Have Stock Photos Killed The Blogosphere?

There is always that free stock photo that looks professional but you’ve seen it used on different blogs. How can a Featured image be featured on so many articles? Where is the originality of the content produced?

Eyeballs Favour Pictures Over Text

Following a bunch of studies and facts, the Internet actors realised the importance of images and illustrations. A great post on Hubspot gives many insights they gathered from several scientific studies, and some of them are extremely clear:

  • visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text
  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text
  • 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company

Fact: our brain processes visual content 60,000X faster than text

Once bloggers, marketers and other web pawns realised the power of images, they started reorganising their layouts. Less text, more pictures.

And The Web Became A Huge Picture

Those who have been on the web for over a decade will remember how everything was text-based. Animated GIFs were the ultimate thrill.

Now, as soon as you arrive on a blog or sales page, you will see nine times out of ten a big ass pictures, called featured image. Yep, just like the one on top of this page.

Lucky for everybody, our broadband connections have sped up exponentially over the last years so high-quality pictures load up pretty fast.

Because we only know how much is enough when it’s too much, the blogosphere shot itself in the foot.

Every single content creator now takes as much time to create the actual content as he takes to find an impactful features image. Some are going to great lengths by taking them with their own camera, others prefer illustrations, and 99% of us prefer stock photos.

Stock Photos Saved The Blogosphere

When you write a text-only page, you know you’ve got to write some good fucking words that actually make send and convey a real message. But when you know people will remember the visual over the text, you bet a lot more on the picture than on the text.

But… Writing only requires a text editor and a blank page. The quality comes from within. Featured images of high quality require a different set of skills, and an expensive set of tools: a high-end camera, a photoshop license, the lighting equipment, etc.

So what do we do instead? We get our so-called featured images on websites listing thousands of photographs taken by few people who have the skill set and the equipment.

Stock photos started by helping us all: we can easily, and for free, add some make-up to our otherwise boring pages. We now have beautiful posts!

And Then… Stock Photos Killed The Content

There are so many stock photo banks out there, with amazing shots, but yes, they cost a bit of money. From a few bucks to dozens, but even these ones are styled just like the others…

Because we only know how much is enough when it’s too much, the blogosphere shot itself in the foot. The same photos and the same fucking styles of photographs have been used, re-used and abused.

starbucks macbook working

Readers are starting to seriously hate that unauthentic “working from Starbucks” feeling.

A beautiful wooden table, a cup of coffee, an Apple MacBook and for those who want to play it differently, an iPad or a watch can make an appearance.

Why? Why, why, and why? Why did we have to go that far and just keep on using the same beautiful pictures? Have we lost our uniqueness as bloggers? Are we all writing about making (hypothetically) a shit load of money working from home, using social medias to spread the word, all of that wrapped in a fancy stock photography that readers have seen every-fucking-where…

If that’s what blogging has come to, it makes my keyboard melt.