Why and When To Use Stock Photography and When to Use Bespoke

by: Kevin Williams 22/04/2013 Categories: photography
Corporate photography: Stock vs Bespoke

When designing and developing your website and marketing materials, photographs and imagery are going to be an integral part of whatever you produce. Good photos and graphics can attract new clients, encourage them to want to stay on your site for longer, and therefore galvanize them to make contact or to buy something from you.

But first, a quick definition of the differences between Stock and Bespoke photography:

Stock photos are images that have been licensed for public or commercial use. You can find these on websites such as Getty Images, Shutterstock and iStockPhoto etc...

Bespoke photos are unique to your business and are taken by a professional photographer, specific to your needs.

So, the differences…

Stock is Cheaper

Pretty much explains itself, however be aware that this means it’ll look cheaper too. You might save on marketing costs, but your material will look generic. And one of your competitors may be using the same image!

Stock Saves You Time

You can identify the image you want, pay for it, download it, done (unless you don’t specifically know what you want of course. You could end up spending hours over the computer, studying images, then it becomes a false economy). Bespoke requires planning and shooting (and casting, if using actors/models).

Bespoke Will Make You Stand Out From the Crowd

Your images are probably your most important asset in making a first impression with your clients. Do you really want that impression to be of a business that does things on the cheap? It will also represent your image as unique. Using stock images could promote an image of your business being lazy, impersonal, and you not caring enough about the brand.

Stock Is Always Good Quality

You can see what you are getting with stock, it’s there, on the page in front of you, and you can immediately visualize what it will look like on your website. Bespoke requires a little bit more work, and if you don’t hire a top notch photographer (who WILL cost, the best are the best for a reason), then you risk your bespoke photographs being poor quality.

With Bespoke, there are endless possibilities…

Yes, there are millions of stock photographs on the web to choose from. But with bespoke the only thing restricting you is your imagination (and your budget. If you need a good-looking couple, drinking cocktails by the pool of a 5-star hotel in Cuba, then stock will DEFINITLEY be cheaper!) Anything you can imagine, in any situation, is available to be set up and photographed.

So it all depends on how you feel, and what you want it for. If you want it cheap and quick (provided you know exactly what you are looking for of course), go stock. If you want it brilliant, unique and vibrant (and have a bit of cash to spend), go bespoke.