3 Reasons to Avoid Stock Photos with your Business

How stock photography can ruin your business’s reputation

Marketing and finding marketing material for your business is a continuous struggle, especially if you take into account that people are visual and that therefore you need to present not only factual information and well strategized textual content, but photos as well. Due to the need for photography, and the inability of business to hire a professional photographer every time they need to create a new brochure or update their website, stock images have flourished. But is this a good thing? Should businesses purchase images from the leading providers or should they seek their images from another source? Here are three key reasons why you should avoid using stock photos and how using stock photos could ruin your business’s reputation.

Reason 1: The perception of non-establishment

Whether the perception is true or not, businesses which tend to use stock photography are often seen as being in the early stages of development. The reason that this will come about is due to the over saturation of the image in the common marketplace. Think about how many times you have seen the same office conference picture, or an IT development team, or the widely overused hand holding a lightbulb. The odds are that many or you have seen these images so much that you can recall the details of the pictures to memory just at the mention of the photo. And there lays the problem.

When an image becomes commonplace and when it is understood that the image is cheap and convenient for a business to purchase, there is a disassociation between the business and the client. The client sees the image as being a filler for a company that either cannot or will not allocate funds to the purchasing or providing of authentic content.

Reason 2: Stock images are really not believable

There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Such is definitively the case when it comes to using photographs in your website and in your marketing. Do the images you use say that you are authentic, that you are personable and approachable, or do they give off an ambiance of being fake, over corporate, and foreboding?

According to the content marketing institute, stock images lack a level of authenticity and realism that viewers crave. Plainly put, the images are too perfect to be believable. It is the imperfections and the subtle mishaps which make an image seem real. This does not mean that a business must hire a photographer to get authentic images, but rather that a business should seek out photographs or 3D models which are rendered with a level of imperfection. By imperfections I mean that there may be a random person in the background walking, that you may see a wrinkle on a person’s shirt, the 3D model may have a scar or too many freckles. It does not mean that the picture is over exposed or that you should be negligent in the composition, but you do need to have the photo believable.

Reason 3: Stock Images are really not that cheap

If you consider the rate in which marketing material is needed as well as the need for a business to create new content for the market, then you will find that the purchasing of stock images is not financially reasonable. Granted, you could have a subscription that you pay for every month, but what happens when you do not need content that month? You end up paying for a service that you do not need. Additionally, if your subscription only allows you to have 10 downloads a month and you need more images you could spend hundreds of dollars easily (as some images go for more than $50). Individually speaking, a brochure or a website’s stock images will run a person on average $100 or more if that person has 5 images on the site or the brochure. Combine this with the cost of printing and you can quickly see how things can get out of hand.

The solution

The solution to using stock images is to have authentic content created or to use content which has not overly saturated the market. 3D renders are one way in which you can maximize the amount of content you receive without overspending. For example, if you download a free architectural interior from CGTrader and then apply various textures to the model, you could have endless photorealistic results and pay nothing. Using human 3D models will allow you to customize the expressions, poses, and such to give a more realistic and believable perception of the render.

Should you purchase stock photos, look for sites which have budding artists and aspiring photographers, such as deviantart. Be cautious when downloading content and ensure that you review all of the requirements for licensing and distribution prior to using such content on your site. By upping the photo quality of your site, you will find that people have a better feeling about your business because they can associate it, because it looks inviting, and because it will be a site that stands apart from the masses.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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