There are few instances that stock photos are appropriate to use. A school project or a meme, but definitely not to promote your business. Although, if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, business sites, or even magazine ads, you’ve seen businesses (sometimes with the same photos—but I’ll get to that later) use them.

Stock image websites offer tons of free and paid photos to anyone who is willing to download and/or buy them. You may be familiar with these popular sites: Getty Images, Unsplash, Shutterstock, and iStock. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these sites (as long as the photographers are being paid for their work), they’re just not the best option to use when promoting your business.

Why not? At the most basic level, stock photos aren’t personal to your business. They don’t accurately reflect what your business has to offer, simply because they weren’t created for your business or with your business in mind. Oftentimes these photos are dated, staged/posed, and don’t capture the audience you’re looking for. Not to mention, it can be time-consuming to sift through millions of photos. Bored at work and want to show yourself a good time?  Go check out the lists of the most downloaded stock images

Additionally, many of these images are overused by businesses in the same market—especially niche markets, where few stock images exist—so if you’re trying to stand out from the crowd by using stock images, it’s quite possible your competition is using the same photos…eek.

Custom brand photos: the best alternative

I won’t give you any more reasons for why you shouldn’t use stock images, but I will give you a solution: custom brand photos. Custom brand photos are an opportunity for a professional photographer (hi!) to capture your business and its offerings in all of its unique ways.

First, we’ll talk about your business goals. What will you be using these photos for? Social media? Your company website? A digital publication feature or magazine? For example, maybe you just bought an apple farm and have no idea what you’re doing (congrats!) and you need a suite of images to show off all the fun activities your farm has to offer. We’ll work together to capture a suite of photos that shows off your menagerie and also the vibe people can expect when visiting your farm.  

Or maybe you’re looking for fresh photos for your startup’s pitch deck. I’ll meet the team and make suggestions about the types of photos we should include in your collection. The entire process will be collaborative, fun, and you’ll walk away with photos that will make you feel proud to show off your business.

Read “How Branded Photos Boost Your Social Media Presence” for more tips on how to make the most of your branded photo collection. Thinking about a custom brand photo collection for your business? Reach out to me and we’ll create a package that works for you.