Alamy Everyday Images Feature

This is an article by Alan Capel, Head of Content, Alamy

Adverts are everywhere, there’s no escape from them and whether consciously or not, our view of the world is influenced by them. So it is perhaps reassuring that more and more advertising reflects reality rather than utopia.

In the world of advertising, we have seen a move away from the model perfect look, to imagery which has a much more everyday and realistic feel.

10 years ago, photographs to support advertising campaigns would typically use immaculate models – for example a made up pieced together family would be sat around a perfect looking breakfast table, all wearing matching, usually white or unthreatening pastel clothing. Today, the same family may look far more realistic – sometimes going as far as to look as if they really have just got out of bed.

Rather than all being about the model and the look it’s also about the situations and scenarios that people find themselves in. We now have more varied and hence more realistic family situations such as single parents etc. It was a bold but distinctive move from British Telecom to feature a family with an older woman who already had kids and her younger partner.

This isn’t to say that 20 years ago photographers weren’t talking about the fact they’d like to use more realistic shots – in fact many believed it would be good if they didn’t have to rely on clichéd photos.

The desire to move away from the clichéd has been around for a long time, photographers were the first to start the trend, and were more willing to take risks than the advertisers and brand conscious, product owning corporates. Flash became more widely used in commercial advertising– and with it more realistic photos began to creep in. At about the same time, we started to see the emergence of TV commercials which used real life people – The Halifax, B&Q and Asda (to name a few). Elements of realism were beginning to be introduced into advertising campaigns.

Mike Winek, Producer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, added: “It would be true to say that the imagery to reflect advertising campaigns has changed dramatically in the last 10-20 years, and it continues to evolve.

“For so many of our client campaigns, we tend to source every day, real-life photos, primarily because their customers are more likely to resonate with these types of images.”

However, advertising agencies didn’t want to take too many risks, and the perfect imagery has remained prevalent; for example in fashion and cosmetics advertising campaigns. Let’s not forget that for certain products, it is all about the glamour and the beauty.

It would be true to say that digital photography has helped to open up the market for everyday imagery. Today, we are seeing more photographs being taken, and talented amateur photographers are snapping everything around them – capturing everyday imagery.

Alamy opens up the doors to a wide range of photographers and imagery, we do not make editorial judgments, nothing is rejected providing the quality is acceptable – we let the customer choose the pictures they want. Often the choices are refreshingly surprising.

To see some of the best everyday images on Alamy view our showcase.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses