To Stock or not to Stock (Photography)

Can you guess which one of these ladies has an actual law degree?

Can you guess which one of these ladies has an actual law degree?

You’ve built this very slick and functional website (or you were smart and had us do it). Now, it’s time to fill it with content. Along with some excellent copy, you’re going to want to add some type of photos to really breathe some life into your new site.

There are two ways to approach this. You can either provide the photographs yourself, either by picking up a camera or hiring the job out, or you can get some stock photography from the many available sites out there. But which route do you take? Don’t worry, Ricky is here to lend a hand. Here are some reasons to choose and not to choose stock photography over personal photography.

It’s inexpensive

This is one of the many reasons stock photography wins over personal to most people. You only have so much you can spend on your new site, and when you see the price of a couple of stock photos online versus hiring a professional (or buying your own camera), its easy to see why many people choose the former. For a couple of bucks, you can fill up your entire site with colorful and vibrant photos!

It’s impersonal

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying, “you get what you pay for.” This definitely applies to stock photography versus personal photography. Sure, it’s less expensive, but you also lose some uniqueness when you go the stock route over either taking the photos yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. Stock photos can be used by anyone, which means, at any giving time, the same photos you have filling up your site, can be on someone else’s. Doesn’t that make you feel… dirty?

If you’re looking to establish a small or personal business, it might be worth it to use your own photos. This gives you an identity separate from your competitors and peers. Taking shots of your business and your employees in action might work better for your overall look than finding some random stock images to fill up your pages.

It’s safe

Let’s face it: a lot of us just don’t have the shutterbug. Stock photos offer a wider range of shots that are always done by professionals. So the lighting and the angles will always be good. This may work out better for those of you who want crisp clean images without hiring a professional. Although its commendable to want to do it yourself, sometimes it’s more appropriate to leave things to professionals, or, in this case, a bunch of random professionals you will never meet.

What to choose

Overall, if you have the budget, I would recommend hiring a professional. This will allow you to get the best of both worlds. High-quality AND personal shots are the best thing you can do for your new (or revamped) website. But, if you’re working with limited funds, you need to figure out what is more important to you. Would you rather try to take the photos yourself, and risk exposing your customers to potentially poor, yet unique, images, or would you prefer a stock selection that may or may not come off as fake?

I look forward to seeing what you decide.

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