The 15 Worst Marketing Stock Photos of 2012

JasmineHenry
Jasmine Henry Content Marketing Manager, Inbound Marketing Agents

Posted on January 1st 2013

The 15 Worst Marketing Stock Photos of 2012

Truly Terrible Imagery

worst stock photos2012 has been a good year for technology, health, and the economy. We were blessed with the best of the best in the iPhone 5, the healthcare industry took a major leap forward with their advancements in robotic surgery, and the U.S. economy took a small but positive turn in the right direction.

For stock photos, however, 2012 has been a year full of setbacks. Please consider this your fair warning: using these stock photos on your website will hurt, not help, your business. In fact, cut out stock photos all together. Actual photos of your employees are 95% more effective at converting prospects into leads than stock photography, and there’s no excuse not to break out the old digital camera and snap a few quick photos.

Just for a few giggles, take a look at our list of the 15 worst stock photos of 2012. Laugh with us, won’t you?

#15 - Clock on Computer?

worst stock photos

Photo Credit: 123rft.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Apple Releases New Computer, Forgets to Include Digital Clock on Screen, Rectifies By Giving Everyone Wall Clock to Keep With Computer

  • Like Ticks On A Wall Clock, These Are The Days of Our Job

Advice: Don’t use random objects for your photography. Especially two items that don’t belong in a photo together.

#14 - Don’t Cry, Young’un!!

worst stock photo

Photo Credit: vi.sualize.us

Possible Relevant Article Titles: 

  • Social Security Will Run Out By 2035, Children Forced Into Workplace

  • Average Age of C-Level Executives Continues to Decrease

Advice: Leave these photos for grandma’s holiday card. They don’t belong on your promotional materials or your website.

#13 - Massive Headache or Massive Problems?

worst stock photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: kildare.ie

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Office Runs Out of Tylenol, Business Professionals Forced to Suffer

  • Bad Haircut Results In Constant Need To Cover Sideburns

Advice: How often do people actually look like this at work? And why is the international symbol for frustration touching your head or face in some way?

#12 - Negative Graph

worst stock photo

 
Photo Credit: investmenteurope.net

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Stairs Plummet From Sky, Crash Into Earth, Giants To Blame

  • Sales Down, Graph Breaks Bottom Line, Employees Clean Out Desks

Advice: Trying to create panic in your employees or clients? Show them this doom’s day graph.

#11 - Sign of the End?

worst stock image

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Office Sells Furniture, Employees Distraught

  • Sitting On Floor Reduces Happiness, Builds Tension

Advice: See the graph on the screen? Now repeat advice in #11.

#10 - Which Way Do I Go?

bad stock image

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Road To Wrong  Actually Same Road To Right; Moral Ambiguity Ahead

  • Red Assigned As Color For Bad, Green For Good; Elmo Punished, Oscar Rewarded

Advice: Don’t be vague. Say what you mean.

#9 - Quiet Down, Y’all.

horrible stock photo

Photo Credit: isbdc.org

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Study Shows Using Pointer Finger More Successful At Quieting Than Middle Finger; Road Ragers Adjust

  • Finger Too Big For Nostril, Inner Nose Itch Persists

Advice: Cropping isn’t always creative.

#8 - Sterile Environment or Best Conference Room Ever? 

terrible stock photo

Photo Credit: footage.shutterstock.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Conference Table Too White, Causes Temporary Blindness

  • Studies Show Closing Eyes Is More Intimidating, Also Good For Sleeping

Advice: Your staff meetings don’t really look like this. Take a picture of your next conference and compare.

#7 - Nice Haircut

strange stock photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Clark Kent Becomes 4th Charlie’s Angel

  • Man Buys New Tie; Thanks higher power.

Advice: Use a real employee. In an office. With color on the walls. Or actual walls.

#6 - Loud Conversation?

awful stock photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Photo Credit: afestein.net

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Man Enjoys Living In Past, Never Buys Cell Phone

  • Research Suggests Stock Photo Models Resembling Patrick Bateman Do Not Inspire Trust In Customers

Advice: If you’re going to use stock photos, at least keep them in this century.

#5 - Great Use of Your Tablet.

awful stock image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Man’s Tablet Screen Turns White; Like Mayans, Believes End Of World Is Near

  • New NothingApp Does Nothing, Shows Nothing, Is Nothing; Rated #1 on iTunes for 7 Months

Advice: Your photos should reflect reality. If your tablet only shows a white screen, get a new one and retake the picture.

#4 - How Am I Doing?
worst stock photos 

Photo Credit: businessmanagementdaily.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Product So Horrible It Was Marked Poor Twice

  • Government Rates Its Ability To Judge What Citizens Need

Advice: This doesn’t really show anything about your company and it certainly doesn’t show anything about your product, so why use it? 

#3 - Riot!

worst stock photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Photo Credit: socialistworker.org

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Bieber Fever Spreads to Wall Street

  • Man On Phone Attacked By Angry People With iPads; Investigation Pending

Advice: Crowds aren’t always best for photos. There’s too much going on.

#2 - A Million Little Pieces

strange stock photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Photo Credit: gawker.com

Possible Relevant Article Topics:

  • Customer Thinks Shattered Screen Is 3D Effect, Cuts Hand

  • iPhone Recall Issued Due to Exploding Screens

Advice: Just Don’t.

#1 - Yum!

worst stock photo ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.com

Possible Relevant Article Titles:

  • Doctors Mix Woman’s DNA With Rabbit, Result Is Disturbing

  • Eating Lettuce Aids In Digestion; Eating Lettuce With Hands Aids In Death By Germs

Advice: Does it even need any advice? Surely you get it by now...

header image credit: Simon Dowden/freedigitalphotos.net

JasmineHenry

Jasmine Henry

Content Marketing Manager, Inbound Marketing Agents

Jasmine is resident Content Marketing Rockstar at Inbound Marketing Agents, an innovative Gold HubSpot partner agency based in Nashville, TN. While she writes it all and then some, her favorite topics are small business growth, branding and millennials.

See Full Profile >

Comments

I agree with you Jasmine, most people use stock photo it doesn't look professional. But for the photos above, not all photos are bad, it depends on what the articles about.

If you look at the study, it only examines one picture which seems overly generic. I would blame poor selection, composition, and usage instead of discarding stock photography completely.

When used correctly, stock photography can actually be very effective.