Stock photography can make a lot of things easier: web design, marketing collateral, social media management and much, much more.
But just because it’s easy doesn’t make it right.

Sure it can shave hours off your design time and improve your project’s overall look, but the truth is there is a time and place for stock photography.
Do you know the difference? Should you be taking your own photos or using stock photography on your next project? Here are a few ways to decide:
Do you have other options? If you have other options (you have a good camera on site, you know a professional photographer, etc.) then go with those. It’s always better to have original, unique and totally-your-own photos whenever possible.

What’s your budget? Stock photography does make things easier, but it also doesn’t come for free. Depending on where you look, you can pay anywhere from $5 to $15 per image – and that’s for a photo used by THOUSANDS of other companies and sites on the web! Is that really worth the cost?

Do you have a vision? If you have a vision for your project – whether it’s a website, a Facebook post or even an ebook, chances are you’re never going to find exactly what you need on a stock photo site. If you want a great, personalized image that fits your project perfectly, you’ll need to do it yourself (or hire a pro.)
How authentic do you want to look? Most stock photos are staged. And while you might think they look great, honestly, most customers can tell. If you’re going for a really authentic, personal approach with your brand, then a stock photo is just not going to cut it. You need something made just for you.

Do you need to alter it? A lot of stock photography can only be used in very specific ways. Many times you can’t use it for commercial purposes and very rarely are you allowed to alter it (i.e. add text, edit in other images, etc.) If you’re planning to alter a stock photo, make sure to always read the fine print before downloading it.
Most of the time, an original, made-for-you image is always going to be more effective than a stock photo. That’s why we always recommend professional photography for each of our website and marketing clients. You’d be surprised at what a difference it can make in the long run.

Want original photography on your site or marketing collateral?

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.

Author Info

Brad Parnell
Founder & CEO

Brad is the Founder & CEO of Steadfast Creative, leading the team in exploring new ways to solve creative problems and bringing direction and vision for the company. His passion is building relationships, providing solutions and empowering his team to send new ideas out into the world. With over 10 years of agency experience serving local and national brands, he is focused on results for his clients and team. Outside of  work, Brad serves on the board of directors at his local Chamber of Commerce and loves giving back to the community and spending time with his wife and kids.