography, the photo is the photo. You may have to reflow text because of the photo, to the detriment of design.”

Read his whole story here.

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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