In 1996, Bill Gates said, “Content is king,” predicting a future Internet ripe with interactive and content-rich websites. It turns out Gates was right, and there has been a growing need for imagery to accompany blog posts and make websites, emails, and other marketing materials more visually appealing. Thanks to the growth of the stock image industry, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to source quality, high-resolution photos for any advertising need. But when is stock photography your best bet versus hiring a photographer to shoot custom images?
When to choose stock images:
You have a specific need. Sophisticated search features allow you to easily narrow down the list of images to find exactly the type of photo you are seeking.
You have a limited budget. Due to the sheer number of stock images available online, you’ll be able to find inexpensive offerings from professional photographers for as little as $20.
You are on a tight deadline. Need a photo quickly? Images can be selected, purchased, and downloaded in a matter of minutes.
Keep in mind: Less expensive photos are royalty-free with unlimited usage, which means you—and anyone else in the world—can buy and use the same photo.
When to hire a photographer:
Your subject matter is proprietary. Trying to find stock images that mimic your team, products, and work environment will fall flat. A customized photo shoot is the right decision if you want to capture what is unique about your organization.
You want exclusive rights. You can work out with the photographer your exclusive rights to the photos, ensuring that they will never appear elsewhere.
You want a collaborative process. With a custom shoot, you can have input on the shot list, the location, and the art direction. The photographer can provide expert feedback on what will work and make suggestions to improve the final product.
Keep in mind: Unlike with stock, you won’t be sure of what images you’re getting until after the photo shoot. If the photographer has a bad day or the lighting or weather is poor, then the final pictures may not be as good as you had hoped.
Author: Ashlee Goodman