When it comes to designing and developing a website or creating digital marketing materials, the right images can make or break your success. This is because the consumers of today are becoming increasingly more visual and demand high-quality images and often prefer custom photography. 

However, thanks to the innovations in smartphone technology and filters, almost anyone can call themselves a photographer today which can make it difficult for brands to deliver their own high-quality images. When you are working with a digital marketing agency they will likely use a combination of stock images and custom photography. Below we take a look at which one wins out and how each one can be used effectively. 


Stock Images: The Pros And Cons


More Affordability


If you have a small digital marketing budget, planning a custom photoshoot for your website is probably completely out of your price range. You can still have a completed website design, however, by making use of stock images, which are considerably more affordable and, in some cases, they are free. 

You can use free image repositories online, such as Pexels.com, Unsplash.com, and Freepik.com. All of these sites have high-quality, accessible stock images that you can use for your website. There are some paid versions too, which offer more unique images and their prices are reasonable for even the smallest of budgets. 


Clichés Cloud Creativity


Stock images might provide you with easy access to images for those times when you need them most, but they might not be the right choice for every instance. Stock imagery still relies on cliches and while it makes monetary sense to use a generic image for “happy customers” but consumers today are more attuned to authenticity than ever before

Stock images are used by several hundreds of companies, and this could be highly detrimental to your reputation and to your brand image. Another issue is that your competitors can use the same image for their own marketing materials, taking away from your brand’s originality. Professional photographs allow you to use completely original images for all of your marketing material, helping you to stand out from your competition. 


Custom Photography: The Pros And Cons


Fully Flexible


While it is true that stock images can help with a quick fix during a website design process, custom photography is ideal for more specific needs due to its flexibility. For example, if you need an image to represent your unique product or service, you will be better off using a professional photographer for this than simply using a stock image. 

Stock image website may have extensive libraries to choose from, but they can also be extremely limiting when it comes to original images for website design. This flexibility allows you to create your own images based on your own vision – essentially, you will never need to use the same image twice with custom photography. 


It Can Be Costly


One of the disadvantages of using custom photography for your website design or digital marketing project is that it can become costly, especially if you have a small budget. You can opt to use a combination of professional photography for your products and use stock imagery for your website images in order to save yourself from incurring large costs. 

However, when it comes to custom photography and stock images, paying a little more for a professional photoshoot will work wonders for your brand identity and your website design. You could work out a deal with a photographer by offering them a product or service at a discount. It might be a little over your budget but the results are well worth the spend. 


Which Wins Out?


Both stock images and custom photography have their place in the design world, with each one being better for different aspects of digital marketing. Stock images are affordable and accessible to everyone, allowing for website designs to be finished quickly and efficiently if there are no original images available. 

However, you will need to be highly selective when it comes to choosing a stock image, as these images can be used multiple times by anyone on the Internet. This will limit your creativity and will make it difficult to differentiate yourself from your competition. 

Using custom photography for your website design and marketing material might cost more than simply downloading an image, but it allows for more flexibility, originality, and better brand awareness. You will have stunning product photography to use on your website without having to compromise on quality. If you would like to highlight your brand or showcase your products and services, the NetMechanic team can help. Contact us today to find out more.