I'm pretty sure you've met him before. A distinguished, grey haired business man, silver framed glasses, light blue shirt and always smiling. You must have met him before as he is working in so many businesses around the country.
At least I got the impression that he is working in lots of places, when I go by all the company brochures, newsletters and websites his image is in.
As is his colleague, that friendly smiling girl with long brown hair, who is always wearing a headset.
Looking for stockphotos to illustrate a brochure or a website is a regular part of a designer's work. 10 – 15 years ago we had to go through huge catalogues, order a transparency for quite a lot of money, scan it in and then send it back to the stock photo bank. Most of these transparencies were of high quality and professional photos.
Today we mainly go through online image banks. Their images range from high profile and very professional images down to freeware.
There are image banks like istockphoto.com who offer a broad selection from low priced photos to expensive ones. You can tell the difference just by looking at them. Images who have the 'wow-effect' are usually more expensive.
I'm not saying that stock photos aren't any good. Not at all. One of the photographers who works exclusively for image banks, Yuri Arcurs, is one of the world's famous microstock photographers, he sells around 2000 licences per day. And his photos are great and professional. He has set a certain 'look' for microstock images you would certainly recognize in a second. And he offers a large variety of images. As hundreds of other photographers do.
What I don't like is seeing the same face of the same model in so many publications. I don't know if it's laziness or if designers and clients are so used to these images and therefore like them, that they don't want to look any further for alternatives.
'To like something' is not a good way to start working on a concept.
It certainly won't help you and your business image if the man, whose photo is in your 'About us' section on your website, is the same guy who appears on many other websites. It makes you and your business exchangeable and faceless although you are showing good looking people.
So if you can't afford to have your own photos taken by a professional photographer, at least ask your designer to spend a little bit more time to look for the right stockphotos for your business and not just click on the first good looking image on the first page.