Stock Images vs Original Photography

Stock Images vs Original Photography

Bold and engaging visual content is crucial in helping you tell the unique story of your company and effectively advertise your offerings. Helping you strengthen and establish your brand identity, strong visual content can also help you make your company more recognizable and identifiable as well as foster trust and loyalty with your audience. Appealing visual content will cultivate a more engaging user experience for your audience and help provide a medium to communicate messages and sell your products and offerings. 

Let me ask you. Are you currently using stock imagery? Sure, you’ve got a budget and only so many dollars to put towards your visual content, but if you’re using stock imagery, you’re probably selling your business short. Businesses can find various online archives and storage banks of stock images with free images such as Google images, where they can pay a small fee to purchase the rights to use a picture. And for a lot of businesses, this seems so much more convenient and manageable in terms of their tight budget and time, rather than hiring photographers, and setting up photo shoots with models to carry out full-scale ad campaigns. 

As important as imagery is to a business, so many companies tend to take the easier, quicker, and more affordable route of using stock imagery over original photography. And what’s the result of this? Stock imagery lends a generic look to businesses’ visual content, lacking a strong and distinctive personality which ultimately only accomplishes the bare minimum for a company. Because these days, the question is not about having visual content. No, in our digital-first world, that’s a given. Rather, it’s about how effective your imagery is in the way it serves your business to exemplify your brand’s unique identity, personality, vibe and ethos. 

Ok, so if you are going to use stock imagery, can you make it work better for your business? 

Yes, there are some things you can do to enhance your stock imagery to enable it to serve your business more effectively, and we will break them down here. 

Do your research to see who else Is using it

One of the biggest problems with stock imagery is that there is inherently the possibility that the market is currently saturated with the same image and it has already been used hundreds of times before. So, do your due diligence and do some research to determine how often the same image has already been used. You can conduct a reverse image search from such tools as the ones TinEye or Google provide which will locate how many instances on the internet an image can be seen. And don’t stop at finding how many times an image has been used; review the image to see how it’s being used by various companies. Maybe it’s been used before, but you plan on using it in a different way that is less commonly seen for that particular kind of image. Or perhaps, you can doctor or alter the image to make it your own. We will get into the benefits of manipulating stock images to make them uniquely work for your business, a little later.

See if you can obtain a rights managed license

After conducting a reverse image search, let’s say you see that a certain image has not been used ad nauseum just yet. Increase the chances that the image can stay uniquely yours by obtaining a rights managed license. A rights managed license grants your business exclusive rights to use an image for a specific industry for an allotted period of time. This may be a small investment, but it’s certainly more affordable than going the professional photography route and it can help ensure that your business stays competitive with more unique visual content. 

Don’t use it as is; put your own stamp on it

Stock imagery by its very nature has a generic look to it that helps it be applicable to many industries and verticals as well as various channels of content. However, the problem with using stock imagery just as it comes  is that it will obviously look too much like a stock imager. It’s possible that it’s already been used by other companies hundreds of times, and will therefore not not help your business stand out enough. Also, you may encounter technical issues with the image that you can resolve by cutting out or adding in an object to the image to make it work better for your needs, or manipulating the background in some way. For example, let’s imagine that you’re a jewelry company, and instead of hiring models and conducting professional photo shoots of your products, you find stock images that will work sufficiently well. You will of course still need to overlay or digitally add in images of your jewelry into the stock image to sell your offerings effectively. Altering a stock image will not only enable it to better fit your needs, but you can also possibly elevate it enough so that it is more unique, artistic and engaging in its visual appeal, and no longer screams stock photography. 

Of course, using professional photography is almost always the better option as it will result in imagery that is competitive, original, and visually eye-catching  and appealing, but it is more of a financial investment that requires a time commitment as well. 

If you’re looking to up your visual content game to give your company an edge over the competition like never before, partner with us at Firon Marketing. Our professional photographers have both marketing and photography expertise to ensure your business will stand out with highly effective and compelling imagery. Reach out to us for a free audit today.