What Designers Are Looking for In Stock Photos

What are graphic designers and creative directors looking for when it comes to the images they select?


That is the ultimate question for anyone who creates stock photography, isn’t it? Being a graphic designer and a creative director for over a decade now has given me a chance to understand what a designer is looking for when they browse a micro stock photography website like Istock or Dreamstime. We are looking for a piece to the puzzle in front of us, and that piece has to work.

First off, they are looking for something specific. That is one of the reasons it is important to have so many options available to them. It is not enough to have just a shot of a vegetable garden. That garden needs to be in rows, have certain vegetables that stand out, and are easily recognized, and the rows might have to go in a certain way for the designer to be able to use the photo. Thus the necessity for many, many shots of vegetable gardens, from multiple angles, and in unique lighting situations is a necessity.


The next thing that designers look for in a stock photo coincides with the first, and that is quality of the picture. Personally, when I am in the heat of designing a project for a client, there is absolutely nothing I hate, no, make that loathe, more than having to color-correct a stock photo, or clean up some amount of visual noise in the shot. For photographers, that means not just getting that perfect shot, but making sure that it is clear of unnecessary attention-grabbers. It is also important for photographers to make sure that the shot has a good color hue to it, and that the subject of the photo is the dominant element.


The last thing a designer looks for in a stock photo is the viability with the other elements in their design. Now that one photographers could never guess, because it is up to the individual designer to come up with something that works for their clients. Of all of the work that designers do it is imperative to have the client in mind when considering the finished product. What does the client want the finished piece to express about them?

When it is all said and done, it is important to make sure that everything, including the photography, creates a cohesive mesh, and that the finished product looks like it was created by an awesome production company – not necessarily an individual designer or small design group.

We at Torch Designs are small, and personal, but that doesn’t mean we skimp on quality, even in our photos.


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