Monday, April 15, 2013

Choosing Between Commercial and Stock Photography

To effectively market your small business, you need eye-catching photography front and center. Two excellent options can load your marketing strategy with images that pop; high quality stock or commercial photography.

Commercial or Stock; You Win Either Way
Both commercial and stock photography convey a tone of professionalism and pique customer interest. A powerful stock image on your brochure cover or a homepage slideshow of commercial photography engages readers and visitors.

Commercial and stock both draw attention to your marketing collateral, but they have their differences. It comes down to your small business’ wants, needs and budget.

Controlling Your Company Image
A key advantage of commercial photography is control. You determine what the camera lens captures:
  • You control your company’s unique image and portrayal
  • You control exactly how your brand is built going forward
Commercial photography is more expensive, but you own the photos free and clear. If the money isn’t there or you want to invest elsewhere, stock photography is the ideal alternative.

Your Company Image is in-Stock
Carefully chosen, compelling stock images can give you the same results as commercial photography. Among many factors to consider in the stock selection process is relevance. Choose stock photos that tie in to your company, product or service.

Services like iStock boast a catalog of millions of photos by category. You don’t need to be an expert photographer. Simply browse the libraries and ask yourself; “Do I want this image representing my company?” Trust your judgment, instinct and keep an eye out for:
  • Out-of-date or general poor quality photos
  • Photos featuring “overposed” or stiff-looking people
  • Similar photos being used by your competition
Stock photos come with a lower cost, but there is a price spectrum. Spend on the higher end of this scale. These photos are less likely to have been purchased by competitors, making them more exclusive.

Mix and Match Commercial and Stock
Stock-only or commercial-only strategies might not work for you. Not a problem; simply combine the two.

Lead your direct mail with a customized commercial photo, then fill out the piece with corresponding stock images. This stock/commercial team-up gives you budget flexibility and a commanding company message.

Choose YOUR Best Option
Your photography is on the front line of your company’s sales efforts. You know your business and industry. You know what works and what turns potentials away. Whether you hire a commercial photographer, utilize the boundless supply of polished stock photos or unite the two, just apply your expertise to the process for a strategy that sells.