The Dangers of Stock Photography

I occasionally use stock photography for my work. Sometimes I make my own. I’ve never encountered this problem (found via Engadget) before:

A young lady going back to college appears to have a bit of trouble deciding whether she wants a Gateway or a Dell PC. Either that, or her parents have each separately decided to buy her a PC – and while Mum favours Gateway, Dad favours Dell.

I did a quick search on my favourite stock photography site, and lo and behold, there she is (about halfway down). I suppose she looked fresh-faced but also had just enough Scarlett Johannsen going on to be appealing. And that’s a nice toque. Personally, I would have gone with this jean-clad hottie, but maybe she was too Nelly Furtado for their demographics.


  1. When I worked for one company, they used a particular wildlife/sunset photograph for all their materials. They had paid to protect use of that image within their vertical market. Since they were paying 5-digits for this privilege, I commissioned a graphic designer to create another image that picked up on the general look and feel without violating copyrights. (This cost 1/10th of the annual licensing fee.) As we were finishing this project, I happened to stay up late one night. A bizarre Bible study by mail commercial came on. All of their materials were emblazoned with the wildlife/sunset photo! Although I’d already changed to the newer image, I was, and am, eternally wary of purchasing licensing rights for just one vertical market. However, maybe Dell and Gateway should at least find out about vertical protection!

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