Stock Photography: Silent Brand Killer or Time-Saver?

 

As a business owner, there’s a myriad of decisions that fall on your shoulders from financial decisions to branding decisions. At the end of the day, you may find yourself wanting to slap on any photo to pair with your social media posts. But before you press that “Post” button, let’s dive into the Stock Photography vs. Original Photography debate.

First things first, why can’t we simply copy and paste any photo from the world wide web? 

 

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

 

The photos that we see on online publications are copyrighted and are unable to be used for commercial and marketing use. Using these photos without the permission of the photographer, company, or publication could result in a hefty fine or further legal action. This is typically when companies look to stock photography. Let’s look at the pros and cons, shall we?

 

The Pro’s and Con’s of Stock Photography

 

Stock Photography can be a great tool to lean on when deadlines are tight. It can save you an hour’s time of messing with a camera and worrying about copyright when you just need two posts worth of photos. Sprinkling in quality stock photos to buff up your volume of content certainly won’t damage your brand credibility, however, it’s important to sift through stock photography libraries. If the image isn’t blending in with the rest of your content or branding it’ll stick out like a sore thumb. We’ve all seen those generic photos of a group of “business associates” that are giving their best faux laugh with a thumbs up. 

 

The last thing you want when a consumer comes across your marketing content is generic. It cancels out your credibility of providing customized customer relationships and takes away the originality of your brand that you’ve worked so hard to build. Furthermore, nothing is more embarrassing for a company than when they realize their landing page has the same smiling employee as a competitor company in another state. With the public consuming so much content in a day, you’ll be surprised at how quickly consumers of all ages can spot stock photography usage. 

 

The Pro’s and Con’s of Original Photography

 

Many business owners think that the option of original photography is an expensive and time-consuming process searching for the right photographer. Websites, such as Fiverr, are a great place to find photographers! You’ll be able to analyze their style, read reviews from past clients, and even find a product photographer for as little as $30. Think of this as a legal investment now that you’ll have complete ownership of photos that you’ll be able to use more than once. Working with a photographer will also assist in expanding your brand aesthetic that consumers can recognize without seeing your company’s name. These photos can present your service or product in your perspective. This is a part of laying down the foundation for building trust and familiarity with customers. 

 

Due to the majority of people having a smartphone, there’s no reason to not have photos of your product or your employees in action while they carry out a service. By typing in “Basic Smartphone Photography” on Youtube, you’ll be provided with countless quick lessons on how to take the proper photo. Allow yourself to present your own point of view and indulge in your inner creative.

 

Stock Photography vs. Original Photography

 

 In the end, your own photos will perform better than stock photography. A while back we had a client that was reluctant to provide his Social Media Specialist with photos of his employees while they were working but was unsatisfied with the performance of their social media platforms. They finally decided to send one photo and amazingly enough, the response and engagement were twice that of any previous stock imagery the Social Media Specialist has used in the past. 

 

A study recently conducted by “Marketing Experiments” compared the response of consumers to a stock image of a woman vs a picture of a company’s founder. Consumers were 35% more likely to sign up for a free consultation when the founder’s photo was used. Even though it wasn’t likely that visitors would be conversing with the founder, they were able to connect with a real person from the company.

 

All in all original photography not only saves you money in the end but is a testament to your commitment to being a trustworthy, premium content company. There’s no need to ban stock photography from your marketing content, but you’ll find the best engagement success online with photos taken by you or by a professional. 

 

Still intimidated by the decision on which images to use? At The AD Leaf ®, we have a team of Social Media Specialists who thrive off of cultivating premium content for a variety of businesses. Let’s work together on expanding your company’s presence online! Give us a call at (321) 255.0900 or, set up a consultation by emailing us at info@theadleaf.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon! 

 

About The Author

Catherine Remaks Catherine Remaks