What makes a photo look “Stocky”

Stock Photos are photos that are taken from a stock, a warehouse of photos. These are photos that are designed, arranged and created by professional photographers. The quality of these photos is often very high. The plus side of using Stock Photos is that you get high-quality images. The negative side of Stock Photos is that the images are all created to look a certain way. The photographers want to make as much money as possible so the photos they create has to work in as many settings as possible. This also means that Stock Photos have a very “Stock Photo Feeling” to them. They look “Stocky”.

Some characteristics of Stocky Photos

  1. A Stocky photo is a photo that can be easily identified as being a Stock Photo. 
  2. A Stocky photo is an arranged photo.  
  3. A Stocky photo is designed by a photographer.
  4. A Stocky photo is clean and bland
  5. A Stocky photo shows an idealised view of reality
  6. A Stocky photo doesn’t show something that would happen in real life

Here are some stocky photo examples from our blog (bad pictures)

These photos are all clearly designed by a photographer. 

What is NOT a Stocky photo?

A photo that doesn’t look like it’s Stocky is a photo that:

  1. Does not look arranged
  2. Shows something that could have happened in real life
  3. Looks like they are taken on an impulse

The last point is probably the most defining factor. If you can easily imagine what happened a few instances before the photo was taken (and it’s not the photographer saying “Give me huge smile and look up to the left”) then it’s a good photo. Not stocky photo. 

Here are some NOT Stocky examples from our blog (good pictures): 

Why this is important

Stock photos look cheap and make us look lazy.  A stock photo is used by thousands of other websites. If we use stock photos we will become one of thousands. 




Was this article helpful?