The importance of good imagery
Here’s a few clichés that are worth thinking about when it comes to photos:
- “A picture is worth a thousand words” – what is the message; is it your story?
- “What you see is what you get” – are the photos portraying your talents or someone else’s? “Seeing is believing” – visual imagery is what clients will base your credibility upon. Are your photos the best representation of what you do?
- “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” – is your practice unique. Are your images presenting a point of difference?
One of the biggest decisions regarding imagery for your website and other marketing material, is whether to use stock photos, take your own photos or whether to hire a photographer to take photos for you.
Types of photos to consider for your website/marketing material:
- Workplace atmosphere/environment – entice your clients to your practice
- Products/services – showcase your offerings to the highest standards
- Before/after – showcase your skills with real-life examples
- Fashion/Glam images or clients – wow your clients with striking imagery
- Lifestyle images of clients – show clients enjoying a better quality of life as result of your work
- Affordable solution for small businesses or businesses that have budgetary constraints
- Good option for sourcing generic photos where visual representation isn’t important. E.g. law and accounting firms
- Accessibility. Immediately downloadable from the online catalogue
- Often better results than you or your staff taking the photos
- Stock images are deliberately generic; your business is not
- These are not your images; these are not representing what you do
- It will always be someone else’s vision that you have to adapt to your brand, not the other way around
- Credibility will plummet when the same stock images appear on your competitors’ advertising material. Imagine seeing the same photo used in an expensive magazine advertisement
- Stock image searches take hours and often end in barely-satisfactory imagery
- Images are largely from the US and Europe and might not be relevant to Australian context. Eg. Medical images are often difficult to use because the colour of the scrubs are different.
- Harder to alter, must be chosen off-the-shelf and require graphic design to edit
- Limited choices dictate and curb your creativity
- Exclusivity with stock agencies is extremely expensive, if available at all
- Stock photography is an expense, getting your own custom images is an asset
- Image licensing is out of your control and can become expensive over time
- Images might be hosted on several stock sites requiring multiple stock licensing subscriptions
Due to the lack of creative control and the hit-and-miss results with stock photo sourcing, we recommend hiring a photographer
Hiring a photographer
- Ownership of images – flexible licensing, including exclusivity options
- More persuasive and visually engaging which creates a richer user experience
- Keep your brand and your creative control, allowing you to build your own niche
- Unique images that deliver a point of difference from your competitors
- Deliver personalised representation of context and brand
- Protect your brand with consistent, yet adaptable results
- Personalised, local images build a stronger connection with your audience
- Complete customisation of models, poses, props and scenes
- Save time by not having to trawl the web for images
- More cost-effective in the longer term so you can better allocate capital into things like site enhancements, SEO and graphic design
- You will often end up with more images than you would with stock image license purchases
- You can proudly say “yes, this is my own work” – highest level of credibility
- Your images are on-point, not just “good enough”
- Images reflect your brand and your professional standard
- Can require more time and effort than stock image searching
- Can be more expensive for small businesses working to a budget
When deciding whether to hire a photographer or to try and source images from stock, please consider the following:
- 1. One of the main goals of marketing is to be memorable and unique. Are you paving the way to the hearts of your customers?
- 2. Professional photography should be seen as an investment in time and money to create a marketing asset.
- 3. If you pride your business on providing a unique product or service, you must deliver this in your marketing material
- 4. Channel your funds into a customised working asset, not into a stock website subscription
Taking your own photos
- Cheapest option
- Can be done at any time – spontaneous
- Hands-on involvement in image creation
- Most feasible option for things like before/after photos
- Time consuming – retracts resources from core business functions and skillsets
- Mixed results, often disappointing
- Aesthetics suffer due to inconsistent outcomes
- Can require additional training costs
- Poor quality results will damage your brand
- Draws away from core business skillsets
At The Gaswerx, we understand that there are times when you will need to take your own photos. This is why we offer a unique photo-consulting service to ensure that the highest quality representation of your work is being delivered.