For businesses, it can be tempting to choose stock photos over custom professional photography: stock images are quicker, readily available and, above all else, cheap. These are great qualities, and stock images do have their uses, but photography for branding purposes is one area where you get what you pay for.
Adding Images Can Increase Retention By Over 50%
With the prevalence of social media, many business owners at least intuitively understand that images are important in general. This intuition is backed by hard data: according to this study from MDG Advertising, when shown information and asked to recall it three days later, most people remember only 10%. Simply adding an image to the information increases that retention to 65%! That’s a huge difference caused by the simple act of adding an image. So we’ve shown it’s important to have images in your marketing, but why do they have to be custom images?
Many Industries Have Limited Stock Resources
It’s true that you can find stock photos for almost any scenario but that doesn’t mean you’ll find photos that are specific to your industry. For example, if your business is built around industrial air conditioning repair, you might find a few generic photos of industrial AC units but you’re unlikely to find photos of qualified technicians repairing a system with proper safety protocols in place.
Real Photos Show Mastery Of The Subject
What does it communicate when you use a stock photo? If you’ve chosen a photo that only vaguely relates to the topic, it might communicate that you don’t really know much about it. Businesses that say they have “expert staff” or “years of experience” can communicate that more effectively by showing real photos of staff, and photos of parts of the business that only an expert would have access to.
Replacing Stock With Professional Photos Could Increase Leads By 45%
If you need more hard data, this research by Conversion Sciences has plenty of examples. In one example, a moving company replaced generic stock photos of people holding boxes with professional photos of their actual team. This simple change improved their conversions by 45%! Crucially, they also performed a test where they replaced the stock photo with a professional photo of one of their trucks at a site, and they saw the same increase in leads. This shows that professional photos of any part of your process will inspire confidence among consumers.
Customers Make Choices Based On Subconscious Feelings
Another downside of stock photos is that they’re taken by different people with different styles, different cameras, different angles, focal lengths, at different times of day, and so on. It is very difficult to pick stock photos from several sources that work well together. Your customers may not be able to pinpoint the exact differences between photography styles, but they can subconsciously tell that something is “off.”
Selling a product or service is so often all about that “gut feeling,” so you owe it to your business to give it the best chance of avoiding any negative feelings. With real photos, you’ll typically be working with one photography team who has a singular house style and will take photos at similar times of day. When customers see your professional photos side by side, they’ll feel harmonious and at ease, even if the photos were taken months apart.
Professional Photos Show That You Are Authentic
With the world being increasingly digital these days, we’ve seen web-based businesses with team pages filled with images of happy, smiling people–people who have been taken from stock websites and don’t actually work there. This isn’t necessarily nefarious: in some cases it’s a single-person business trying to “fake it till they make it.” But most of us would prefer to work with businesses that have already “made it.”
But not having any team photos at all can be just as detrimental. You may have a real, talented team working behind the scenes, but if customers can’t see that team they might as well not exist. Potential clients often check about pages or team pages before making a decision, and seeing stock photos or no photos can imply that your business isn’t active, or is being outsourced, or isn’t as large as it claims. These decisions are made in a split second so show your team in your branded shirts, in your office or a nice location.
67% Of Customers Say Image Quality Is Very Important In Purchasing Decisions
If you still need convincing, we can refer to the study from MDG that was mentioned earlier. Researchers asked consumers to choose which features of e-commerce were most important in their purchasing decisions. 53% of consumers said reviews and 63% said product information―so it is still important to have an optimized website. But the most important feature, as ranked by 67% of consumers, was high-quality images. This shows that not only is it important to have images, but that the single most important feature you should focus on is professional, high-quality images.
Estland Makes Professional Photography A Breeze
As part of our marketing services, we can help coordinate professional photography for your business. We work with the best local photographers in Harrisonburg and create detailed plans for which of your services and products will be photographed, working around your schedule. When the on-site photography is done, we can even help you choose which images to use across your website, social media and advertising for the biggest impact. If you want to increase your business’ reach with professional photography, contact us today.