5 Reasons to Stop Using Generic Legal Stock Photos

It’s easy to access generic legal stock photos for your website and social media pages. Simply plug in the right search terms (i.e. lawyer handshake) and watch an array of photo options appear. But just as an easy argument at trial isn’t always the best argument, an easy-to-get photo is rarely the superior option.

The right photos can set your firm apart from the generic competition. That can mean more money, better clients, and a stronger reputation in the legal community. Here are five reasons why it’s time to stop using legal stock photos that are not customized for your firm.

Generic Stock Photos Create …

1. Inconsistent Branding

How do you want to be perceived? Are you the corporate lawyers who write airtight contracts and aggressively litigate every detail? The family firm that puts children first? The solo practitioner who zealously defends civil rights? Branding matters.

Your photos are a key part of your brand. And a stock photography service does not take your branding goals into consideration. In fact, their specialty is creating completely generic photos that anyone can use. This means that, almost by definition, the images will not be memorable. Worse still, they may actively undermine other branding efforts. Consider how stock photos that present mostly middle-aged white males might harm the marketing efforts of a firm that prides itself on diversity. Photos show clients who you are. Make sure the message they convey is accurate.

2. Licensing Issues

All stock photos come with licensing restrictions. Depending upon the size of your firm, how you use the photos, and how popular your website is, you could run afoul of these licensing restrictions. For instance, some stock photography houses limit photos to 100,000 viewers or fewer. If you use a stock photo on your website and in a press release, you could easily run over this restriction if something you write goes viral.

When you pay for your own photography, you’ll know exactly how you are allowed to use the photos. You have enough legal issues to worry about. Don’t add photo licensing to the list.

3. Branding Clichès

Stock photos are clichè on purpose. Clichès make the photos generalizable to a wide audience. But when you’re marketing your firm, you don’t want general images. You want images that are interesting, unique, and that won’t make clients roll their eyes. Skilled photographers work with their clients to create photos that tell a story that sets the firm apart. Just say no to clichès.

4. Inaccurate Firm Marketing

Stock photos almost inevitably convey inaccurate information about your firm. They’re designed to look vaguely corporate and friendly, but they tell nothing about your firm’s story. At best, they create cliches and prevent you from standing out—at worst, they tell an inaccurate message about your firm.

Potential clients are looking to your website for insights about your practice. Stock photos that don’t reflect your team members do not tell a truthful story—they do not reflect the people, processes, and values that make up your firm.

As a result, stock photography may draw in people who aren’t really interested in what sets your firm apart. Individualized photography sends a clear and specific message about your target client. This screens out people you don’t want to work with, and instantly attracts the attention of clients who are seeking a firm exactly like yours.

5. Standing Apart from the Competition

Stock photography has a very specific look. Savvy clients can easily detect it. Even if your client doesn’t know you’re using stock photography, they may have seen the images elsewhere. So when they see stock photos on your website, you begin to blend in with your competitors. The nuances of your firm—how you work together as a team, your diversity, the personality of each lawyer—simply don’t come through in stock photography because stock photos aren’t of you. Clients remember remarkable photos that convey commitment and compassion. That’s what your firm deservers.

Perceptions of Honesty

If you made an appointment with an accountant, you’d want to meet with the accountant, not a representative speaking on behalf of the accountant, right? A similar principle holds true with stock photography.

Potential clients don’t want to see generic people who represent your firm. They want to see your firm. When clients see photos they’ve previously viewed elsewhere, it can make you seem less honest. After all, you’re using photos of someone else, not of your firm.

Clients trust lawyers more when they can look them in the eye and assess their personality. That’s true even when they’re viewing a photo. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to cultivate client trust. You only get one chance at a first impression.

The Gittings Global Difference

We understand that every law firm is different. There’s no such thing as a generic lawyer or law firm. We work with you to understand what sets your brand apart, then memorialize it in professional, custom legal photography that tells your story.

Call us today, and let’s get started on a project that can take your firm’s website to the next level.

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