How Stock Photography Make Your Brand Bland

Stock Photography and Brand Marketing

For many small businesses and brands, the easy availability of stock photography from a variety of sources are a great option for fleshing out a website and adding visual appeal. However, for the most part, the benefits end there and business should really start to consider unique, bespoke commercial photography which is tailor made for their developing brand, rather than a generic ‘off the shelf’ image that ‘sort of’ fits.

By its very nature, stock photography is created to be fairly generic. Whether they’re free or low cost, the more broad the appeal, the more are likely to be sold, so it’s in the interests of the photographer or stock image provider to fill their catalogues with pleasant pictures which have as wide an appeal as possible so that more get sold and downloaded.


Why Stock Photography is Bad For Your Brand Marketing

A brand, by definition, is what makes you or your business unique. Anything related to your brand should reflect your personality, what you stand for, what you do and who you are. By contrast, stock photography doesn’t define anyone or anything, it’s designed to be generic so as many people can use them as possible and because lots of people do use them, using them yourself is a guaranteed way of becoming the same as everyone else. The opposite of what a brand should do. What if your main competitor, who offers the same products or services as you do, starts to use the same stock photography you’ve found? So long as they have a license to use them (which you have no control over) it’s possible that they could create a look and feel within their own marketing material that’s close enough to yours to make them more or less indistinguishable. What of your audience buys from them thinking they’re buying from you? How would you prove that?

More than that though, the issue of drowning your brand in generic stock imagery aside, studies have shown that people completely ignore stock photography and generic, ‘seen it before’ imagery. Brand photography should speak of your brand from the first glance and draw the eye, stock photography achieves the opposite by speaking of nothing in particular and being more or less ignorable.


Why Commercial Photography Beats Stock Photography

The purpose of marketing is to let the world know about what you do and attract the attention of those who would buy from you. Stock photography tells the world nothing about you and probably won’t draw anyone’s eyes, simply because it’s highly likely that any stock image you use has been seen before. it doesn’t make you noticeable or memorable. By contrast, bespoke brand photography taken by a skilled commercial photographer allows you to make a unique, dynamic statement with marketing materials that don’t exist anywhere else. You have complete editorial control or their creation and no-one else can use them. You can incorporate every single aspect of the brand you have (or are trying to create) including locations, colours, logos and anything else which helps you audience identify your marketing as yours.

If you sell products which you buy from a manufacturer rather than make yourself, it can be tempting to use the standard, ‘products against a white background’ that they most likely supply for your convenience. However, this too is stock photography, they’ll also provide it to everyone else who also sells their product. Using this, therefore, is another way of making yourself look the same as your competitors. Commercial product photography by contrast, allows to you create your own catalogue shots, showing potential buyers something different, which ultimately makes your listings look more attractive by being unique.


Choose ‘Real’ Commercial Photography over Stock Photography

At Ikon Photography, we’re commercial photographers with decades of experience working with businesses and brands to create eye-catching, unique photography and video which helps attract the attention of a defined audience an drives sales. We work with you, within your brand guidelines and can create the kind of images that help you and your business by supporting and enhancing your brand.

Contact us to find out what we can do to help make your business stand out from the crowd and move on from the blandness of stock photography.