Have you ever stumbled on a website without any images? I bet not unless you visited a website that has not been updated for the past 20 years or so. Images play an integral part in introducing a business, product or service on the web. Partnered with the right content, images can pass on relevant information to your target audience.
We are very visual creatures. Studies show that we process visual data better and that 65% of us are visual learners. Using photos on your website provides real value when it comes to information sharing, customer relations, user engagement, and lead generation.
Original photos or stock photos is a common debate among digital marketers and web developers when it comes to what images should be used on websites. To know the best choice for your website, let’s first discuss the pros and cons of both options.
Pros and Cons of Original Photos and Stock Photos
Pros of Original Photos
- Using original photos make your website more original.
- You can set up your photos to perfectly match their purpose.
- Photos of your employees on your website can help establish customer relations. Original images help present the human side of your business.
Cons of Original Photos
- Setting up photoshoots and hiring professional photographers can be expensive.
- You can end up with limited choice for photos. You can only choose from what you currently have in hand. It would take time and money to create a gallery of photos to choose from.
- Not an ideal option if you have an urgent need for a specific photo you don’t have yet.
Pros of Stock Photos
- More affordable. Prices can range from a few cents to a couple of dollars. Some sites even offer free stock photos! Check out Unsplash and Pexels for stock images.
- Guaranteed high quality. Stock photos sites set standards, only accepting high-quality photos taken by professional photographers.
- A wide gallery of photos to choose from. With thousands of stock photos to choose from, you can find different ways to use them – for infographics, social media post, blog banner, video presentation, etc.
- Since you can get them online, photos are available for download 24/7.
Cons of Stock Photos
- Photos are not exclusively yours even after purchase. Anyone can purchase the same stock photos.
- Stock photos can be overused. You can find them on different websites and worse, your competitors might be using them too.
Use Original Photos and Stock Photos For Your Website
Both options have their own perks and downsides. To utilize your resources better and further aid your marketing efforts, we highly recommend using both original and stock photos in your website. What you have to do is set effective standards to find the right balance in using them.
Use Original Photos For:
- Product images: It’s your product, it’s only expected that you have original pictures of them on your website. Your customers expect to receive what they saw and ordered from your website.
- Services: It’s always great to show real images of the services you offer. For example, you’re offering landscape services show your employees in action, before and after photos or a finished output.
- Your employees: As previously mentioned, you can show the human side of your business by sharing images of your employees. Do you have a customer support page? Don’t use the generic call center agent stock image, instead add a photo of your own customer representative.
Use Stock Photos For:
- Creatives: You can use stock photos for infographics, video presentations and other creative media.
- You can also use stock images across your website – as banner photo, on landing pages, for blog posts, etc.
Tips to Having Effective Website Images, Original Phots or Stock Photos
Use images that best represent your product/service. Make sure your photographer understands what he/she needs to capture. Give them a brief highlighting everything you want to see in the photos they’re going to create.
Stock photos can be totally awkward or totally awesome, depending on what you find and how you use them. Find stock photos that perfectly work for your business and the products or services you offer.
Have a good reason to use an image. ‘It looks pretty’ doesn’t count. When it comes to websites, never use images just for the sake of using images. Every image should have a purpose and should complement your content.
Be as original as possible. Using stock photos does not mean you’re completely unoriginal. You can and should mix things up. You don’t always have to stick with the stock photo as it is. Crop and collage. Add text to your photos. Don’t hesitate to experiment.
Stock photos aren’t all bad as others make it seem. You just have to find the perfect ones and use them effectively. Original photos can be a bit expensive but it’s a relatively good investment. They make your business more customer friendly, straying away from the generic commercialized businesses you can find in the web today.
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