Original stock photos can make or break your marketing. A poor stock image can damage your brand or simply not attract the attention you need. Find out why original stock photos can help build your business. Authentic commercial photography can make or break our marketing communications.

Images invite our audience to dig deeper into our content. They make us laugh and cry. They explain. They entertain. They provoke and inspire. Photos and graphics add meaning to our words. They also have a practical purpose. Images break up our text-based messages and make it easier for people to read the messages we’re providing. We use original stock photos on our website, in email newsletters, in printed brochures, in our social media.

Here’s proof why your marketing needs original stock photos:

  • Adding images boosts engagement on your social media – on Facebook it increases engagement by 2.3 times; on Twitter, tweets with images received 18% more clicks than those without images and 150% more retweets.
  • Articles with images get 94% more total views.
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to deal with and buy things from organisations that have images on the local search results.

Stock photos versus original stock photos

With so much riding on having a good image in your communications, it’s no wonder there’s been an explosion of online photo libraries chock-full of stock images. Stock photos are a convenient way to access thousands of photos directly from your laptop. Certain services, such as Pixabay.com, Kamboompics.com and Unsplash.com, offer free stock photos. Of course, there are a few rules when using these images. Usually you need to attribute the photo to the image creator and there may be other limitations on how many times you can use it. Then there are paid stock images.

Services like istockphoto.com and Shutterstock.com offer limited rights access to hundreds of images. There’s no doubt, that if you’ve got a limited budget and you need an image in a hurry, stock photos can be very useful.

But there are a couple of downsides to stock images:

  • Haven’t I seen your face before?

You often see the same old faces pop-up time and time again. Certain stock photos are very popular. The trouble with this is that you tend to see them everywhere, which can detract from your own branding. This is a real problem if an image is used by competitors in your industry.

  • This is not the image you’re looking for

Though there seem to be loads of images to choose from, sometimes you have something very specific in mind – and that might be hard to find. For example, with ‘people’ shots, you might be trying to include a diversity of faces that’s simply not available. Or you’re trying to avoid that fake ‘samey’ look. You know the photos I mean. There’s that ‘random group of executives in a suit staring at a whiteboard’, the ‘smiling customer service women’ or the ‘active older couple’ that you see everywhere once you start looking!

What about creating stock photos yourself?

Equipped with a smartphone, everyone’s a photographer these days, aren’t they? There’s no doubt that, if you’re on a budget, taking some of your own photos is a great alternative. If you’re a small business, perhaps you simply don’t have the cash. And you might even become a better photographer as you go along. But let’s face it, professional photographers spend years perfecting their craft. If you’re going to ‘hang out your shingle’ and start your business on the right foot, nailing the right images for your communications upfront could make a huge difference to your overall business image.

4 Reasons why using a professional photographers is essential

  1. The right image helps build trust

In some ways, it’s all about trust. The basis of building your business is encouraging people to know, trust and like you. Once you’ve achieved those goals, people are happy to give you their time and their money.

  1. Builds your unique brand story

Having original images can help you stand out from the competition and make you look more credible and professional. It means you make a good impression from the moment someone is in contact with your organisation. Poor quality, amateurish photos are simply not going to reflect well on your business.

  1. You need to personalise your stock photos

There are some photos that must be personalised. They include photos of your team, your workplace, your products or projects. Having professional headshots on your ‘About Us’ page of your website is essential. It helps people connect to the people they may be speaking to in the near future.

For online retailers, high-quality product shots are a must if you’re going to convince buyers to part with their cash. Showcasing your best projects is an effective way of communicating your achievements.

  1. Professional photos can be cost-effective

Investing in your own quality photography means that you own those original photos. There’s no royalty to pay. And if you’ve planned it well, you can use those images again and again. In that way, having original photos can be cost-effective.

Having a professional photographer can also save the time and hassle you’ll spend searching for the right image or setting-up to take your own images.