When Not to Use Stock Photos

Website building requires select components that will impact your website’s objectives positively. Such feature of a website where this is particularly significant is photography. Stock images, indeed, are convenient for when you have no time or the cash to commission a photographer. Still, there are certain conditions when investing in custom photography is the better option. Below are the top five situations when you should not use stock photos.

When You Have a Distinct Vision in Mind

It doesn’t matter how professional the stock photos look; they will always be someone else’s vision and interpretation of the concept, emotion, idea, etc., that you’re trying to relay. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So, when building your website, why would you opt to coney someone’s “words” instead of yours? Contrary to stock photos, custom photographs allow you to control the emotions and thoughts conveyed by your website. That is already a big deal when viewed from a marketing perspective. So regardless of whether it’s a business purchase or one for personal purposes, feelings and emotions always impact decisions, no matter how small.

When You Prefer Originality

Unlike stock photos that pop up on numerous blogs or sites, custom photographs allow you to show your visitors something new, one they’ve never seen before. When potential clients go to your website for the first time, there should be an immediate “wow” effect. One foolproof way to do it is with an original photo that quickly shows them photographs they’ve never seen before, especially not at someone else’s website. Doing this will go a long way with promoting your company’s image that you want to stick in your visitors’ minds and aiding the establishment of your own unique identity. It’s just not possible with stock photos since content creators use them over and over again. 

When Comparing Short-term Cost with the Long-term Cost

Hiring a professional photographer will clearly have higher initial costs than utilizing stock photos. Sure, additional expenses like models or having employees away from the desks to participate in a photoshoot. But, there are, subsequently, many indirect costs tied with stock photos aside from the licensing fee (which can be pretty high, relying on the image quality and how frequent you want to use it). 

You must also consider the time costs of searching through hundreds, and possibly thousands, of images to find the “perfect photos” for your site. In addition, when you use custom photographs, you create a library of pictures you own and operate in perpetuity. On the other hand, there are usually restrictions on using stock photographs and for how long.

When You Want to Use the “Perfect Photo”

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Before selecting your images or before you even begin thinking of your vision for your site, you’ve already (or should’ve) done market research to pinpoint the objectives or goals for your website. It’s also the same with the emotions and messages you wish to convey and what you want visitors to do while on your site. 

When you use custom photographs instead of stock images, you’re sure to have perfect photos for your message and website. While the cost of custom photography might be higher in the short term, the advantages of a website that generates more impact and produces better outcomes still outweigh long-term costs. A less impactful site will surely cost more as time flows through lost sales and opportunities. Even if you obtain stock images, they will most likely be just “good enough” and not truly suit your message and company. In this regard, “good enough” isn’t satisfactory for your website and the success of your business.

When You Want to Create Immediate Connection

Think about when you visited a site and clicked on their customer service, contact options, or something related. Did you see an image of a customer service agent? Did it seem like the person in the photo worked for the company, or could you immediately determine that it was just a generic stock image? Think about how it would feel if you had seen the photo of the person assisting you. How much better do you think your experience would be if it were?

One standard stock photo of a lady is currently the “Customer Service” representative on above 40,000 websites. Undoubtedly, you have seen her on a couple of websites yourself. So naturally, your thoughts, when you see her or other individuals in related photos, is, “Right, I am so convinced she’s working for this company.” And while it’s ultimately your team’s responsibility to build that personal connection, actual images of your team members compared to generic photos unquestionably place the foundation for such connections. Imagine the sense of reliability and trust that could’ve been established if companies used photos of their actual employees instead of an image that doesn’t resemble their employees or company?