When stock photography just won't cut it

“A picture tells a thousand words.” You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase many times in your life, and marketers are trained to take this message to heart. Photos can express the benefits of a product or service in a way that words alone cannot. The problem is finding the right photo that truly fits the story you want to tell. That’s where stock photography can come in handy. Stock photos are (usually) professional photos that can be licensed for use in commercial design. There are a variety of sources and millions of stock photos on the Internet, so more than likely you can find one that will fit your specific need. While stock photos are great in some instances, they just won’t cut it in many others.

Think about the last time you went to the store and bought a picture frame. Do you recall the random family picture that came with the frame? The perfect family that just seems a little too perfect. That was a stock image. Studies have actually shown that consumers ignore these types of pictures. In fact, additional studies found that companies who use custom photography see a higher conversion rate than those who use, generic photos.

Stock photos are available to anyone willing to pay for them — including your competitors. That’s why we recommend you shy away from using stock photos on heavily trafficked places, such as websites, whenever possible. The last thing you want is for another, similar business to use the same image you have on your website. It not only dehumanizes the brand, but also demonstrates a lack of creativity. That’s why it is important to use custom photos to highlight your brand’s products and services.

Lundmark recently completed an exciting website redesign for our client, Meat Mitch. Part of our process included a custom photo shoot to highlight Meat Mitch’s various meats, sauces and rubs available for purchase. The photos showcase the mouth-watering smoke rings on the meat, and highlight the bark on the ribs that you can expect when they’re delivered to your doorstep. These are details that speak to consumers; details that stock images can’t replicate.

However, stock images still have a place in your marketing materials. It can be difficult to use a custom image every time you need one. Stock photography is an inexpensive resource for less widely distributed pieces, especially when there is no need to spend time or money on a photo shoot. Just make sure you’re highly selective about the photos you choose and they fit the narrative you are telling.

Feel free to contact us with questions about stock photography and to learn more about our in-house photography studio and location filming capabilities.

Infographic - pros and cons of stock photography
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