When to Use Stock Photography & When to Go Custom

A picture’s worth 1,000 words.

Pretty as a picture.

Take a picture, it’ll last longer!

Photography is one of the most powerful marketing tools in a business’s toolkit. A great photo instantly makes your content more engaging and relatable. Plus, Google and Facebook love photos. That’s why websites, blogs, and social posts that include lots of images tend to get more views and interactions than those with words alone.

Since photographs play such an important role in the performance of your content, you may be wondering if you’re better off using stock photography that you buy through a website or invest in custom photography for your business. Stock photography and custom photography both have their uses in online marketing. Here’s our two cents on when to use stock images and when to go custom.

When to Use Stock Photography in Online Marketing

Stock photographs are professional images you purchase online. Hundreds of stock photography websites offer millions of images. You can download and use stock photos immediately for an affordable price.

Because of the wide range of images available, stock photography is great for inbound marketing, from blogging to email and social media. Need an image of a man cleaning a boat with a pressure washer? Search a stock photography site for dozens of options. How about two women grabbing a cup of coffee in a sunlit coffeeshop? You’ll be spoiled for choice.

Stock photography is readily available and affordable. But its pervasiveness can also be its downfall. Ever glance at an ad and get the feeling you’ve seen the image before? Chances are you have. Stock photographs are professional images, but they can feel generic. That’s why they’re not a great option for your website.

When to Use Custom Photography in Online Marketing

Custom photography is a great investment for your business’s website and other long-lasting marketing materials. Custom photographs of your staff, products, and facility help users develop a deeper relationship with you and your brand. Instead of a generic image of nameless people sitting around a conference table, imagine a beautiful photo of your own team members around your conference table. Which feels warmer and more relatable?

While custom photography requires a larger investment of time and money, it can pay long-term dividends. Your custom images are yours to use over and over again where you see fit. They give life to your brand, and, if you’re in an unusual business, more flexibility. If you’re a small electronics manufacturer, your stock photography options may be limited. Investing in custom shots of your equipment and facility can give you dozens of images to use across all marketing channels.

An additional benefit of using custom photography is that search engines love it. Custom photography can improve the performance of your website on Google and other search engines.

Need help deciding when to use stock and when to invest in custom photography? The Solutionistas at Origin Smart Marketing can help! Contact us today to get started on your big idea.

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