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On my last blog post, A Guide to Creating an Effective Website, I emphasized on using captivating imagery as an essential component in creating an effective website. I made a call to marketers and business owners to STOP using cheesey and generic stock photography on their websites or blogs.

If you use stock photography on your website or blog, you're doing a huge disservice to yourself. Why?.. you might ask.

Well I'm sure we can all agree that imagery is extremely powerful and that what we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and at times who we are. This is because we are genetically wired to respond to visual imagery.

Therefore, it's imperative to choose carefully the images you use on your marketing material. Primarily because it's visual content that captures your audience's attention and drives engagement.

The following information is being presented from a study done from the Nielson Norman Group on photos as web content. You can read the full study here.

Based on the study, it was concluded that "users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to 'jazz up' web pages".

These types of images were being completely ignored and added no value to the overall purpose of the marketing material.

You know the images I'm talking about. It's those overly exposed images with a team of fake smiles staring at you. Or the bubbly human stick figures shaking hands! (When was the last time you saw these little guys? - comment below).

These images have become meaningless and communicate no value or emotion. In fact, nothing screams "DON'T TRUST ME" louder than this type of stock photography on your marketing material.

So what do you do?

Instead, use imagery that effectively impacts your audience and captures their attention. This will drive traffic to your website and you will gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

Recently, there has been a growing trend on the web. Professional photographers have begun to offer great quality photos on the creative commons license, free for personal or commercial use.

And I did all the work for you and created a curated list of the best photo resources on the web! Say goodbye to those cheesy, fake smiles, and unprofessional photo lighting and start using great photos that are engaging and give meaning to your work.

See for yourself and enjoy.

I also created a .pdf you can download here. :)

If you found this useful please share!

Also, feel free to comment below if you know of other great resources I did not mention.

UPDATE: 8/12/15

You can also view additional photo resources here:

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