I think that my first run in with stock photography and how funny it can be actually came while I was in college. My alma mater was producing a teen magazine and on the front of one of the issues was a brown haired girl, wearing a sweater tied around her waist, and the shot used for the cover of the magazine showed her from the waist up. Now, keep in mind that I went to a conservative Christian college, and that “checked” or was considered appropriate.
What was funny was that the local newspaper chose to use the exact same photograph for an article, and it had the full picture of the girl and she was in shorts– something that didn’t check. However, I remember seeing a picture of both posted to certain doors (until the shorts picture was taken down) to make a point: Stock photography can be used in all sorts of ways, and you really have little control over it.
It gets funny when you start seeing the same model used over and over again– this happens a lot on my sites with the model to the right. I’ve used her image on various posts on this site, and as a character on my fiction site. But I’ve recently stumbled onto a couple of sites that have chronicled (and in some case came up with whole stories about) girls that have sold competing hardware (Dell, Gateway, etc.), over the counter drugs, books, church/mission organizations, or different dating sites. It really can be quite amusing.
In any case, let this serve as a reminder that any photo that you put on the Internet can be easily saved and used somewhere else. Any picture of you or your children can be easily photoshopped into a different scene. So, you want to make sure that you use stock photography, that you have good watermarks on your photos, or that you at least have a good sense of humor! You never know, you may become the next least paid Internet celebrity.