Stock vs. Custom Photography

Jan. 16, 2024

The beginning of the year is a great time to start planning for new assets for your business's brand. And, photography is probably one of the most effective components of your brand. People are curious. We love to see faces and places. So, photography can set the mood for your collateral, social media, and website by showing us who you are and what you can deliver. Since most of us have lean budgets when do we choose between stock and custom photography? I think both have value.

Photography can help set the mood for your business's brand and gain the attention of your audience.

With the many free sites for stock images, it's tempting to rely on them for all of our collateral. Stock images are best for when we are trying to show an idea or a location that is not nearby. No one living in New England will be able to run out their door to get a photo of the Everglades. They are also useful for when we are looking to add visual interest to a piece. Images of textures, patterns, or abstract compositions are endless.

The downside of stock images is that they tend to be generic and you just might find the same image on another company's collateral or website. One word of caution is to always read the licensing agreements even if the images are free to use. Some sites require photographer and website attribution and some are not suitable for commercial use.

This is where taking your own photos or hiring a photographer has its advantages and can set you apart. People love to see photos! Candid photos of your customers enjoying your product, your team at work, or your finished projects all add feeling to your collateral and reinforce that overall vibe you are looking for. They feel authentic.

Photographers are great at capturing unique and candid moments. They see interesting compositions and expressions that we might not notice ourselves. Most photographers will have license agreements so be sure to ask about what's included in your package. Cropping out their name on the photo is not a way to get around the contract. Don't have a photography budget? Use your cell phone or camera! So this year find the time to show us your faces, your work environment, or the work you are most proud of.

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