Royalty free stock images serve a purpose –
but bespoke photography is key

by Gary S Creigh

Although stock illustrations and royalty-free, stock photography has a place – for quick turnaround work and ease, as well as cost to some extent, there’s nothing quite like bespoke photography.

There is a plethora of stock image libraries out there, from Getty at the high-end, to Pixabay for free images. However, the problem with stock photography is just that – it’s stock – meaning other people are using it too. Thousands, possibly millions of people’s marketing and promotional content looks like yours!

In an age where we drown in a tidal wave of promotional material, how can our businesses be seen as individual when we use stock images?

Does she look familiar?

She features on over 20.5 million websites at the moment.

And how about her?

She’s greeting visitors on over 25 million websites. She must be rushed off her feet!

And when you really want to make a point and ‘signpost’ sales and marketing – how about this one?

Amazingly, this image appears on…wait for it – over 27 million web pages!

How do you get bespoke photography?

Let’s face it, it’s 2017, we all have a high-res camera in our pocket or bag virtually 24-hours of the day. Today’s iPhone or Android device can take an amazing picture. With just some basic thought about composition, lighting and subject matter, you could have something good enough for your website.

Last year Apple released their iOS 10.1 update, which contained ‘Portrait mode’ – giving images a realistic depth-of-field effect. So, with the right light and composition, images look stunning!

If you need something for print, or something more stylised, then find a local or industry photographer – which won’t cost you the earth. A professional photographer can take a lot of pictures in four to five hours. You can repurpose them as much as you like, and you will demonstrate a more professional look than your competition still using stock shots.

If you need help sourcing a photographer, or need art direction, which we would highly recommend, then get in touch with us today. We can point (and shoot) you in the right direction, or manage the whole process for you if you prefer.

As well as commissioning bespoke photography, bespoke graphics, such as iconography or logos, are another way to stand out. They help to differentiate from your competition, and are also extremely useful tools to signpost customers around literature, websites and customer-facing information.

As a creative marketing agency, we know the importance of standing out from the crowd. Your brand assets, be they logos, colour pallette, style or graphics, set the tone for your brand and help to shape who you are, and how you’re perceived.

No one-size-fits-all approach

So all in all, for speed, ease and a professional look you can use stock imagery and still create a fully functional website or piece of literature. But, for longevity, that added bit of personalisation and quality, book yourself a photo shoot or commission some bespoke artwork. It will be an investment worth making.

It can’t be underestimated how much of an impact individual imagery can have. If you are a small company, you can puff your chest out and boost your presence; if you’re a big company, then you’re showing the value in being individual, not another ‘me too’ brand. It’s win-win!

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