Real photos or stock images for your website?

real-or-stock-photoShould You Choose Stock Photo or Real Photos For Your Web Sites?

Just like any publication, online or offline, adding relevant images to a website not only helps it look more attractive but is also effective. Images can illustrate a message, authenticate a story, or deliver an idea.

If you want to add images to your website, you usually have 2 options – select images from online stock photography websites such as istock or you could opt to have real images of your product or service shot.

So, which one should you chose? To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at these two sources and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Stock Photos

Stock photos are professionally-taken photographs for the purpose of commerce, marketing and advertising and made available to just about anyone and for any purpose.

Stock photos can be licensed in many ways. One of most commonly used ways for this is royalty-free. This means that you can use them for a number of times for a fixed fee and without having to pay any form of royalty to the photographer who created it. Another license is the rights managed type, which requires anybody to pay a certain amount each time the image is used.

Advantages of Stock Photos

Besides the convenience of not having to hire a professional photographer to take relevant photos, stock photography is always in compliance with international copyright laws. The photos you need are always instantly available thanks to the wide coverage of photography and Internet.

Other benefits of using stock photos include:

• Royalty-free photos can be used on several promotional campaigns and for offline and online media
• Is relatively inexpensive
• Easy to find and purchase
• Websites like istock has millions of images so there’s a good chance you’ll find what you are looking for

Disadvantages of Stock Photos

Using stock photos doesn’t really have many disadvantages which can explain why they have become so popular and widely used.

• Some stock images go ‘viral’ and if you’re one of the many who have used this image, there’s a good chance you’ll come across other websites which also have!
• High resolution stock images can be relatively expensive, averaging £25.00 per image.
• Stock images cant deliver the same impact that a real image can. if you’re business has been long-established, many of your website visitors will almost be expecting to see actual images of your business, workplace or employees.

Real Photos

If you’re opting to having real images on your website, you’ll probably want these done professionally for maximum impact and quality.

Advantages of Real Photos

Real photos speak real stories. They are more factual and can inspire a sense of trust and confidence with your website users.

Some other advantages of using real photos on your site:

• Your creativity isn’t limited so you can get a picture that exactly represents your message
• In many cases, the quality of a real photo can be better than a stock photo
• Many high-end digital cameras can deliver professionally quality images without the help of a professional photographer. Whilst the cost at outset are higher, taking into account the cost of the camera, long-term this is a more cost effective option, especially if you are taking pictures for your website regularly.

Disadvantages of Real Photos

The biggest disadvantage of real photos is the cost factor. Per image, the cost can be as high as 10 times when compared to stock images.

Another disadvantages is the time for delivery – From start to finish, getting real photos done for your website takes 6 working days on average (setting shoot dates, the photo shoot itself and processing time)

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer to use real photos or stock images on your website? We look forward to your comments.

PS. The image we used in this blog post is a good example of a stock image you will find on numerous other websites as well. It’s from istock and downloaded texns of thousands of times!

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