AI cat photo and real cat photo

If you have worked with artificially generated image software to create photos or images, I’m sure you are familiar with the subtle abnormalities that sometimes accompany them – like the occasional six fingers, extra eyes or appendage. They can be funny, sometimes subtle and are are even sometimes overlooked. Take a look at these two images, can you tell which is AI generated and which was taken by a human?

The cat on the left is AI generated and the right taken by a human. The AI image is not a bad image, but you will need to decide if it is realistic enough for your purposes. Let’s explore more.

Whether it’s for marketing, web design, or content creation, businesses rely heavily on stock photography to enhance their projects. Traditionally, stock photography taken by humans has been the norm, but with advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), AI-generated stock photography is emerging as a viable alternative. In this post, we’ll delve into the benefits and drawbacks of both human and AI stock photography, along with best practices for utilizing AI-generated images.

Human Stock Photography:


  • Authenticity: Human stock photography often captures real-life scenarios, emotions, and interactions, adding authenticity to the visuals.
  • Diversity: Photographers can capture a wide range of subjects, expressions, and cultural backgrounds, offering diverse options for businesses.
  • Customization: Businesses can commission custom photo shoots to tailor images to their specific brand identity and messaging.


  • Cost: Hiring photographers, models, and arranging photo shoots can be expensive, especially for small businesses with limited budgets.
  • Time-consuming: Coordinating photo shoots, selecting the right images, and obtaining licenses can be time-consuming, delaying project timelines.
  • Limited availability: Finding the perfect image that aligns with your vision can be challenging, as human stock photography libraries may not always have the desired options.

AI Stock Photography:


  • Cost-effective: AI-generated images are often more affordable than human stock photography, making them accessible to businesses with tight budgets.
  • Speed: AI can generate thousands of images in a fraction of the time it takes for human photographers to do the same, allowing for quick turnaround times.
  • Customization: AI algorithms can be trained to generate images based on specific criteria, enabling businesses to create tailored visuals effortlessly.


  • Lack of authenticity: AI-generated images may lack the authenticity and human touch found in human stock photography, potentially making them feel artificial or disconnected.
  • Limited creativity: While AI can produce a vast quantity of images, it may struggle to capture complex emotions, cultural nuances, or unique scenarios effectively.
  • Ethical considerations: There are ethical concerns surrounding AI-generated images, such as privacy issues if the AI uses real people’s data without consent or perpetuates biases present in the training data.

Best Practices for AI Stock Photography:

  • Focus on simplicity: AI-generated images excel in depicting straightforward concepts, such as objects, landscapes, or abstract designs.
  • Use for repetitive tasks: AI-generated images are ideal for tasks that require a large volume of similar visuals, such as product listings or social media posts.
  • Combine with human elements: To maintain authenticity, consider integrating AI-generated images with human elements or using them as background visuals while featuring real people in the foreground.

Best Websites for AI Stock Photography:

  • Adobe Stock: Adobe offers a diverse collection of AI-generated images through its stock photography platform, catering to various industries and themes.
  • Shutterstock: Shutterstock provides access to a vast library of AI-generated images, allowing businesses to find suitable visuals for their projects efficiently.
  • Getty Images: Getty Images incorporates AI technology to enhance its stock photography offerings, providing high-quality images for commercial use across different sectors.

Both human and AI stock photography have their distinct advantages and drawbacks. While human stock photography offers authenticity and customization, AI stock photography provides cost-effectiveness and speed. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each approach and following best practices for AI-generated images, businesses can leverage stock photography effectively to enhance their online presence and communication strategies.

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Susan designing a custom website

Susan Sullivan

Susan lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area with her husband and children. She is an avid distance runner, environmentalist, part-time beekeeper, chicken farmer and amateur photographer.

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