How AI Can Replace Stock Images


Stock Images: A Staple for Digital Campaigns

Satisfying digital media’s voracious appetite often requires a steady stream of brand images. At face value, it seems simple enough. Until you realize that sourcing new stock photography or planning an original shoot takes a lot of time and resources... lots and lots of both. Days, weeks, even months can creep by while preparing the feast.

The rub: Digital media isn’t patient, cycling from zero to hangry in nanoseconds. Shorter ad lifespans only further digital cravings.


The New MVP: AI-Generated Brand Images

Generative AI tools, like Midjourney, are set to transform the future of stock photography. Leveraging this power, businesses can get to market faster. Processes that used to take weeks and days are whittled down to hours and minutes.

With productivity gains of 50%—greater than those earned through the use of electricity—marketing boasts one of the highest AI adoption rates.

The benefits of AI-driven stock photos

In addition to accelerating time-to-market, building image libraries using AI gives brands greater access to a wider range of customizations and variations, all while ensuring consistency across assets.

That feeling when you’ve discovered that ten other companies are using the same stock image? Also a thing of the past. With generative AI, you're guaranteed to have original imagery.

Early adopters are already earning wins. And, when you consider that Midjourney launched in July 2022, the sooner you’re in the game, the sooner you can learn how to tap into the rapid and continual increases in speed, quality and effectiveness these tools offer.


Prompting: Putting AI-Powered Images Into Play

AI expert and Systematiq AI founder, Rory Flynn states, “The art of AI-generated images is in the prompts.” Like ChatGPT, Midjourney is very literal. “Clear, direct prompts equal clear direct output.”

Simple guidelines for effective Midjourney prompts

Like Flynn, Superside’s AI teams have also found there’s an art to being specific. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prompting AI to produce custom stock images:

  • Think and speak like a photographer. To achieve the best results, apply photographic terms, getting as technical as listing lens types.

  • Be specific. Remember, you’re talking to a machine.
    • Instead of natural speech, use commas, brackets and hyphens to help organize your thoughts.
    • Words like “gigantic” will generate more nuanced outputs than the more vague “big.”
    • If you ask for a party with “no cake,” your image will probably include a cake. If you want to ensure something is not in the final image, try advance prompting using the --no parameter.
  • Use the --stylize or --s parameter. Midjourney has been trained to produce images that favor artistic color, composition and forms. The --s parameter influences how strongly this training is applied.
    • Low stylization values produce images that closely match the prompt but are less artistic.
    • High stylization values create images that are very artistic but less connected to the prompt.

Pro tip: Human expertise is still very much required

AI may have access to all the ingredients for a Michelin-star meal, but it lacks hands-on, top-chef training. It takes human insight, knowledge and experience to ensure what’s served is what the guest actually ordered.


How D2L Brightspace Created 114 Ads 70% Faster With AI

EdTech powerhouse D2L Brightspace to Superside with a campaign that had to be produced quickly, without bland, back-bench quality stock photography. Generating custom brand images with AI was a natural fit.

The hardest part: Getting the first AI-enhanced image right.

Once the core prompt was nailed, only simple iteration was needed to create additional concepts and images.

Productivity gain: Vibrant, on-brand images that each took only 15 minutes—⅙ of the 90 minutes it would take to source and customize traditional stock photography.

A triple threat: Consistency, efficiency and engagement

Not only did D2L get standout creative in record time, their custom images were on brand and early results indicate this is one of their strongest campaigns.

Design time saved


Number of ad variations


Brand consistency


This approach demonstrates how AI can replace traditional stock imagery, offering a superior creative direction and elevating projects. Not only did we maintain brand consistency, we also injected a fresh, dynamic edge into this campaign.

Kenneth Prieto
Kenneth PrietoCreative Team Lead, Superside

Recruiting AI Talent and Building Expertise

With marketing leading the way for adopting AI to accelerate creative workflows, the next challenge is rapidly embracing and operationalizing practices, like using Midjourney to generate brand images. The reasons for using AI in design are obvious.

Acting quickly to scale and claim competitive advantages is essential.

With technological advances happening almost overnight (if not faster), the race is on—and everyone’s just trying to catch up.

Developing processes takes time. Hiring takes time. Training takes time. The constant need for creative stops for no one.

But there’s more than one way to cover all your bases, a partner like Superside lets you easily tap into the AI expertise you need—how and when you need it. From generating perfectly on-brand images to taking care of a project from start to finish, you'll have a full spectrum of AI-Enhanced Creative Services at your fingertips.

Make Your Play for The Advantages of AI
Make Your Play for The Advantages of AI

Make Your Play for The Advantages of AI

Get consistent, high-quality, on-brand creative 30%-60% faster and at a lower cost.


Why choose Creative-as-a-Service with Superside?

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