Let’s face it there are images everywhere you look these days. Anyone with a half decent digital camera and Photoshop can call themselves a photographer. And many do. The images available online are increasing at a staggering rate. Corbis, Veer, Shutterstock, Comstock, Getty, Masterstock, iStock, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook – a designer can buy, rent or steal images from anywhere in the world.
So why should I hire a photographer to shoot your brochure?
Simple, you get the content you want and need, you get a look that is yours alone and you start creating an image library that can help you keep a consistent look and feel throughout all of your digital and printed materials. That’s why. Not to mention you own it if you buy the rights. So nobody else can use it.
And the best reason of all is that your unique images help you differentiate your company or product from your competition. The photography you shoot will create an image that you own, your look, your feel, and your voice.
Now don’t get me wrong I believe there are many cases where stock images make sense and use it. Need a shot of a Sherpa on Mt. Everest – stock. Need a picture of thousands of people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve – stock.
But most of the time you will be using the same images other people are using. And there’s a lot of bad photography out there so of course designers tend to gravitate to the better images, that means well-used images.
So your stock image of a business guy shaking hands with another business guy will find it’s way into many brochures. It’s not just about originality of the content either. Finding images with the right mood, wardrobe and time of day can be challenging. Along with finding images that go well with the twenty other images that make up your brochure and images on your website. There’s a lot to consider if you need more than one photograph.
When you buy stock you let some of these critical elements fall away, they become unimportant. You never get the perfect image; you get the one that works. It becomes a series of compromises to your creative vision, so then is it really your vision? Most likely not.
What about the cost of photography? Stock is way cheaper.
I often hear from clients that they would rather use stock because it’s less expensive. I would tell you that there are many variables that go into the price of an image, stock or original. And the quality of the content should be the first consideration. As soon as you start on the path of stock you are making compromises to your product.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you have a manufacturing company and you make a variety of wire products for the electrical construction industry and you need to update your website, sales materials, marketing brochures, internal communications and employee materials.
You think stock is the way to go. Online your designer can find you images of everything you need. Machines that make wire products, forklifts moving things around a warehouse and employees packing and shipping to customers. You can tell your story in a generic fashion with images that approximate what you really do. And if you buy these images from a stock house legally on average you’ll pay $400-$600 dollars per image, per media use. And really, $400 for an image isn’t so bad but it adds up. Because you have to buy 20 stock images for all your needs you could be spending $8,000 to $12,000 in fees. And you’ve compromised the quality of your end product and opportunity to make your image unique. You’ll also need to pay that fee again next year when the usage rights run out, ouch.
Take that same $8,000 to $12,000 and hire a photographer, use your employees, use your warehouse, your trucks with your logos, with your real products and in a two day shoot you’ll have more than 20 images that you’ll love and own to use however you’d like.
No compromises, no short cuts, no excuses. Original photography images in this type of situation beats stock photography hands down.
These numbers I made up here are based on years of experience, every situation is different and your numbers will be different but there are many times this scenario works out in your favor. And it always works out in the favor of the final communication product.
So don’t run to stock right away, be brave and ask your designer what will work best for your end product. It can never hurt to get a quote. And designers, get out from behind that computer and go stand in a factory with your photographer you’ll be glad you did.