Shiny Happy People (Stock Photography Rant)

by MomGrind

Waiting in line at the UPS store, I couldn’t help but notice the promotional posters on the walls, all featuring smiling, happy people in some type of an office setting. You know – the same setting that in real life sucks the life out of you and makes you want to die, but in the world of stock photography, people are always relaxed, happy and smiling. Which I find incredibly plasticky and annoying.

They smile during one of the most annoying occasions known to mankind – a business meeting (note the token woman of color):

Business meeting

They smile in other phony work-related settings:

business gift

They sweetly smile at they shop at the supermarket:

shopping supermarket

My own UPS guy is nice enough, but I’ve never seen him smile as broadly as this guy (which quite frankly freaks me out with his robotic smile):

UPS guy

Of course, you could say that this little rant of mine is pointless and stupid – stock photography is essentially marketing material, and marketing needs to create a warm fuzzy feeling around a situation or a product. Perhaps, and I will be the first to admit that I’ve been using stock photography in this blog and in clients’ blogs.

But somehow, standing in line at the UPS store, frowning, I couldn’t help but become annoyed at the impossible, terribly artificial world that stock photography creates and presents to us, especially becuase those images are everywhere – at the UPS, at the post office, at the supermarket, in shopping malls, and of course in magazines and in online publications.

So in the interest of balancing things out, here’s a lovely photo from Flickr that shows how most of us truly feel during a business meeting:


PS. This is my personal blog so I generally don’t talk business here, but companies that fill their site pages with stock photography of Corporate America are hurting their brand, in my opinion. A website like this tells me that there’s nothing unique or exciting about the company – it simply tells me that “We are generic Corporate America.” What’s exciting about that and why would I choose them over the competition?

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