Beautiful, professional images can make a remarkable difference to your business, capturing potential customers and leading them to want to know more about what you offer. From your company website to your Instagram feed, quality photos can help you stand out. But hiring a photographer can be pricey, and you may not have the photography skills to take the photos yourself. Maybe you’ve been tempted to try stock photos — but take a second look at investing in a professional photo shoot.
Why Stock Photos Are Popular
Stock images are ready-to-use professional photos available on many websites. Images come with different licencing options based on the owner’s preferences. While you may have to pay to use the photo commercially, the cost is typically lower than the expense of hiring a professional photographer. Many businesses also like stock photos because they’re ready to go. You can plug them into your website, social media posts, or marketing materials quickly. Your savings in terms of ease and expense, however, come with some drawbacks. Stock photos can make you look just all your competitors, and they don’t provide you with the unique advantages of the personal touch that a photo shoot brings.
When you hire a photographer, you get unique photos specific to your company. You give creative input on the photos, so they turn out how you want them. With stock photos, you have to choose from existing photos that may not match your vision. Custom photos give you branding potential. You can request specific props, colours, backgrounds, and other details that fit your company’s style.
Have you ever visited a website and noticed a stock photo you’ve seen a million times before? That’s because anyone can pay the fee to use the same photo. Stock images are easy to spot. Popular ones show up on many websites and become overused. Consumers ignore the images they see over and over again. Fresh images that your target audience hasn’t seen before get noticed. When your images are unique, your website is more interesting to your visitors, and your social media pages stand out and grab viewers’ attention.
Connection to Customers
You can use your photo shoot to take all sorts of photos that help customers form an emotional connection to your business. When customers see what your restaurant looks like, they can visualize themselves dining there. When they’re introduced online to your staff, they feel more comfortable talking on the phone or in person. Clear, helpful images of your products help customers feel confident in what they’re purchasing, and behind-the-scenes photos take viewers behind the curtain to form a bond with your company. If you choose stock photos instead, you lose all these opportunities to build attachment and relationships with your customers, keeping your target audience at a distance rather than helping them feel welcome.
[Working with a startup budget isn’t always easy. You have to make decisions on where to invest money. Stock photos seem like the smart choice financially because they cost less up front. Paying a professional photographer isn’t cheap, but your investment benefits your company. Because your photos are likely to be of superior quality and therefore grab your viewers’ attention, they can boost traffic to your website and engagement on your social media pages — and increased traffic is the first step toward increased revenue.
If hiring a photographer outright isn’t an option, consider alternative ways to score pro-quality images. Bartering for services with a friend or partnering with a local photographer are two options. Even taking your own photos with good lighting and a little photo editing can create Instagram-worthy options. Whatever your strategy, using custom photos instead of stock images gives your company a professional edge that makes customers take notice.