QUESTION: Does stock photography hurt your page rank? No.
Since the goal of your SEO strategy should be to get your company’s website to Positions 1-5 on Google for as many keyword searches as possible, it is important to know that your site’s images are extremely critical. While Google’s John Mueller is quoted as saying that using stock photography doesn’t effect your site’s page rank directly, he goes on further to say that there is a potential effect on conversions by users if your site is using stock photography. [See (1) below.]
Even though adding unique photos of your business can take some planning and be a chore, you now can see it is very important. This can be especially important if much of your sales begin with an Image Search on Google. If that happens, it could have a negative effect on page rank.
The important point here is to get your cameras out and take some photos. Always use the landscape-type format as that sizing is what will generally work on your site, and the more unique images of your products, services, store and staff, the better.
If you think your site is BEAUTIFUL and it ranks in Positions 20-30 (page 3) this could be one reason why. Always balance “form” with “function” or pay the price on Google All search as well as Google Image search.
Onward and upward!