Professional Photos VS Stock Images:
Which Is Better for Your Brand?
Putting together clear, concise, and engaging marketing content for your brand is essential for its success. This isn’t anything new; it’s something that companies have been long aware of, as it’s the cornerstone of any effective marketing campaign. Marketing aside, it’s essential to have strong images on the company website that speak to the brand and the products/services being offered. But how often have you thought about the pictures themselves and where they are coming from?
The question of whether to use professional photos vs. stock images has been an on-going discussion among many businesses out there, both big and small. Which is better for your brand and what is the best route to take? Let’s take a closer look at this hot topic.
It Needs to Go Further than Just Offering Images
For many companies, the thought is that any images are better than no images. That may have been the case at some point, but today’s customers are extremely knowledgeable and have much higher expectations. Simply throwing on stock images for the sake of having photos on your website just won’t cut it. Customers see right through this approach and are unimpressed with the basic stock images.
Photos Can Make a Sale
There’s also the fact that photos not only grab the attention of potential customers, they can, in fact, close a sale. Visual imagery has a huge impact; in fact, it tends to be more impactful than any text you could use to describe a product. People want information quickly and easily, so looking at product photos feeds that desire and they don’t have to read through all kinds of text just to get the information they want.
The perfect product shot that focuses on simplicity can be incredibly effective in closing a sale. As long as the product picture is clear, high-quality, and shows what customers want to see, you’ve increased the odds of making that sale.
Professional Photos Allow for Personalization
Another huge benefit of using professional images is the fact you can take advantage of personalization options. Stock images, while good quality, are meant to be impersonal and nondescript since they can be used by any company or person. In comparison, a professional photographer that comes in and takes photos of the company’s specific products, services, and procedures can create unique images that are able to reflect branding.
Take, for example, Greg Harding, a professional commercial photographer located in Manchester. The team has worked with clients all over the UK and Europe delivering images that aren’t just basic and generic, rather they are unique and can speak to that particular brand. They point out the importance of being able to match the photos with the brand guidelines – again, this is something that a standard stock image simply cannot achieve.
This personalization feature can be especially important if your company is competing in a rather crowded industry wherein you need your products and services to stand out. Personalized photos give companies a chance to showcase particulars about products that will help them to stand out from the competition.
Just imagine if you’ve decided to use only stock images on your website, and after building the site and uploading all kinds of images, you find out the competition is using some of those same stock images. That certainly doesn’t reflect well for your brand and doesn’t give you anything unique that sets you apart. This is the exact opposite of the effect you want to create.
Don’t Let Cost be the Driving Factor
If you’ve been using cost as the main reason to go with stock images over professional photos, it’s time to re-think that reasoning. Of course, budget is always going to be a factor for any business, but rather than just focus on the cost, it is imperative to think of the return on investment. By investing in professional photos, you need to think about how that will affect your sales in the long-run, and what kind of potential profits it can bring in.
You Want to Create a Sense of Consistency
It’s also important to point out that consistency should be used across the board. You don’t want to use stock images in some areas and then professional photos in other areas. This just confuses customers and visitors and can put out the wrong message. If you’re going to use professional photos, then make it the standard across the board.
It’s Not that Hard of a Choice
At the end of the day, while it may seem like a difficult choice to make between professional photos and stock images, it really isn’t. The benefits of opting for professional photos almost always outweigh that of standard stock images that don’t truly speak to nor reflect the brand accurately and adequately.