Stock Photography – Is it worth the investment?
I work as a commercial photographer and need to get something off my chest – Using Stock photography is not working as hard for your business as you would like.
You have a business and need photos for your website and social media – you’re gonna look at some stock photography for your business on stock photography library websites – I forgive you.
I get asked a lot of questions about using stock photography for business, so thought I would answer many of them here:
Here’s some answers to questions you’ll ask yourself, with an alternatives to stock photography to consider as we go. I’m always on hand to give advice about photos to promote your business, I’m happy to help. You can contact me using the details below.
Commercial photography for small businesses.
Every business needs photography for their website and social media marketing. But finding suitable photography for your social media can be difficult, especially if you want to stand out from the competition.
Should you use a professional photographer to produce your social media imagery? You’d need to find an experienced photographer for social media content. Should you scurry round the internet finding stock photography on a stock photography website? What sort of budget do you have for the photography for your website and social media?
This blog will answer a lot of the questions you might be asking – and provide a solution!
Stock photography is expensive.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example of a price breakdown from a well known stock library, for an image of a Ford Mustang. (editorial use only – does not allow social media use and is licensed only one year – the fee is repayable at the end of the year).
How much do you think..? Well, it’s £375.
Quite a bit, huh..?
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone making a reasonable amount of money from photography, especially when it is how they make their living. But, that is for a limited usage, no web use and a multitude of other people can use the same image. You have no exclusivity of use. Your competitors could use the image, too.
Your brochure could contain this stock photo and your competitor could be using the exact same image. This would be hugely damaging and without exclusivity, you cannot build brand recognition for your business.
Can I download images from the internet for free?
Well, you can. You simply right click on the image and hit ‘save’. But, this may not be legal. Images on the internet are copyright protected. This may be with the owner of the website, but more importantly, to me anyway, to the photographer who took the photo and will still own it. You can search Google for the laws to this, they are complicated, but as a general rule, images are not just freely available for download and use anywhere on the internet, unless it is expressly stipulated.
How should I use photography on my website?
Photography on your website should tell the visitor about what it is your business does – the key people working there – who customers are likely to meet and what you sell! You should also use photography to highlight what products and services you want to sell the most.
Show what makes you unique and what makes your company stand out from the competition. Use photos to identify your brand with clients – make them familiar with your company before they contact you.
Stock Photography won’t do this, then?
Imagine investing a considerable amount of money on your website photography – a rough estimate 10-20 images with a 3 year usage from a well known stock library – with multiple uses to allow the same images to be used on social media, websites, in brochures and promotional literature, you wouldn’t struggle to spend around £3,000 – £5,000.
That’s quite an investment. Now imagine, your competitor also updates their website a few weeks after you. They too, have invested a similar amount of money. But a few of their images are similar to yours. Because they went to the same stock photography library as you. You’d be gutted, right?
Customers can identify stock photography.
67% of online shoppers rated high quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision – MDG Advertisinghttps://www.mdgadvertising.com/marketing-insights/infographics/its-all-about-the-images-infographic/
Here’s the article in full – with infographics galore, it’s a good read and highlights far better than me, how stock photography doesn’t work as hard as you’d like it to. My personal favourite quote – “Every other poor schmuck in every other vertical has used the Exact. Same. Photograph. And if you’re really unfortunate, one of those other schmucks was also your competitor”.
What’s the alternative to stock photography?
Unique visual content ensures a strong brand identity for your business. Rather than searching aimlessly for the “ideal stock photograph” having a portfolio of unique photographs of your business, would be invaluable. This is what the Day in the Life Project does.
A typical Day in the Life shoot results in:
- Premises photos – these can be used on Google Maps and Google listings to help customers visualise your premises and locate it more easily.
- Staff portraits – from key staff to company directors and the board, to the back of house team.
- Products – Your main items, what you sell, the unique services you provide
- Behind the scenes – Show your customers what you do. What goes on behind the scenes – what does a day at your business entail?
- Visual Stories – Tell the story of your business and engage visitors to your social media and website what you do, how you do it, and why customers should engage with and buy from you.
People are voyeurs
Give your customers an opportunity to get to know the people within your business. Give them a glimpse of what goes on. It is important in todays competitive environment, with a critical and investigative online clientele, to tell stories that your clients will invest in.
Having a portfolio of story rich images allows you to engage your audience on social media. The images supplied on a Day in the Life shoot, will provide a rich source of stories to tell.
Would a Day in the Life Help you promote your business online? Contact me and tell me about your business. Please fill out the form below or send me a WhatsApp.
Don’t be shy, send me an email.
If you have any questions about hiring a professional photographer, be it about rates, what photos to create, or whether it’s work for your business (which it will) then get in touch.
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