Wikipedia defines stock photography as a supply of photos that are used to fill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost. They’re typically licensed for specific uses, with pricing determined by a number of factors, including size of audience and how long the image will be used. Getty Images, Corbis, and Shutterstock are the three largest traditional stock photography agencies, and alternative photo agencies have been cropping up since the 2000s.
Given how popular stock photography has become, it’s not much of a surprise that stock photo cliches have become nearly as ubiquitous as the medium itself. Overused concepts like the target, the cupped hands, the superman (why is this businessman tearing his suit open? No one knows!), the handshake, and the corporate huddle (what’s going to work? Hackneyed teamwork!) are so prevalent there are now a number of blogs parodying themes like “Women Laughing Alone with Salad” and “People Looking Shocked in Front of Computers.”
Boagworld author Paul Boag sternly admonishes against stock photo laziness, pointing out that “We should refuse to use one more photograph of business men shaking hands or ethnically diverse people laughing together,” and “A designer has literally millions of gorgeous images available to them online and should also be capable of producing unique imagery of their own” — but now there’s another option: you can use free, wonderfully cheesy images starring actor Vince Vaughn.
In order to promote the Vince Vaughn movie Unfinished Business, Twentieth Century Fox has teamed up with iStock by Getty Images to create a set of stock photos featuring Vaughn along with co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco and others. Twelve images are being made available for free download (for editorial use only) over three weeks, and they are predictably hilarious.
Here are a few of our favorites from the set — enjoy!