Stock Photography vs. Real Photos

A Classic Marketing Debate

Choosing the right content for your website is crucial for creating a positive user experience and conveying your brand’s message effectively. While some may argue that using real images is the best way to go, others might prefer the convenience and affordability of stock photography. Let’s explore the pros and cons of both options and give you some tips on how to make the best choice for your specific needs.

Stock Photography

As a website owner, it can be tempting to use stock photography to easily add visuals to your site. Stock photography is any photo that you did not take yourself and was accessed from a photo bank. One of the best things about stock photography is that it is very cost-effective. Stock photos can be a time-saving way to enhance the look of your website. They can also be a great resource for businesses that may not have the budget or resources to hire a professional photographer. There are many websites that will allow you to choose from a wide variety of images either for free or a very low price such as:

While there are certainly some benefits to using stock images, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. When it comes to building a website, visuals play a vital role in making a strong first impression. While stock photography may seem like a convenient option, it may not always serve you best. One of the major downfalls of using stock photography is that anyone can use the same images, which ultimately undermines the uniqueness and distinctiveness of your website. Moreover, these images can often feel staged and lack the genuine quality that your website deserves. Instead of relying solely on stock photography, consider investing in original photography or graphic design that will set your website apart and truly capture your brand’s essence. Remember, your online presence reflects your brand, and investing in original visuals can be a worthwhile investment in the long run.   

Real Photos

When it comes to creating a website, using high-quality images can make all the difference. Real photos are images taken by you or someone you paid. In either case, you are the sole owner of the image and have complete control over when and where that photo is used. Real photography does require equipment and sometimes a professional photographer and models (if necessary), which can all add up quite quickly. Also, photography can limit your ability to modify images and can result in quality issues if not done correctly which can be time-consuming while trying to launch a website quickly.

Overall, the benefits of using your own images far outweigh the negative. Using your own images gives your website a more authentic and unique feel, and it can also help establish your brand identity and build trust with your audience. As seen in the attached photo, a local pizza restaurant got lots of attention on social media with this original image when promoting their Pizza Friday special.

Real photos can show the people behind your brand, your physical location, or products in action, making it easier for potential customers to connect with your business. In addition, real photos can improve your SEO by providing original content that search engines value. SEO ranks real, organic photographs much higher than stock photos. For this reason, real images are quickly becoming the preferred choice of both creators and viewers. If you are looking for new ways to bump up your search ranking, incorporating authentic photos into your content is a great strategy.

Stock Photography vs. Real Photos

Whether it’s on your website, social media, or other marketing materials, choosing the right photos is crucial. You can either use stock photography or hire a professional to create custom visuals for your brand. While stock photography has its own set of advantages, real photography has its own charm.

Ultimately, the decision to use stock photos or real images depends on the project at hand. For example, you would certainly want to use your own photos to promote a brand or product in the food industry. Think about any food products you research or follow on social media. It would be strange for that brand to post a general stock photo of a similar product instead of their own. In fact, it might even raise some concerns on the consumer side because of the company’s inability to share real photos.

On the other hand, some businesses can easily utilize stock photos, which is cost effective and saves time.  For example, most consumers wouldn’t think twice about seeing stock photos on a dental website or social account. In that industry, taking real photos might be more difficult and, let’s face it, uncomfortable whereas a stock photo is less invasive and still gets the job done!

Both types of photography have clear advantages and disadvantages. If you have an upcoming project to work on and a limited budget to work with, go with a stock photo. However, if the time frame and budget allow for it, real photos will most definitely help to boost your marketing efforts. Whatever choice you make, just be sure that the image does a good job of representing your brand.

Video Content

If you’re not already incorporating video into your website and marketing efforts, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with your audience. Videos are a powerful tool for sharing information, telling a story, or demonstrating a product or service.

Pinemoor Pizza recently posted a simple, yet effective video  Building a pizza which was an instant hit with their audience on social media. With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, videos are becoming an increasingly important way to engage with customers and build brand awareness. Not only can a well-crafted video help to drive traffic to your website, but it can also improve your website’s ranking in search results. So if you haven’t already, it’s time to start exploring how you can use video to enhance your online presence. 

When it comes to creating engaging content, choosing the right type of photography is crucial. Stock photos are a good option when you’re in a pinch, but they lack the authenticity that real images bring to the table. Real images provide a personal touch that can help build a stronger connection with your audience. However, if you really want to step up your content game, video is the way to go. Video has proven to be one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolkit, offering an immersive experience for your audience. Ultimately, the best choice for your content depends on your message, your audience, and your goals.

If you are looking for some help with content creation, our team of experts is here to assist you in reinforcing your brand voice and maximizing your return on investment. Simply fill out our contact form and let us know how we can support you. We’re excited to collaborate with you and take your content to the next level!