The verdict is in: to be successful in raising awareness and revenue, your business needs to have a visual presence. Countless statistics show just how important images are to supplement and feature your message, both on your website and on any other type of advertising.

That leads us to the next question: how should you go about making sure your marketing efforts have the visuals to stand out? In most cases, it comes down to a simple question: stock photo or your photos – should you be buying stock photos or engaging a professional photographer to capture images of your business?

Which benefits you most? Here are 4 considerations when choosing between stock images and professional photography for your business.


Photo by Miceli Productions.

A bit more generic – Garden center pottery. Photo by Miceli Productions.

1) Competitive Distinction

Consider the process in which you seek out stock images: you go to one of the many stock libraries, enter your business or product name, and see what pops up. Now, imagine how many of your competitors are doing the same thing.

Nothing is worse than coming across an ad for your direct competition, and discovering that they are using the exact same images you are to promote their business. Given that 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual, you will have little chance to stand out in your audience’s mind and memory.

2) The Quest for Authenticity

How important is authenticity to your marketing efforts? Given the above, chances are it’s pretty high on the list in trying to establish a unique brand personality. Consumers consistently rate authenticity among the most important measures they use to evaluate businesses.
The Quest for Authenticity - Should you use stock photography or get professional photos?By focusing on your business, and your business only, professional photography allows you to increase that authenticity. Instead of showing generic images that could stand for any business in your industry, you can showcase the aspects of your brand that make it stand out.

Consider showcasing your product or service in a unique way. Show the people “behind the brand” — allowing customers-to-be to establish relationships both with your brand and the personalities behind it. The right professional photographers don’t just come in, snap a picture, and leave. They will spend time getting to understand what your business stands for.

3) Telling a Unique and Consistent Story

Think closely about your visuals. Consider all the places in which you will need visuals to promote your brand — it quickly becomes clear that a single image spread out over multiple channels just does not work. You will need several images for your website, others to help you promote your brand on social media, some for print media, possible advertising and elsewhere.

In other words, you need images that are connected closely and that will tell your brand story. And that story needs to be consistent so your audience can connect it back to your value proposition — all without seeming repetitive.

Photos taken by Miceli Productions PHOTO + VIDEO for Rex Forge image library.

Photos taken by Miceli Productions for Rex Forge image library.

In our experience, stock images cannot accomplish that; you’ll either use one image over and over, or multiple images that have little to do with each other and are clearly dissimilar. Professional photography allows your business to be more expansive, creating a series of visuals that make sense together while highlighting multiple aspects of your business.

4) The Question of Price

Finally, we have to mention the obvious: you can buy stock images that are cheaper than engaging a professional photographer. You can even get many free.  If you’re on a shoestring budget, you might think that should be your only choice.  Our advice?  Choose a small package from a professional photography to get images of your people, your location and your products. As your needs for visual marketing and advertising, you can add more images. And these images are a great investment in your brand and will serve to differentiate you from your competitors, giving you an advantage.Should you use stock photos or get professional photography?

Look at your visual media as an investment, rather than a cost. Professional photography can go a long way toward magnifying your brand personality and increasing your reach. The initial costs may be higher, but so will the return on your investment. To learn more about the benefits of professional photography for your business, contact us.