Us again! Last month in part one of our series on when and why to use stock photography, we covered three challenges inherent in using stock photos. At GoodHuman, we want our clients’ commercial photography to enhance their brand, so we’re back with part two of the series with more helpful advice about how to get the most from stock photography.
Challenge 1 - Unless you modeled professionally at one time, you’re never going to be the person in a stock image. Here’s the thing: some stock photos do have people in them. It’s true. But those people are never going to be you. As we said in the GoodHuman blog post “You the Brand” you are your brand. Your customers don’t want to see random people who have nothing to do with you or your business. They want to see great photography of you; they want to see office pictures that feature your employees. This conveys authenticity and trustworthiness, and those two things are invaluable, especially in a time when it is becoming harder and harder to tell truth from lies.
Solution: Invest in having a professional photographer create a collection of custom commercial photography that uses you and your team as the models. This is especially useful if you are in an industry where image is important (advertising, fashion, hair/make-up, design, acting, etc.), but no matter what industry you are in, having great photography that showcases you and your team’s unique style and personality is crucial. Because like we have said before, your clients aren’t just hiring the business… they’re hiring you.
Challenge 2 - Sometimes stock is more expensive. Every now and then, you may actually find a stock photography image that is exactly what you need (i.e., perfect shirt color, authentic expression, exact proportions for all uses). And you think “YES! stock photography is the best!” Until you go to pay and you find out that the only thing wrong with your perfect stock image is the price. You think “That is so expensive, but maybe it’s worth it… it does have everything we need.”
Solution: Anytime you are thinking of spending more than $2,000 for stock photography, it’s time to consider hiring a professional photographer to create a collection of custom commercial photography for you. For the same price as your expensive “perfect” stock photo, you can hire a photographer to create a custom collection of the perfect images for your business. We think it’s even better because it is unique to your business. You will never have to worry about seeing that image appear on another company’s marketing materials. And when you hire your own photographer, you get more choice and say in how it will look. Last point on this: when you hire a professional, you have the freedom to negotiate a fee that works for your budget. This means your custom images could end up costing you less than the pricey stock photo. Just try negotiating with a stock agency. Hint: highly unlikely.
Challenge 3 - How do you know if you’ve found a reputable source for your stock images? We’ve already established there are vast amounts of cheap or free stock imagery out there, but if we are all being honest, deep down inside we know this content is just “filler” - bland, unoriginal pictures with the purpose of simply taking up space. This type of budget imagery is never going to set your business apart from the crowd. What will set you a part is using stock images that really stand out. These are the stock photos that are authentic and have personality, but to get those images you often have to pay a little more for them.
solution: For those occasions when stock photography really is the best option, GoodHuman wants you to have images that really stand out. www.BlendImages.com is a source of quality stock images, and it is the stock photography company we recommend to all our clients when stock is the best option. GoodHuman photographers have been working in the stock industry for more than 20 years and we all shoot for Blend Images. We can say without reservation, you are in good hands with them. There are, of course, many other agencies, and some of them are great, but Blend is our go-to agency. We feel confident that you will get exactly what you need there.
So when is the best time to use stock?
Let’s be honest, sometimes getting the perfect image just can’t be done for the budget you have or the image is just too difficult to replicate (think: arial shot of the Statue of Liberty or a photo of the earth from space - we’d love to do that one for you, but it probably isn’t in the budget). In other instances, you might need the shot in a very short time frame, but there isn’t time to hire a professional photographer. In those instances, stock photography is the perfect option. But otherwise, we at GoodHuman want you to know that sometimes creating your own custom collection of commercial photography is the best choice for the success of your business, and we’d love to help with that.