If we show you two images side by side, would you be able to tell which is a professional stock photo and which one is just a free give-away? We agree, sometimes it may be very difficult to spot the difference.But after you aredone with this article, it will be child’s play for you to identify an outstanding stock photo. Selection of the right stock photos isan integral part of web design, and having the ability to pick the best one is surely going to help you.

So what’s the purpose of good stock photographs?

Good quality stock photos can be used for client presentations and storyboards when you lack the budget for a fresh photoshoot. They are great for mockups that convey the idea of the design without involving the cost of original photography.

There are quite a few instances of international advertising agencies opting for stock photos simply because they were unique and met all the necessities. Using unique photos with commercial license always helps is strengthening the SEO of a website. Due to the lack of extensive medical based photography, most health and fitness, doctor’s profile and dentist’s profile websites use high quality stock photos.

Good quality stock photos will not be easy on your pockets

Usually professional photographers dedicate months, if not years, to take a perfect shot. That one perfect moment and unique angle defines the memory captured. These photos can never be reproduced, and once they become a part of a stock photography website or gallery, they do sell for a steep price.

You get what you pay for, and while buying stock photos for your website, saving a few bucks on the buy can cost you more later on. There are about 3 billion photographers, armed with their DSLRs, roaming this world, and almost 5 billion people are equipped with camera phones.It is expected that the quality of all photos will not be the same.

A good professional photographer spends hours to days waiting for the perfect frame and angle. His photo quality will definitely not be the same as that of a tourist equipped with an iPhone snapping photos for his family album.

So, while paying for a stock photo, you will have to remember that you are paying for the effort of a professional photographer which made it possible for you to get a photo to suit your website design and quality. We cannot say that there are no good quality stock photos available for free, but they are like finding diamond in a coal mine. So, to stay on the safe side, go with images that have a price tag on them.

Once you buy these stock photos, you can use them for commercial purposes. This means, you can add Alt text to the photos and boost your website’s SEO strategies in a few steps.

Steer clear of filters

The love for filters can be seen everywhere. From Instagram to Snapchat, people are filling up the internet with photos of themselves, animals and nature with filters applied. We won’t say that some of them don’t look stunning. But we can’t help but wonder about what most of these filter-users are trying to hide. A good photograph should be natural. When a photographer uses filters, it is usually to enhance the quality or to hide the flaws.

Even if there are no visible flaws in a stock photo, filters make it more difficult to find photos with the right flavor. Filters are the added garnish that may disguise the true flavor of a dish. If you want a filter for your final image, we suggest you to choose a stock photo without any filters and then apply a filter using Photoshop or Illustrator as a final touch. This will give you complete control of the look and design of your website.

Images in raw format will do the trick

There are two kinds of photographers — one who shoots images in raw format, and others who are amateurs at best. Shooting in raw format helps store more data and allows the images to be processed more easily. Processed images from a raw file have more depth and detailed highlights. You can always tell a jpg image apart from a raw image from the dullness of contrast and colors in the former one.

Processing an image can take considerable amount of time. This makes good quality, processed free images quite the rarity and the superior quality stock images a little expensive.

Flat is not in

This is absolutely untrue for website templates, but the axiom for photographers. A flat image lacks visual interest. A true photographer sees beyond the surface of the image. A photo should capture the spirit of the subject as well as the subject itself.

While an amateur photographer may capture the entire face for showing a perfect smile, a professional one can just zoom in on the smile with a lollipop in the foreground creating a depth in perception. These are very common differences in dentist profiles online. While some of them focus on the entire model, others are more aesthetically pleasing and focus on different types of smiles to convey the happiness and satisfaction. There are very small factors that can make a huge impact on your business and website traffic.

Avoid clichés

A great trait of a good stock photo is its uniqueness. A good photo will capture more than just people’s faces or actions. It should capture an idea that reaches out to your clients.

For example, a copycat amateur photographer might show an entire dental setup complete with a terrified patient in background to showcase your dental practice. An experienced one, on the other hand, may just use one model in front with the rest of the machinery and set ups in the background to keep the photo clutter-free.

Always remember, free stock images that mimic over-preached stock images are very easy to spot. If you can tell it’s a stock image without giving it a second look, your visitors will know it too!

As we have mentioned before, finding a high quality free stock image is not impossible. But the problem is, it may overtly look like a stock image and your business/brand will become one of the many that use similar stock images to build their online presence. This will not help you make a lasting impression on the visitors’ minds.

Author bio:

Justin Blake is a well known author and blogger. He has been working on SEO and digital marketing since the floppy ages. He is known as the messiah of medical SEO, health and fitness SEO and dental SEO strategies that have saved hundreds of practices through