Stock photography is defined as:-
The supply of photographs which are often licensed for specific uses
This usually means buy permission to use an image for a specific “use” and “period” of time. So it may be for an advert in the local newspaper for 1 month – or on a website blog for 3 years.
In this article, I want to discuss:-
For businesses, the main use of photography is:-
I have often used a fishing analogy to illustrate the effect great photography has on your marketing.
If marketing is “fishing”, then Photography is like the “fly”,
It is the photo that gets the wheels in motion. Without that great first impression, some will not click or read more, and they may have been ready to buy… right now!
Stock photo libraries are big business and there is a lot of money to be made, so it is definitely something that works.
As a business, you’ll need images to support your content, and a search on the big stock sites will allow you to find almost anything.
The better stock sites have rigorous quality standards photographers have to adhere to, so you know you are going to get something you can use.
Stock websites also have lots of different account types where you can subscribe and get benefits, so if you are a regular user it can help with the investment.
The first thing you will notice when looking for an image, is that time disappears paging through thousands of similar images. You can spend hours looking for that perfect Image for the campaign and still not get there.
…dictated both by the subject matter and your usage.
For example, if you want a front page image for your website, it can cost you hundreds of pounds for a couple of years licence, whereas if it was a supporting image on a blog page it would cost far less.
Stock photos are, by definition, available to anybody who wants to pay for them. You don’t get exclusivity. This means that your lovely front-page photo may be on your competitors front page as well! I’m sure that rarely happens, but you will find the best stock photos get used an awful lot, and they will be the ones you probably choose, as they stand out from the crowd.
Stock photos say absolutely nothing about your business:-
That’s why finding the right one is a long, tedious search process.
The main reason to create bespoke photos is to capture :-
Rather than using photos of American models and the Dubai Skyline, which say nothing about your business, no matter how amazing they may look.
Bespoke photos say everything about your business. They introduce members of your team, show people where you work and what your environment is like. Every pixel is being used to tell your story.
If you plan your photo shoot well beforehand, by having a brain storm with your marketing and social media team, you will find out which images they would love to have available. You can save hours of trawling through stock websites…. because you’ve created exactly what you need already
Usage rights of photos will vary from photographer to photographer, so be sure to ask. Most bespoke photoshoots come with either a price per photograph or billed at an hourly rate. You can then use the photos where you like on your website without the price skyrocketing. It will vary as I say – but many will just grant a simple licence allowing you flexibility.
Exclusivity is usually built into most photo shoots – so you can rest assured that the photos on your website will only be used by you. It will spare the blushes of other people using exactly the same shots.
It’s worth noting that copyright will always remain with the photographer. Don’t be put off by this – your photos are very “specific”, it’s very unlikely that they’ll want to sell a photo of your receptionist on the phone on a stock library, but you can also ask about licensing to make sure they’re not going to use any of your shots commercially.
Bespoke Photography may seem expensive from the headline figure, but if you were to work out the cost per photograph, you may be surprised.
It is often more cost-effective to go bespoke, than to license from stock libraries. Obviously this all depends on how a photographer works and the stock library you choose to use.
Most people prefer root canal treatment rather than being photographed.
In reality, most bespoke photoshoots don’t involve you posing against a background or many awkward passport style mug shots. They tend to be scenario based, where you and a few colleagues pretend to do business activities whilst being photographed – in a candid way.
It can be great fun to do, lots of ideas and expressions flow and if your team are laughing and smiling, the photos look amazing – approachable, happy people who are great to business with – and they’re the actual ones you talk to on the phone, not a model from Los Angeles in a studio, which you get on many “contact us” pages.
So in conclusion, Stock Photography does give you access to a world of great looking images, but they are by definition generic and have nothing to do with your business.
Going “bespoke” with a professional photographer who offers “stock library” type sessions gives you a rich library of images which are 100% about your business – and when you do the sums, it can work out very cost effective.
Here is a pdf which explains the various types of photos plus how and when you should use them:
If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more advice, why not contact our expert* Adrian on LinkedIn?
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