At a time when people are questioning the credibility of their information sources, it’s important for brands to be authentic–and this includes their photography.
Yet stock photos often stand out because they’re inauthentic.
For example, when is the last time you’ve seen a teenage Asian girl, a hipster bearded twentysomething, a mid-aged professional black woman, and a savvy-suited elder businessman all in a conference room together? Few offices represent 100% of America’s melting pot.
So don’t rely on stock photos alone to represent your brand. Sometimes it’s much better to shoot your own photos to help tell your story visually. This can be a smarter way for your brand to Ring True.
With that in mind, here are three good business reasons to invest in real custom photography:
1) Your brand image absolutely matters.
According to Forbes, your brand image matters more than you think. You can’t afford to not make a good first impression. (Yes, that’s a double negative so I’ll flip it.) You absolutely must afford a good first impression.
You already know competition is fierce. You’re fighting for every customer at every step of their buying journey. So don’t put up visual roadblocks for them with bad stock photos that cheapen the perception of your brand.
Instead, do everything in your power–and in your budget–to use your own real photos that truly represent your product or service, or your customers.
2) People respond to real, meaningful images.
A Nielson Norman Group eyetracking study revealed two important things related to images used on web pages. First, fluffy filler photos devoid of meaningful content are completely ignored. So don’t add stock photos that might look cool but really don’t serve a meaningful purpose from a content standpoint.
Second, stock photos of generic people are also ignored. People relate to meaningful content and, when it comes to photos about people, we prefer relevant, real photos over fake stock photos.
The problem with stock people photos is they often are Barbie- and Ken-model perfect. Too good looking, too well dressed, with perfect clothes, perfect teeth, perfect hair. And, in a shorter amount of time than you think, they become dated in terms of style, attire, and vibe.
3) Better photos improve conversion rates.
Remember, you are vying for prospects’ attention with the goal of converting them to customers. If it’s in your power to remove any potential barriers, you should.
One of them is to have great, not average, product photography. Peter Crawfurd and Michael Yang argue that product photography could well be the single most important design aspect of any e-commerce website.
Common sense says that a wrong image hurts conversion rates while the right image improves conversion rates. One study involving ExactTarget demonstrated that better image selection improved their conversion rate by 40.18%. So don’t underestimate the importance of having great photos go to work for you.
Is there a place for stock photos? Yes.
From a budget standpoint does it make more sense to use stock photos? That depends. You get what you pay for. And remember that your competitors can pay to use the exact same stock photo as you.
So don’t rule out making an investment in custom photos.
DKY is adept at helping brands build custom photo libraries. We have experience with many photographers shooting in a wide variety of environments. So please reach out to us if you have any photo needs. We are more than happy to discuss them with you and work toward getting a high return on your marketing investment in custom photography.