The use of photographs in graphic design has always been an important aspect of presentation. Today, many designers opt to make use of the millions of royalty-free stock photos readily available on hundreds of websites. While buying these ready-made images is certainly easier than taking the pictures yourself, there are certain drawbacks.
First, the designer runs the risk of having the same picture that has already been used in many other websites or printed materials. This can cause a designer to look as if they are merely a template-designer using premade layouts. If a client is hiring a designer instead of buying a cheap template, the designer has an obligation to at least appear original.
Second, very few stock photos are ever going to be personally connected to anyone’s business. These are images of other people whom the client and designer will never meet and can lead to a misrepresentation of both. I am guilty of using these readily available images and have had users think that the man in the suit on a website was the owner of the company. If there is time and resources available, take your own pictures. By using actual photos of the people a website or flyer is talking about, there will be a true connection between the text and pictures.
I admit that stock photos do have a place and can be used effectively. However, caution should be taken when using these impersonal and pre-made images.