February 17, 2020

Anti-Stock Photography: The Importance of Highlighting the Unique Personalities of the People You Work With

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At AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies it is crucial to ensure that we prove something works for ourselves before advising others to try it. One major success we have had is our anti-stock photoshoots by team member Erin Cowan. An interview with Erin gives us a sneak peak into her position at AmpliPhi and her talents.  


What are common misconceptions about photography?

That it’s as easy as “snapping a picture.” A lot goes into not only capturing images, but into post-production as well. There is also a distinct difference in quality between photos taken with a cell phone and those taken with a professional camera. Each has its own place on social media and within marketing as a whole. 

What rules do you follow when shooting anti-stock?

A lot of anti-stock photos will end up being used on social media, so I try to think of the end result when composing images. I usually leave some “breathing room” on the sides of the subject so that quotes can later be placed over the image (in Canva or Photoshop) if needed. 

How can anti-stock enhance a brand?

I think anytime a company can use their own photos instead of stock, brand image is sharpened. Furthermore, using images with consistent filters/presets, lighting, and overall aesthetics reinforces the look of the brand and can help a company stay top of mind with the consumer. 

Why is using anti-stock superior to just quickly downloading stock images from the internet?

Any company can download a stock image, and with the proliferation of free stock sites now, differentiation is becoming more difficult. Custom anti-stock photography and videography sets your brand apart from the competition.  

What is your favorite technique to use behind the camera for professional stock images?

I like to use shallow depth of field in my images. This makes the background blurry and places the focus on the subject instead of the busy background. 

What is your favorite thing about anti-stock photography?

Getting to visit new places and working with fun people! Anti-stock shoots allow me to think creatively. Because each location is different, I’m forced to learn to work with different lighting scenarios and capture images in close quarters.

How have you seen other companies use anti-stock photography?

We’ve seen more company-generated social media shares as a direct result from using anti-stock photography. Employees are typically more likely to share posts featuring themselves and their coworkers rather than posts with stock photos.

How can you make the background of an image blurry?

On a DSLR, the easiest method is by setting the camera to aperture-priority mode and adjusting the aperture to the lowest number possible. On most kit (standard) lenses, that number will be in the 3.0-5.0 range. The lower the number, the blurrier the background will be.  

What are 3 suggestions you have for companies considering an anti-stock photoshoot?

  1. Make a day of it! We can work around your workplace schedule to photograph during meetings that are already taking place. In between meetings, we can capture candid shots of employee interactions and other things around the office. Cater in lunch as an extra incentive for employee participation.
  2. Act natural! When participating in an anti-stock shoot, it’s best to pretend the camera isn’t even there. We’ll pare the images down to feature only the best, most flattering poses.
  3. Have fun! At our most recent anti-stock shoot, we pulled aside a group of employees to stage a meeting. Instead of talking business, they talked about Disney movies and weekend plans. The resulting images were filled with laughter and natural smiles.

Has your team tried anti-stock photography? We would love to see your results!
Meet the Author

the ampliphi team

We're a Madison, WI based boutique-style social media and digital marketing company that utilizes proven tactics to drive client goals and objectives. Our expertise is in social media advertising, creating dynamic content via video and extending reach and impact. 

We believe brands thrive by telling their story and creating meaningful connections with their audience. We help you develop strategy and social media tactics that are supported by in-depth research, analysis and prior experience with our clients.

Want to learn more? Visit our resource library with comprehensive guides and walkthroughs.

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