Custom or Stock Photography?

Stock vs Custom Photography

When looking to populate your website or printed content with imagery you’ll find yourself with two choices: Stock photography or custom photography. Today’s world is a very visual one, with many businesses now choosing to interact with their clients in the form of photography and video. The pictures used will be immediately associated with your brand, and can either reflect positively or negatively depending on the choice of imagery used.

Stock Photography

Stock photography has become more popular in recent years and there are many different sites offering stock photography services such as Adobe Stock and Shutterstock. Stock images are images that have already been taken, and are ready to use within the accepted terms once you pay a license fee. Depending on the image(s), and what sort of license you need, the license fee can often be cheaper than hiring a professional photographer for a custom shoot. This allows businesses with a very small budget to have access to images of a professional quality, for a fraction of the price. Due to the nature of stock photography, it also makes it great for projects with a short turnaround time, as the images are ready to use whenever you need them.

However, stock photography also has a several cons. There is no way to track who else may have purchased the same images for use, and this can be an issue if your competitor is using the same or similar imagery. With so many people using the same images, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Stock images also run the risk of not looking as authentic and inviting as custom photographs, as they can appear generic and fake.

There are also limitations involved with stock photography licenses, many of which limit how much the image can be used, and on what platforms. The licenses may expire, meaning you’ll have to renew your licensing fee if you wish to continue using the image. This should be considered when choosing between stock photography and custom photography, as sometimes it can be more effective in the long term to book a custom photoshoot.

Custom Photography

Custom photography gives you the freedom to portray your brand in any way you want. You have complete control over the outcomes and can tailor the images to best suit your needs. You will be able to control the images location, lighting, subject and more to ensure they images really match your brand identity.

Not only will the images better represent your company, they can also show real faces and locations, something which can be comforting to clients as you appear more trustworthy and authentic than a brand that uses generic stock imagery. Custom photography can also be a fun for your whole business – should you decide to shoot custom team shots, or shoot on location at your workplace. By actually displaying your business and employees through photography, it allows potential clients to feel closer to your brand, and makes your company more transparent. If you are proud of your business, choose to show it off to the world where possible, instead of hiding behind stock photography.

Although the costs of custom photography are higher than that of stock photography, you will not have to deal with any licensing fees or restricting terms of use. Exclusivity is generally guaranteed if you use a reputable photographer, which means no one else will have the same imagery as you – making you unique and different to your competitors.

Ultimately, the choice of between stock and custom photography comes down to each individual business and what suits their needs and budgets. However, it is important to view custom photography as an investment for your business, that will impress potential clients and potentially lead to a higher volume of interest in your business.

If you would like to discuss how custom photography could improve your businesses identity, please get in touch we’d love to chat!