Stock photos vs. professional photos – which ones are the best out of the two?
Well, I think any commercial photographer would tell you that professional photos are the best out of the two, but I thought I would let you know what I think from a graphic designers perspective.
As a designer, I adore working with professional photos because they have the right look and feel for that brand, meaning they really enhance the designs created.
Let’s look at this in more depth…
There are some free and paid for stock photo websites out there and they both can serve a purpose for any business owner, but there are limitations when it comes to stock photos.
Firstly, they’re stock photos, which means someone else within the same industry as you or similar could be using the same photos and that could be a little embarrassing…
Secondly, it can be difficult to find the ‘right’ photo that’s going to represent your brand. When choosing stock photos you need to keep your brand in mind in terms of the overall look and feel you’re trying to achieve with your brand and sometimes stock photos just aren’t going to cut it.
Thirdly, they’re not a genuine or true representation of you or your business.
Lastly, I don’t know about you, but nowadays I can spot a stock photo a mile off. That could be because I see them all the time, or may just have a super critical eye being a graphic designer, but it always makes me wonder – if I can tell they’re stock photos, can your customers tell as well? This is definitely something to think about.
Like I’ve already said, I adore working with professional photos. Here’s a few reasons why:
They are guaranteed to be ‘on brand’. When it comes to having professional photos taken you can work closely with a photographer to ensure the look and feel you are after is achieved.
They look professional and at the end of the day, that’s what every business owner wants right? For their overall brand to look and feel professional rather than homemade. Having professional photos is going to help massively with this.
They ARE a true representation of your brand. You can work closely with your photographer to make sure you get the shots you would like. With stock photos you can’t do this, what you see is what you get, whereas with a professional photoshoot you can control the overall look and feel, making sure props/products are placed the right way etc.
Professional photos can make a big difference to your designs. Again, working with a professional photographer you can think and list out all the different shots you need, but also you can take into consideration what you want to use the photos for – online and offline and then ensure you get the right shots there and then.
They can contribute to you repositioning your business within your marketplace along with enhancing your brand. I had a personal branding photoshoot with Sue Todd, from Sue Todd Photography for the first ever time as part of of my own rebrand and I am so pleased with the results. They’ve made my whole brand look much more smarter and the photos are also now up-to-date whereas the ones I was using previously were a couple of years old.
What if you don’t have the budget to work with a professional photographer?
This is something that comes up time and time again and there’s a few things you can do about this. The first is to work backwards and find how much a photoshoot would be with a professional photographer and work out what you need to do in order to gather the money together.
You could also see if the photographer you’d like to work with would be open to an exchange of services, where you make a mutual exchange of services to the same value of each other. By doing this you’re exchanging time and services and it means you’re helping each other out.
Learn how to take better photos yourself. You could look at the likes of Photography Bootcamp, or you could start gathering photos you like the look of for your business within a secret Pinterest board and learn how to take better photos that way taking inspiration from what you’ve collated.
If you’re a personal brand, ideally you need to be more visible within your photos so you could always ask a good friend of yours out for a mini adventure and see if they would be happy to take some photos of you.
I would love to know your opinion below on stock photos vs. professional photos.
And, if you would like to find out more about professional photography, what to expect from a photoshoot, how to prepare for one and more, then you can catch the replay of my live with Sue, which was about the importance of professional photos along with a Q&A session where we answered a lot of commonly asked questions around professional photoshoots and taking your own photos.