Medium Tips

Stock Photos We’re All Guilty of Overusing

Can We All Agree To Stop Doing This?

Shannon Cheesman
4 min readSep 9, 2022

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I’m as guilty as every other person who chooses overused stock photos for their content. My excuse? I’m a writer, and the creativity is in the words, not the images, so I let it slide (which, of course, is just plain stupid).

I know better, but when I want an image that complements my writing, I often default to the same old ideas, not allowing my mind to stretch a bit. Writing an article about copywriting? It’s the good old “hands on the keyboard” for me. Talking about money matters? That’s easy too — “people holding a handful of cash.” And success? Well, there’s nothing like a person jumping in the air with a beautiful sunrise or sunset in the background.

These are tired images, though; the internet and our social media channels are flooded with them daily. Every time I see one I’ve seen a thousand times before, I cringe a little. I’m annoyed with seeing them everywhere and even more annoyed with myself when I see one I’ve used within my own work.

I think it’s high time we all take a deep breath and resolve to do better — be more creative in our photo selections. To get started, here’s my list of the most cringe-worthy types of stock photos that, in my opinion, should be retired.

1. Hands On Laptop Keyboards

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash
Photo by Burst on Unsplash

2. Headless Business People

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

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Shannon Cheesman

I’m a marketing copywriter with a background in TV news. I’ve written everything from blogs to breaking news stories (and everything in between) in my career.