Stock Photography or Brand Photography

The Power of the Image

Look around and see for yourself. Good photos do matter. In an age of information overload, the images you use on your website, your social media, in your brochures, flyers and ad campaigns do three critical things:

1. Photos Brand You Fast

Because photos are dynamic, colourful, and personal, many customers remember images in an emotional way. Yet many businesses trust a generic stock photo to represent who they are, instead of choosing a brand photographer to capture the most important aspects of their brand, your face, you are your brand. Look at the pros and cons carefully before you decide to use a stock image.

2. Photos Grab and Hold the Attention of Potential Clients

In a world of thousands of businesses all clamouring for attention, the photographs that stand out, are unique, unusual, and special, they catch a potential client’s attention. Are people scrolling past your photos?

3. Photos Create an Emotional Anchor People Remember

Not convinced, think about some of the most memorable images of your lifetime. Most will be news photos because they are unique, memorable, and powerful images, but there will images from friends, films, holidays, other brand campaigns and advertising that you will carry forever.

Photography Sources

There are two main sources of photographs licensed for business use: stock photos and Brand Photography. Stock photos are generic photos of people, places and things licensed for commercial use and available to anyone who wants to use them. Hired photographers shoot unique photos that personalize a client’s brand, business, and projects.

Benefits of Stock Photography

There’s no doubt about it, stock photos are appealing to many small businesses because they fit tight budgets, are available fast if you’re on a tight timeline, and they’re great for references. But they have a dark side and some serious cons.

Cons of Stock Photography

1. Reputations and Brand Ruined

Stock photos aren’t such a great option when your competitor is using the same photos. If you’re searching for stock photos using key words like “happy customer,” or “satisfied clients,” chances are your competitor is too.

Remember; the internet is forever. The woman from the stock photo is known online as “The Everywhere Girl” just type that into google you’ll quickly see why!

2. False Value.

You may think you save by using stock photography; but then you end up spending those savings on having your designer, spend hours in front of a computer, trying to design around available stock photos that don’t fit the vision, the message, or the brand. You can save money and lose value when you only look at the bottom line or the pound sign. True value is the value your clients see because you’ve invested your money wisely.

3. Sending Mixed Messages.                                                                             

Does any of your marketing copy say ‘customised’, ‘unique’, ‘trustworthy. These are some of the power words businesses use to describe their relationship with their clients. How then will these values be translated when you use stock photos across your website and social media? If you give your clients customised service with unique products, your brand images need to be unique and talk to your ideal client about you.

4. Stock Photos are Generic.                                                            

Professional stock photographers try to reach the greatest number of buyers, not to create the best or most unique photo for any given individual. Stock photographers:

– Make their money by creating and shooting photos that appeal to the greatest number of buyers. The more popular their photo, the more people buy it and the greater the saturation of that photo in the market.

– Want to ensure their designs are not unique or one-of-a-kind. One-of-a-kind photos don’t sell. By being as generic and non-descript as possible they appeal to the most business because they “fit” a cliché, mood or message those businesses with tight budgets and no interest in branding want.

If you want your message to your customers to be, “We’re just like everybody else,” then stock photos will send that message.

Pros of Brand Photography

1. Brand Consistency

Your brand is the face of your business. Anything you attach to your brand, employees, design, photography, and language creates a message about who you are and what you stand for.

Brand photography will allow you to embody your message with visual images that are consistent, that portray you, your values, your personality, and vision. By having strong brand visuals that consistently portray the right message, impression, and tone to your ideal client is crucial. Each business is unique, run by talented people who are at the heart of what they do. Clients want to do business with people they know, like and trust, by using brand images that appeal to them, you can attract your ideal client and encourage engagement

Your brand is the face of your business. Anything you attach to your brand, employees, design, photography, and language creates a message about who you are and what you stand for.

2. Versatility                                                                                         

When you have a vision, there are technical specifications for photographs to ensure they convey composition, lighting, texture, colour tone, etc. Brand photography gives you the tools and the freedom to show what your company, product or people are truly capable of. Don’t spend hours trying to find stock photography that matches your vision, you will stress yourself out.

3. One of a Kind  

By hiring a Brand Photographer you will get bespoke brand images, that represent you, your brand and your business. People buy from people, so having a bank of bespoke, on-brand images, created to reflect your personality, your values and your vision that speak directly to your ideal client. It’s an opportunity that should not be missed, investing in brand photography can make you and your brand stand out from the crowd and stop that scroll.                                                                                      

4. Transparency

Clients and customers are smarter than you think. When your small company hides behind a stock photo of a large team, they wonder what you’re hiding. If your company can boast about business, that’s all the more reason to photograph your staff, plant, office, personnel and show your clients what you’ve really got.

– A photo of one-to-three real customers talking about, using, or demonstrating your product tells a better story than all the stock photos in the world ever could.

– Real people, places and situations in photos create more powerful word-of-mouth referrals than stock photos can.

5. Lasting First Impression                                                                             

You gain or lose potential clients in 1-3 clicks of a mouse. New clients always check out your website first. If the website photos and visuals on your homepage don’t invite them to stay and get comfortable, they won’t.

Brand photography hooks your client visually; the same way great copywriting hooks them when they read about you. If their interest and curiosity isn’t aroused within those first few seconds, they leave.

First impressions are a crucial time to visually engage them and to show them you share a common emotional connection.

6. Media Attention                                                                                       

Most businesses don’t realise it, but by using unique photos of your company, personnel and products your photos are more likely to be used in a news or feature article about your company. Magazines and newspapers won’t use stock photos when they write about you. They want real photos. They can’t always send a photographer out to take a news photo, so they will often ask if you have photos they can use instead.

When you can provide additional photos to help illustrate an article for a newsletter, news article or other publicity use you’re more likely to be selected or included in the media, including blogs, newspapers, business journals, magazines and even television.

By having a variety of photos of your staff as well as production photos or photos of your operation in action, you also increase public interest in your presentations, talks and speeches about your company.

7. Flexibility                                                                                          

By having a brand photographer shoot your photos you have the flexibility and freedom to decide what setting, what models, what mood, what colours, what atmosphere and what message you want to send.

  • Bespoke photos give your copywriter more freedom for better copy.
  • Specialised photos give your designer more freedom to pursue the vision you both want.
  • You have more opportunities to include customers, spokespersons and real situations, products, and events in your shooting-tying your business to your community and your followers, clients, and customers.
8. Photos tell your story 

uniqueness. Will nurture the know, like, and trust of your ideal client, by showing the people behind the brand. We all know that visual content goes along way and has much better engagement than text, think how much more you get to know someone through the use of visuals. Each business is unique, run by talented people who are at the heart of what they do.                                                                             

  • Your story is unique, shouldn’t the photos be too?
  • If you hit a hole-in-one, scored the winning goal, or achieved some goal would you be happy with a stock photo illustrating your achievement? How is your business any less important?
  • We remember movies, stories, and events through photos. If the photos are not unique, they’re not worth remembering or paying attention to.

There are many uses for brand photography on your website or your next marketing brochure for maximum impact. To discuss ideas and see what I can do for you, schedule a free 30 min consultation click


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