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Inbound Marketing Blog

    The 15 Worst Marketing Stock Photos of 2012

    Posted by Robert Coles

    Truly Terrible Imagery

    2012 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...

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    header image credit: Simon Dowden/freedigitalphotos.net

    Topics: Design