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Why You Should Ditch Stock Images and Use Custom Photos for Your Business

Why You Should Ditch Stock Images and Use Custom Photos for Your Business

What will give your business the extra momentum it needs to grow? Marketing plans often promise a lot, but it can still feel like a risk to commit to the strategies. Specifically, custom business photos may seem like an “extra” that your business can do without.

Yet that’s not an area where you want to choose low-quality options. Instead, custom photos are the best choice for your business because they offer a wealth of advantages stock photos can’t match. Take a look below for a full list of why custom photos are a great boost for your company.

Discover Your Business’s Unique Appeal

Your business has something unique to offer your customers that no one else can. So why use photos that everyone else has access to?

One of the pitfalls of using stock photos is that someone else may have the same photo as you on their website or blog post. Worse, that business may be a competitor of yours. What if a customer sees the other business’s photo and thinks they’re booking with you?

You want to stand out so that you win those customers. When you choose custom business photos instead of stock photography, you’re getting a product that you’re sure is unique. You can be confident that you won’t be mistaken for another business and all the customers you gain are meant to be yours.

Earn Clients by Letting Them In

Having a photographer shoot in your space opens your office up to the outside world. Someone who has never visited your office gets a glimpse into your workspace and your personal area. They may learn something about you that convinces them to become a client.

A customer who sees a custom photo for an artist may see a piece they really like and want to purchase. A customer who sees a custom photo for an attorney may see a child’s area of the waiting room and discover you take family law cases. You never know what a personalized photo will reveal about your business that convinces someone to become a customer.

Custom Photos Define Your Visual Identity

In the marketing world, the word “branding” is almost a buzzword. It’s all in the name of helping your business make the best possible impression, though. Potential customers can get the wrong idea from stock images if you’re not careful.

Custom photos can help you define your company’s visual identity and build your brand. Cement in your customer’s mind who you are as a business. Teach them through your photos and clarify in their minds how you can fill their needs.

Make Customers Comfortable with Your Own Photos

When your potential customers see your photos online, you want them to feel at ease with your business. Show them real people in your photos, the actual people they’ll see when they come to the office.

Is your doctor’s office called Johnson-Hughes Family Practice? Post some pictures of Drs. Johnson and Hughes on your website. When customers see online the actual doctors or practitioners who they will see in the office, they feel more comfortable before they’re even shown to the exam room.

They feel like they know you, like they’ve met their doctor already, even if they’re a new patient. Custom photos are humanizing for any industry. If you want to make your customers more comfortable, go with custom business photography.

The Best Reputation

Make a good impression, just like you always clean your house when you have company over or you always wash your car when your dad comes to town. Custom photos can help you maintain a great business reputation, both with existing customers and potential new ones.

Keeping that credibility with stock photos is a lot harder. If they can’t see who you really are and they don’t recognize the office from the photos, it’s hard to appear genuine and honest.

Did you know that what people learn about your reputation later can cause them to remember you differently? Even if you make a favorable first impression, if they see something unfavorable about you afterward, their memories can change.

Research shows they’ll remember you less favorably than when they first met you. In fact, it makes a big difference in the business world, especially as you attend networking events and meet new contacts.

Instead of turning them off, make them see you’re serious about your business. Use professional, custom photos as part of your marketing strategy and ensure you’re known for your dependability.

Marketing Through Custom Photos

You may know a little bit about keyword optimization for web articles and your website. Yet did you know that even images can be part of SEO strategies? Your business photography can be part of your marketing strategy, helping you rank higher in web searches.

Gain traffic from your optimized articles and photos. The more traffic you have, it’s likely the more conversions you’ll see. Using custom photos can be a big part of your marketing strategy.

Reusable Materials

Once you pay for a custom business photo, you have the rights to use it again and again. That means you now have photography for flyers, brochures, mailings, and other marketing materials. They become versatile assets for your business, rather than just another line-item expense.

While you don’t want to repeat photos on your website too many times, you can use them in various places online. For example, using your business photos on your website and then again on social media isn’t too repetitive. It’s actually a great way to streamline your brand and make sure that the crossover is smooth and unobtrusive for users.

The Best Tools

When you’re building a marketing strategy, you don’t want something that will get you by. You want the best options because that’s how you’re going to become the best option for your customers. Even if you already are the best option, if they don’t know that, you won’t get the sale.

Using custom photos can help you convince your client base that you’re unique and genuine. Besides that, you’ll have some valuable, reusable assets when you’re finished.

Capture who you really are with custom business photography from Harris and Ward.

Photography [3 Considerations for Small Business]

Photography [3 Considerations for Small Business]

Commercial Photography Services [3 Considerations for Small Businesses]


Well-executed photography is a powerful tool in engaging your customers.

Taking time to plan and shoot commercial photography that highlights the emotional core of your product or service can create a response that resonates with your customer and earns you more business.

Photography can capture the attention of your potential clients or patients much faster than captions or website copy. Think about it, there’s likely been a time when you’ve double-tapped a dozen or more photos on Instagram before you even started to read the captions. 

Beautiful images are easy to digest and tell a story without saying a word. 

A picture truly is worth a thousand words and that is why custom photography can be so important to a small business’ marketing strategy. 

Yet, as budgets ebb and flow, creative marketing services (like web design, photography, and videography) are among the first to feel the belt-tightening. 

If you’ve found yourself asking “does my business need commercial photography services,” you’ve come to the right place!

Read on to learn about custom photography services and how you can begin using it to grow your small business marketing plan.

Custom Photography vs. Stock Photos

Many brands will spend countless hours fine-tuning their product/service offerings to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yet, when it comes time to choose a photo for a website or social media, many small businesses find themselves scraping at the bottom of the barrel to find a high-quality picture that accurately represents their brand and vision. Some may even be tempted to opt for stock photography. 

Unfortunately, stock photography just won’t cut it anymore.

As the name implies, stock photos are readily available to anyone for purchase. While it can be a cheaper option in the short-term, you can run into some serious problems. 

Despite the millions of stock photos that exist for purchase, the industries highlighted are fairly generic. This means your competition could just as easily be using the exact same photo as you. That quickly takes your brand from original to ordinary and destroys your ability to separate yourself from the crowd. 

stock photo vs custom photography

Custom photography, on the other hand, highlights your company’s products, office, staff, clients, etc. This makes custom photography services more personalized and customizable.

Ways to Use Custom Photo Services

Photos taken during a commercial shoot aren’t just for one time use. In fact, having an archive of images that your business can use on social media, in digital marketing campaigns, or for traditional print ads can greatly benefit your team for years to come. Let’s take a look at some benefits of using custom photos.

Across Your Website.

Engaging photos enable your business to grab the attention of both information seekers and casual browsers alike. In fact, hiring a photographer to shoot custom images of your product or service has been proven to significantly improve the user experience of websites.

As users browse your site, photos can go a long way in gaining buy-in for your brand. Some commercial photography — like office shots — is functional in that it gives customers a sense of what to expect when they arrive at your practice/office. Other types of photos, like professional headshots and product photos can help establish trust and openness, removing any feelings of uncertainty that a customer may have in advance.

On Social Media.

Because our brains are programmed to respond so quickly to pictures and color, in contrast to other types of information, an image is an almost invincible draw on social media.

If you want your small business to stand out from the crowd, it’s important to develop social media visuals that reflect the same quality offered by your products services.

In E-Newsletters. 

Email marketing is all about getting your customers to respond to and engage with what you send. As you’ve probably guessed by now, images have the potential to make people stop and give your content a second look.

That said, using high-quality images in email marketing is a delicate balance. If your images are too large, they may cause loading errors while too many images in general (regardless of size) may cause your message to end up in your customer’s spam folders.

Planning Your Photoshoot

When it comes to scheduling a professional photography shoot, there are several considerations to be made to ensure the best outcome.

Choosing a Photographer

When it comes to choosing a photographer, you’ll have a wide array of options ranging from freelance photographers to full-scale creative agencies.

Generally speaking, freelance photographers are best to use on one-off-shoots, whereas, agencies are better suited to longer-term projects. If your business has plans to create/update a website with your photos, it would be most beneficial to hire an agency that can handle all of these projects (photos included) under one team. This gives you the most bang for your buck!

The other benefit of choosing an agency is that you can rest assured knowing they have the capacity to handle multiple clients at one time.

Scheduling Your Shoot

At Harris + Ward, our typical photoshoots are planned to last 4 to 6 hours. Though this may seem like a long time, it moves very quickly!

We will start by taking care of any schedules headshots for your staff or customers. Then, we’ll spend time gathering candid shots that show you/your team in your natural environment. For most business photoshoots, our goal is to capture the authenticity of your brand through normal day-to-day interactions.

Following Safety Protocols

As many businesses struggle to return to “normalcy” in the face of new health and safety protocols, we often get asked, “can I schedule a photoshoot during COVID?” The answer is yes!

“For us,” explains Harris + Ward Partner, Bradley Nolan, “it is important to document the changes brought about by COVID but we also want to continue to focus on your business’ interactions with clients.” Though this may look a bit different, with proper social distancing measurements you can still showcase your brand in creative ways.

“You can imagine everyone wearing masks in the photos makes that a bit more difficult to get,” Nolan notes, “but, we are working harder than ever to help our clients prepare for shoots by notifying patients, staff, and customers ahead of time.” This allows everyone to prepare for the shoot and make any necessary arrangements to ensure everyone is comfortable throughout the shoot.

Finding Custom Photography Services

If you have great photography that is on-brand and high quality, you’ll connect with your ideal clients in an instant. Photos of your business allow you to show your staff, work environment, services, and products in a way that cannot be achieved with stock options.

To schedule your own custom photoshoot or inquire about other creative marketing services, contact us today!