16 Reasons Why Traditional Stock Photo Websites Suck


As social networking grows, so too does the consensus that we don’t care about idealistic scenarios from the sexist ads from the 50s.

It’s real, and it happens; it was only a matter of time. The largest stock photography sites and stock photographers seem to have their heads in the sand these days. After all, who hasn’t seen one of their cookie-cutter images portraying unrealistic scenarios? Are we supposed to relate to these? As social networking grows, so too does the consensus that we don’t give a shit about idealistic scenarios – those were part of the sexist ads from the 50s. You’ve all seen or heard of Mad Men, right? Advertising is a bit different than appealing to gender roles these days. Conformity isn’t cool – rebellion is all the rage (and really, isn’t that the basis behind the entire hipster phase?)

So, we as a society are all about the individual. Social media like Facebook is all about me, and you know what? It’s fantastic! We’re celebrating ourselves as an individual. We promote ourselves as individuals. Can I personally relate to half of the ads I see in print? No, I am so hyper-aware of what they are trying to do and trying to sell that the majority of the time, I, personally, critique them. Oh, look at her; I know she looks pretty, but because of a funny thing such as Google and trending articles, I know precisely how much Photoshop went into that. Traditional stock photography is very much the same. Their content is based on outdated ideas of advertising while simultaneously forgetting the individual and the fact that most everything is online. Magazines are replaced with personal blogs, Tumblr, Twitter, websites, YouTube – absolutely everything on the Internet completely negates the point of print and the stereotypical photographs used in its advertising. Why? Why not? On a webpage, you can have a thousand different images and videos and embedded audio.

WordPress alone has had over 100 million installs. Websites have cropped up all over for the sole purpose of entertaining us. The funniest thing about those websites? Their word count is usually less than five hundred, and it is mostly taken up with images and videos. Need an example? Distractify, Buzzfeed, 9GAG are some examples, but there are thousands out there, and they have a massive amount of traffic every day. So with this in mind, traditional themes for stock photography seem silly! Here are 16 instances of how dated and tired looking images are targeted at old school ad agencies and marketing departments than the new world of bloggers and publishers.

  1. Photos of men wearing expensive suits and ties – let us get real here, even high-end law firms are heading the casual dress route.
    Men wearing expensive suits and ties
  2. Every worker is smiling and happy – sure, everyone has seen the stereotypical smiling attractive office workers – ON TV – but does this represent reality? Do we need to live in an idealistic world? Everyone can be a journalist these days, and everyone wants to expose some truth. Let’s have some fun like our sticky note businessman.
  3. Lack of home offices – yep, every home office worker dresses up in a suit and has a tidy office – NOT! I am writing this article in my home office with three monitors, computers on the floor, books and papers everywhere, wearing yesterday’s t-shirt and track pants. Total mess and casual. When was the last time I wore a suit? The better question is, would it even fit!Every home office worker dresses up in a suit
  4. Lack of stay at home caregivers images – caregivers both to children and elderly in realistic scenes.
  5. Elderly that are all healthy and happy – yes, typical ad agencies want to ‘sell’ or ‘project’ that every elderly person is happy and in good hands and good health – that is what they study in marketing 101, but that is not the reality that millions of bloggers want to depict. Elderly that are all healthy and happy
  6. Although they can be useful, large stock agencies have overkill on people shaking hands and giving out business cards – I know people still give out business cards and shake hands, but enough already – we have millions of these images – people don’t even give out cards anymore. Who wants to manually type in the info into their computers – old school, right? We’re the now generation, not the then generation.
  7. Businesswomen in low cut dresses and high heels – is free love and 1970’s TV shows making a comeback?Businesswomen in low cut dresses
  8. Models looking straight at the camera – Hollywood doesn’t even do it, so why do stock photographers?
  9. Shooting models from above – makes them seem lower in stature – because we all want to be tiny, squished people.
  10. Business documents all contain graphs, charts, or financial data – what company pays for pretty charts and graphs on paper – are we still in the 1950s? Business documents all contain graphs charts or financial data
  11. Crowds of people looking at a computer monitor – for one, I am not even sure what situation in a workplace would have people gather around another employee’s desk, and second, social media has replaced any sharing of information in this manner.
  12. People holding large blank white cards – because every sorry sailor out there has the shit job of waving a board declaring sale in front of a mattress warehouse.People holding large blank white cards
  13. Every doctor and nurse have stethoscopes. Is this realistic? Or, let me reiterate, how many times do the doctors in film and television are stethoscopes? Anyone seen House? 
  14. People of mixed ethnicity – if you were an alien and viewed the world through samples of stock images, you would think 95% of humans were Caucasian. Well, we all know that is far from the truth, so why are there so few stock images that portray this? The largest cities around the world, from London to New York to Toronto and onward, are largely populated by mixed ethnicities.
  15. People of mixed Religion – despite movements to reduce the prominence of religion, it’s still a major aspect to a large portion of the world’s population. And no, I don’t mean in your face, look at all these religions in one picture world peace ftw in every image, but there should at least be options.
  16. Gay lifestyle – the trend in Hollywood is to portray gay lifestyle as mainstream – marketing and stock imagery needs to follow this trend.

Can a blogger afford that? 

Has anyone seen the Debenhams Department store marketing? If not, here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/debenhams-look-book-diversity_n_3064148.html That’s what stock photography needs to aim for. (And guess what? That article was trending too) Although the comments are aimed at both stock agencies and photographers, it’s these stock photography sites that seem to dictate what can and cannot be accepted into their websites. Many of the largest stock photography sites are arrogant enough to actually think they know what images you should take. If a photographer submits images that do not fit into the fold of what they think is good stock photography, they reject it. Talk about good old peer pressure, no? This is all old school thinking; stock agencies suffer from outdated images and very expensive pricing. 

Kozzi is one of the largest private collections of images in the world!

God no. And yet, you have to have the license to use images. Those websites I was talking about before? Buzzfeed and the like? Underneath each image, you will see which website they retrieved the image from, and most of the time, yes, it is from a stock photography website. The problem? Just think of how much traffic a website like Buzzfeed gets every day. They can afford to use expensive subscriptions. Can everyone? No. 

We Kozzi try to buck the trend. First, on the price front, Kozzi can’t be beaten – high-resolution images cost only $1.00, including vector EPS clipart files. 

Feel confident that all the images on Kozzi are legal. Each image on Kozzi is produced by Kozzi himself. These days the last thing you want is to be tangled up in any sort of legal infraction involving copyright infringement. Especially as your webpage or blog gets more traffic and more people start to notice (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all of you who haven’t broken through the mold yet), it’s vital to have the license to the images you use. So unless you have the recourses and time to produce the images yourself, it’s pretty standard to go to a stock photography site. 


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