John DeMato

By John DeMato

Here’s Why Stock Photography Can Hurt Your Brand

Here’s Why Stock Photography Can Hurt Your Brand 150 150 John DeMato

Fan of stock photos? Here are my two cents on it…

Why spend money on stale, stock photos when you could spend money on juicy, branded lifestyle portraits?

I’ve come across a TON of speakers who use stock photography for not only their social posts but their websites, digital ads, and printed materials.


Actually, the better words to use here is STOP THAT NONSENSE RIGHT NOW!

How come?

Because stock photography is not you. It’s not who you are, who you serve, and why you do what you do.

And everyone who sees them recognizes that they are not uniquely you.

It’s sending a generic message through generic photos that are available to everyone who is willing to pay for them.

You Are Not Generic

You have a personality and illustrate emotions through your facial expressions and body language in a unique way, which are all visual cues to those who view these images.

They paint a broad and vivid picture of how you operate.

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portraits SPeaker Coach Pia Silva podcasting NYC Branded Lifestyle Portraits SPeaker Coach Jez Cartwright on computer NYC Branded Lifestyle Portraits Speaker Coach Author Michael OBrien playing with yoyo NYC Branded Lifestyle Portraits Speaker Coach Tricia Brouk brainstorming

If you are in the business of transformation, the last thing you want to do is leverage stock images as the visual punctuations to the sentiments of the insightful and inspiring stories ABOUT YOU that REPRESENT YOU to your audience.

Your Expertise is Special

you have a gift in some shape or form. Don’t water it down with visual imagery that was created without you specifically in mind.

Give yourself the best opportunity to present yourself powerfully and purposefully by creating an image content library of photos that are unique and special to your life and business.

Unlike stock photos, these types of images break the fourth wall between you and those you serve because they illustrate aspects of your process, how you brainstorm, work with clients, and spend your free time.

They create rapport and connection, and give the audience an opportunity to visualize how it would be to work with you. And, if they can envision working with you, that’s one step closer to converting them into a paying client.  

Remember one important point – you are in the business of building relationships, so every touchpoint – social post, blog article, website, etc. – counts. Make them count more with images that clearly have you, your brand and business front and center.

Does that mean you need to post lifestyle portraits of yourself every single day?

Absolutely not.

There is other image content that you can incorporate into your portfolio. Add in a wide variety of image content that has personal and special meaning to you.

Start with the way you work – what does that look like? Branded photos of your desk space, the technology you leverage and the way in which you work throughout the day will help you become more relatable to those you serve.

But, that’s all a warmup.

You can also create image content with books, mementos, photos of your family, kids, hobbies, and other fun activities that help serve you in your quest to show up in the world the way you want, especially when it comes to how you serve your clients.

Own your expertise.

Own your business.

Own your brand by sharing visual imagery that is uniquely aligned to you and those you serve. This will create a much more impactful relationship between you and them.

Take a pass on the stock stuff – your community will appreciate you for it, 🙂


John DeMato is a NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and content creation expert who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how, what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.