Top Five Overused Stock Photos in Sports Marketing

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Photos fill in the space around posts, lending some visual breakup to what would otherwise be monolithic blocks of text. For sports marketers, paying for a picture of Dwayne Wade or Derek Jeter every single time they write a post or article doesn’t make much sense. Enter: stock photos.¬†When they’re doing their job, the reader hardly notices stock photos explicitly but would certainly miss their presence if they disappeared. Let’s take a look at the most overused stock photos in sports marketing.

1. Balls in the Grass

Slightly more popular than balls with a blank background — presumably for the nostalgic character the grass lends to the picture — balls in grass seem to be the most popular sports stock photo. Golf balls, baseballs, footballs, even basketballs (puzzlingly, since basketballs don’t bounce on grass)… you name the ball-related sport, and chances are there are thousands of stock photos of the ball sitting casually in some grass. Extra points if the grass takes up as much of the photo as the ball

2. Hot Girls with Sports Equipment

This one is especially good for the less mainstream and more equipment-heavy sports: car racing, hunting, etc. Grab a hot girl, hand her a gun or lean her against a motorcycle, and you’re pretty much set. The best part is that you don’t have to show the model’s face to prove she’s hot as long as she’s got the right outfit; this makes the photo more generic and widely usable. Are her clothes completely inappropriate for the sport at hand? Well yeah, but… she’s hot.

3. The Playing Field

Ah, the empty playing field. Be it a track, a football field, a baseball diamond, or an ice skating rink, the empty playing field immediately evokes a sense of the sport without having to commit to anything as pesky as particular players or context. These photos line the stock photo folders of sports marketers everywhere, bringing a splash of color to blog posts and articles without saying much of anything specific.

4. Stadium Seats

It’s the perfect stock photo because it’s even more generic than the ball-in-grass pictures. Any sport that ever takes place in a stadium has seats that look almost identical to any other stadium, especially since many sports and activities can share the same arena. If you’re a stock photographer, you’ve gotta have one of these in your arsenal; chances are, every sport marketer will use a shot like this at least once.

5. A Perspective Shot

This can be overhead, a silhouette, or a shot from behind. The key is that the athlete has to be more or less anonymous while displaying the scope of the sport. Look at that view! Look at those stadium lights! Look how long that track is! This is one of the only ways to include an athlete in your stock sports photo to give the full picture while still keeping the athlete anonymous. Brilliant.

Honorable Mention: Children Doing Sports

Slightly less popular than the others but not to be forgotten is the photos of children playing sports: sometimes ably (like above) and sometimes cutely but without any evident talent for the game. These stock photos aren’t always usable by sports articles, but when they are even remotely relevant, you can bet they’ll show up. After all, who doesn’t love keeping an eye on the next generation of sports heroes?

What did we miss? Is there some other sports stock photo we overlooked?

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