The Secret to Sourcing Authentic Photography - Carney
Death to Stock Photo

The Secret to Sourcing Authentic Photography

In this candid Q&A Death to Stock tells us why they are more than just a source for images.

Photography plays a pivotal role in effective content marketing. As marketers, we are always on the hunt for authentic photography that doesn’t feel like an anti-depressant ad or something from a back 2 school circular.

Death to Stock has found that sweet spot between cliche and what the kids are asking for.

Recently we caught up with Grant (Creative Director) from DTS to discover how they avoid the common pitfalls of becoming, well, STOCK.

Here is what the mortician of mediocre had to say:

How do you discover the photographers that you collaborate with for each release?

Death to Stock:  There are a variety of ways we “discover” different creatives.

  1. We’re keeping a running channel of people whose work we find interesting.
  2. Good collaborators have good collaborators. Oftentimes we work with one photographer and they have collaborators/connections that might also be a good fit.
  3. We kicked off this “Death to Spotlight” project as a way to funnel new talent and the overwhelming submissions/outreach we get. It’s been great so far, and it gives us an opportunity to “test” a relationship without a ton of  pressure (which is good for creators and us, alike!)
    (check out our latest release, “Into the Light“)

What factors do you consider when curating a photo pack?

DTS: We’re really considering a few things — story, aesthetic, usability. We love supporting rad artists and telling compelling (and authentic) stories.
We like to keep our members in mind when we curate that pack and want the photos to be usable in their projects. And then sometimes we want to experiment with an artist or with an aesthetic exploration

For us, it’s important to keep evolving/moving forward, and we want to help our artists take risks and grow, while also helping our members’ projects look amazing. It’s a fun balance.

Do you think good editing is just as important as the camera and composition?

DTS: Absolutely. Personally, as a filmmaker and a photographer myself, I believe the edit is what brings the project to life.
Of course, preparation, technical capability, and your “eye” are important — but it’s the edit that reveals the essence of the thing.

How can businesses use your DTS premium service to enhance their marketing efforts?

DTS: It can be such a challenge to tell the stories you want and to represent the quality of your products/services without beautiful imagery.
First, we think they can utilize our images to tell more compelling stories and create more convincing designs/marketing. We like to think our images do our customers’ stories justice.

Second, we like to think the way we package things can inspire ideas, risk-taking, and better storytelling. We like to be more than just a source of images, we strive to be a source of inspiration.

What differentiates DTS from other stock photography sites?

DTS: Our curation, our focus on quality, our function as inspiration source. Death to Stock isn’t for everyone — we don’t want to be — but we’re killer (pun intended) for people looking to connect and level up their game/business/aesthetic.

Do you think authenticity has become disingenuous on social media?

DTS: At times, sure. There are lots of perceived benefits to “faking it” — we prefer to stay in the sunlight and offer up real connection. Hopefully, our photos and stories can encourage others to do the same.

[pull_quote author=”Henry David Thoreau”]Be yourself–not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.[/pull_quote]

What advice do you have for photographers looking to stand out in a sea of imagery?


  1. Carry a camera with you always
  2. Pause, then look around
  3. Surround yourself with people and objects that inspire you
  4. Be willing to play the long game
  5. Study the work of photographers who came before you
  6. Be comfortable with who you are
  7. Bring your personality to your subject and your process
  8. Be generous and share your ideas out in the open
  9. Build your own yes when you’re told no
  10. Fall in love with the process (not the outcome

Download List!


How can people get a taste of DTS?

DTS: Check out our April release, “Into the Light.” Follow us on Twitter/Instagram where we’re sharing stories, inspiration, and images. If you want to get hyped up I’d check out some of our videos on Vimeo, or follow our Spotify playlist. And, of course, subscribe to the monthly newsletter — we send out a free pack of photos every month, along with some really dope stories we’re proud to share.


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