Custom Professional Photography – Value

Have you ever started to add a photograph to something, then found yourself trolling the depths of a stock-photography site for assets? Stock sites make finding polished professional photos so easy. Clearly it’s the best way to get image assets for our businesses (he said with much sarcasm). Right?

What is better for business: cheap, or valuable? What’s the point of adding imagery to our marketing materials if it doesn’t enhance our messaging? At some point we decided that the “just write SOMETHING” mantra of elementary school applies to our marketing materials… just put a photo of SOMETHING in there – {face palm}.

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To make our marketing work, all the elements have to work together. The purpose of the photos on our flyer, website, presentation, etc. is to grab the attention of our audience. It’s supposed to pull them in and prime them for the copy. The photo should make them think “this looks really interesting… I want to learn more!”

Every time we visit a website that’s full of stock photography, the opposite happens. Our brains immediately recognize the contrived nature of the photos and say “Nope. Not interested.” So we go back to the search results and check out the next option. As a business owner, this behavior keeps me awake at night. I check my Analytics page and look at that %Bounce column all the time, because I don’t want people to leave before learning more about us.

Custom photography is a pretty great antidote to the affliction of “Nope.” Here are a few examples of how:

For the plumber

  • Stock photography offers thousands of photos of a toilet
  • Custom photography shows that the plumber is a normal, trustworthy looking guy, and shows that he did a killer job on his recent toilet-installation

To the retailer

  • Stock photography offers photos of widgets similar to yours
  • Custom photography shows each unique widget, it shows the amazing retail space, it shows what the storefront looks like, and it even shows you and your staff so you can build a relationship with your customers.

To the doctor

  • Stock photography offers images of models incorrectly using medical devices
  • Custom photography shows your staff using real medical instruments in the proper manner in your amazing practice. It also shows you interacting with patients and demonstrating that you have a great bed-side manner.

To the attorney

  • Stock photography offers high-power looking men and women in corporate suits and big cities
  • Custom photography shows that you and your team are an extremely professional, trustworthy, hard-working, and approachable member of the community. You know your town and therefore you know how to help your clients.

You get the idea… Stock photography can be great for answering the question “What is it?” Custom photography is great at answering all the other questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What makes you different?
  • Where are you located?
  • Will I like you?
  • Will I like visiting your store?
  • How will I feel when I meet you?
  • What goes into the repair?
  • Why are you the best attorney for me?

Next time you’re thinking about how cheap a stock image is, ask yourself how much value you’re getting. In terms of value per dollar spent, well executed custom photography will almost always come out ahead.

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