To stock or not to stock…

“We don’t have the budget… It’s an additional cost that’s not needed… I’ve found this stock image I like…”

Chances are someone else did too!

This is the general response any time the idea of arranging a bespoke photo shoot with a client is mentioned. It doesn’t need to be cost prohibitive. You are looking to sell your product/service, why would you not want to show exactly what you are selling/providing? Yes it’s an extra money spent but honestly it’s well spent, think of it as an investment. Your visual representation is the best advert a brand can have. To create the cohesive narrative and say more about a product than you can in words. A picture paint… and all that! Too many times we see websites using the same stock images as other websites trying to sell something completely polar. This dilutes a brands message and creates a confused marketplace and consumer.

Don’t get us wrong stock photography has it’s place. Filler content can be vital for websites and collateral if used thoughtfully but it should NEVER be used as main imagery for your business or brand. You don’t have ownership over them.

 Kayaking lessons by Loch Torridon. Shot for The Torridon on location.

Kayaking lessons by Loch Torridon. Shot for The Torridon on location.

The image above was shot for a client, The Torridon, and shows one of the instructors teaching some guests the basics before getting in the water. He is a genuine Torridon instructor working with guests, the person you would physically meet if you were to book lessons. This is the emotive content, the ability to immerse the consumer in YOUR product. Make them feel what it is to be there, to taste it, to experience it. To use a generic Kayak stock shot would remove the USP, to explain an experience not BE the experience.

On Twitter, images accompanying text garner a larger audience with 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites, and 150% more retweets. We live in a visual world. Consumer expectation is key, most preferring to see reality rather than be let down by false pretence. Many times this interaction is the first one with a brand/product long before any tactile or physical experience.

If you hire a photographer remember the photographs will be YOURS (apart from the photographer of course but that’s a discussion for another time…). You won’t see the local chippy using your the image from your restaurant selling their new fish supper or the local pub using images of your product as a special cocktail they make.

arcturus-the_torridon-ryanjohnstonco-7.jpg

You will also get more than enough images that you can use for the rest of time instead of forking out for a single shot each time you want one from a stock site which your competitor can download just like you did.

Now, step away from Stock photography and put some equity into understanding the power of taking ownership of your imagery.