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  • pille@personalityphotographer.com.au


    DSC 9813According to some researchers as many as  67% of online shoppers rated high quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision, which was slightly more than “product specific information”, “long descriptions”, and “reviews & ratings”.

    According to a study by Institute for Behavioural Economics Research imagery has the ability to affect a person’s mood, even when they’re unaware it is happening.

    Based on that the images we use on our website are extremely important and you wish to select them so they positively impact the visitors.

    We might think that stock images are a way to go as they are easy to get and usually of high quality however you will find that most branding and marketing experts will recommend against using stock images. Below are some reasons why:

    1. Your brand + your images = brand trust

    We use images on our website to convey a message of professionalism and trust. We wish to create impression that the business is easy and friendly to work with.

    Even though the stock libraries are growing and lot of them offer vast choices, it is quite unlikely that you will find the exact photo for your item / service in a way YOU want it to appear.

    And if you are really unfortunate – your competitor has already found that image and is using it too.

    Lot of the time we don’t know how to use the stock images to create a unified style. For variance you might use different people on different photos, they have different looks and different feel to it creating subconscious distrust in the viewer.

    I have also noticed that there are not many Australian audience stock photos out there. The American look is sometimes painfully obvious when stock images are used for advertising a workshop or an event with an audience. Why not get a photographer in to your event and use a genuine approach that will create more connection with your customer keeping to your brand vision.  

    2. Your vision vs someone else’s vision

    When using stock images do we really get the impression of a strong brand and business with a vision? We are using someone else’s vision, their thoughts and emotions. With custom photography you have control over it – from marketing perspective it is a huge advantage.

    Your photos will reflect your message, your brand your style creating consistency and trust in your brand.

    Here is another way to think about it. Remember back to your last vacation. Think about the amazing experiences you had and the memories and emotions brought back by looking at the pictures you took. Are you there? Great, now do you think you would be reliving so those same experiences and emotions if you were looking at someone else’s pictures? No way, not happening. And that is why custom photography beats stock photography when it comes to evoking the right thoughts and emotions. Stock photography, for lack of a better term, is “someone else’s vacation photos.”


    Compare the contact image on the left which is quite generic, not to mention standing in closed pose. Yes, she's got a nice smile and headset. But imagine now, when you go out to meet a client. Who will they expect to see? On the right we have image of Gale, from a brand shoot little while back. She's wearing the chosen colours of her brand, it's her welcoming smile and laptop (referring to her website business) that creates a connection for us.



    3. Original vs widely used


    Years back there was a story of Everywhere girl, which was popularly going around the web. It was about a photo of Jennifer Anderson who posed for stock image. That image got so widely used that it created a fame of its own – people started posting about sightings of the use of her photo.

    Now we must question ourselves, if this kind of image is something our brand and our business wishes to connect with? Seeing completely random people high-fiving, shaking hands and appearing to do actual work or sharing the genuine experience that happens in your workplace, so when your client actually visits you – they will feel like they already know you!   

    4. Cost – short term vs long term effectiveness

    You might find a low cost image or even a free one to use, but consider all the other points – is it really cost effective? Or is it something that will be working against you in the long run?

    Stock photo costs can go beyond licencing fee

    NB-  be sure you choose the right licence -  it can be quite high cost for business use!

    -  make sure how long the licence is valid, so that in 3 or 4 years time the image you used in your blog won’t become a copyright breach!

    But also you have to take into account of your time – you will go through hundreds, potentially thousands, of photos to find the “perfect” ones.

    It might be worth considering if using general stock images is not actually hindering your business. Here you might say that you don’t do online marketing so your website is not that important. But here I say even if you meet your potential clients in person or at networking events they will still go home and check out your website!

    Then you will wish your website to work for you and cooperate in conveying your message and finalise the sale your service or product for you.

    While the cost of custom photography will be higher in the short-term, the benefits of a more impactful website that produces better results will far outweigh those costs in the long-term. In fact, a less impactful website will cost you more and more as time progresses thanks to lost opportunities and sales.

    5. Perfect fit vs good enough

    Lot of the time as mentioned above the stock photos are not perfect fit. They are simply “good enough”. Will good enough create the mood of your client to purchase your product? May be it will, but do you think it can be better? Is the "good enough" image targeted to your ideal client, or will the message be lost due to a too wide audience?

    Hopefully before creating your brand and website you have done some research and have a vision for it. You have the mood, the message and emotions you wish the visitor to feel so they would buy your product. With custom photography you can be sure that you create immediate connection with your customers vs unipersonal impression


    Do not forget to optimise the images you use for better ranking on search engines


    Pille Repnau


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