|Keeping it Real|
A recent visitor to (apparently) all of my websites/blogs noted something interesting:
With the exception of Garden of Francis (which uses a minimal amount of stock photography), I use absolutely NO stock photos. All of the photography is either genuinely my own, came with the blog template (such as this one with the geese in the background), or is utilized from NASA's site (with proper permissions given/received).
Yes, that is MY son (Legoboy!) walking down that lane of trees at Grandma and Papa's home in the right side-bar of this blog.
Yes, that is me and my son enjoying dessert at (his great-)grandmother's 90th birthday party in my "profile" picture seen in various places (like the bottom of this blog in the footer above the flags).
I kind of noticed this "lack of stock" before - and I've had friends and web developers tell me I "need more photos of children" on my various sites, because it makes people feel cozier, more comfortable.
Well.... I do have photos of children - but 1) minimal 2) appropriately located 3) NO names. I do NOT have photos of children on any sites I am "selling" something (except my son, with me).
Contrary to efficient marketing practices? Perhaps. But I'm honest. I am not going to use a child to sell you something that doesn't stand on its own as useful for you.
And I want my sites to be "real" to ME. If I can't be real to myself, how can I be real with you?
There IS something off-putting (for me) when I visit a site that has a lot of stock photography - or minimal stock photography, but that's all they have - especially when I've seen some of it before or something similar. Interestingly enough, one popular Montessori album website has a particular stock photo up that actually VERY closely resembles a photo that came up on my Garden of Francis error page recently when the server was down. WE-IRD! (no, the error page was not linking to anything Montessori related - it was simply putting up a rotation of education-related stock photos - and the photo was different enough to know it didn't COME from the other site - they are obviously both stock photos).
It is also off-putting to be on a Montessori album website and have only stock imagery - not even photos of Montessori materials or children in a Montessori classroom - but truly, stock photos that have nothing to do with Montessori.
I'd rather be on a site with no photos, than know that all the images I am looking at are "generic". Alternate, sub-reality or some such description comes to mind.
With that said, a couple of my sites could definitely use MORE images - just real ones ;) My sites are far from perfect!