It’s no secret by now that using high quality visuals helps you stand out amongst the rest and grab the interest of your audience in those vital few seconds you’ve got their attention.
I often find there’s three main options when it comes to sourcing good quality, high-end visuals for your business:
Images you’ve styled, curated, shot and edited yourself.
Custom brand images you’ve had taken by a professional photographer.
Stock photos from a dedicated library suited to your style.
Option one takes the longest, and unless you’re a photographer yourself, you’ve most likely not got the tools, budget, knowlege or resources to constantly be creating high-quality photos.
Option two will certainly give you high-spec on-brand visuals, and if you have a business where you sell physical products, then high-end product imagery is a must – but for custom branding images and bespoke stock photos? This option is expensive. And these images will only be ‘fresh’ for so long before you’re re-using old images over and over again.
Option three is easily the most cost effective. By finding the image style that suits you the most and signing up as a member to your favourite library, you can access all the collections, plus the new ones that are released regularly for a low cost subscription price. This gives you fresh content to use on your marketing and social media, allowing you to look high-end and well put together, without the high-end price tag.
COMMON CONCERNS USING STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND
So using stock photos is a great way to get your readers attention, stay on brand and look high-end. But using stock photos does come with some common concerns for business owners. From feeling disingenuous, to being worried you’ll look the same as everyone else, to not knowing if they’ll actually do anything for your growth.
They’re all valid questions, so to help, I’m looking at the top 6 myths I come across when it comes to using stock photos, to hopefully answer those concerns so you can grow a beautifully branded business with ease and peace of mind!
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 1
“i won’t feel genuine to my audience”
It’s a valid concern – and it’s great if you’ve got this concern as it shows being authentic is a really strong value for you. But when stock photos are used intentionally and with thought behind them to help and serve your audience, they can help you be more relatable and authentic.
They get the attention of your reader so much quicker than low quality visuals, and allow your message to stand front and centre – which is when your real self can shine through. For more on how to use stock images in the most authentic way possible, check out this post for 5 dos and don’ts!
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 2
“i’ll look like everyone else!”
Your aim is to stand out right, so using the same stock images as everyone else kind of defeats the point, right? Wrong! Don’t forget – even the biggest of niched stock photo libraries have only a few thousand members.
Sounds like a lot but that’s a drop in the ocean when it comes to the online world. So the chances of you coming across a business using the same stock photo as you is slim – unless say, you follow your stock photographer on social media. And the chances that your audience will see that stock image being used anywhere else is even slimmer.
And that’s without any customisation or branding you do to the image, how you use it, where you use it and it’s purpose for you. Bottom line – it’s highly unlikely you’ll be competing with another business using the exact same images. The online world is just too big!
That’s why using a niched stock library is always going to be a better option than a free stock photo site – as there’s way less many people getting access to those images. So your odds of using the same image in the same capacity are ultra slim!
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 3
“they won’t match my branding”
It’s so important as an online business owner that you stand out. One of the easiest ways to stand out visually is to look branded and cohesive on your virtual real estate. So won’t using stock photos make this harder?
Nope! It actually makes it easier. There’s so many ways you can customise stock photos to help them match your brand. From cropping, flipping and rotating to get more images out of one stock photo, to using them in branded graphics for blog posts and email headers, to overlaying pre-done edits (these are called presets) to give all your images the same style – the customisation options are almost endless.
And with the right image library, curating cohesive images that work well together doesn’t have to be difficult either, as the photographer in question should be working hard to release collections which blend seamlessly with others – which leads to those stunning scroll-worthy Instagram feeds!
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 4
“they won’t help my business grow”
Want to know the secret to converting more of your audience into subscribers or customers?
Getting their attention in the first place!
No matter how good your copy is, or how strong your offer is – if no one is seeing it, no one is clicking it. And whilst your reach and traffic will increase in time with decent SEO, regular & helpful content and some good old fashioned grafting – high quality visuals will do so much of that hard work for you.
They get you seen. They make you look super professional and well put together. And depending on your style of images, the aesthetic you go for can help you attract the right audience. So in a nutshell, stock images (when used in the correct places) can really help you grow your business.
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 5
“they’re too expensive”
When starting, growing or even just running a business, there will be costs involved. It’s almost impossible to avoid that. But the key is making the most cost effective choice you can so you can increase your profits without your overheads going sky-high.
Taking the Tide & Tree subscription for example… at the time of this post, it costs just 60 cents per day to join. It works out around 4 takeaway coffees a month. It’s pretty affordable when that gives you access to all the image collections to use for your marketing.
The alternative is you either spend hundreds upon hundreds on custom photography, that will only stay fresh for a few months, and doesn’t give you room to change your palette if you want to.
Or you take them yourself and that often means you end up snapping random images on your phone to use – which looks, well messy. And amateur. And your business, quite frankly, deserves better than that.
MYTH-BUSTING NO. 6
“i can do it myself or use free stock sites”
Yep, you can certainly create your own stock photos. How much it will take from you in time, energy and sanity depends on a few factors:
$$$ How much you want to invest
(professional equipment costs thousands)
??? How much you know about photography
(contrary to popular belief you can’t just pick up a camera and become a pro in a week. It took me 5 years+ of self-teaching, college & university education – and I’m still learning)
!!! How much time you want to spend creating images
(granted it’s my full time job, but a typical collection of 20-30 images can take around one week start to finish to complete to a high-end spec)
Can you see why it’s not always the most effective solution? Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy photography, and like using your own images some of the time – go for it! But if the idea of having fresh content for social media every. single. day along with website imagery, blog post visuals and email graphics have your head in a spin then a stock photo library is the way to go.
And free stock photo sites? I heavily advise against. Not only are the licensing rules not always clear (which means you could be in breach of them without knowing) but there’s a much higher chance you’ll see that image being used elsewhere. Plus unless you can find a free source of cohesive images, your brand will still look messy and a bit all over the place.
So you see, by using stock photos from a dedicated library, your business can look high-end, visually appealing and on brand all the time – and it’s the most cost effective, time-saving and headache-busting solution for your visual content creation.
Do you use stock photos? Fancy getting a free set based curated for your ideal brand style? Take the Brand Style Quiz and I’ll send you a free set of stock images based on your results!