A single image or picture can tell customers and clients about your business or products more in-depth and faster than words alone. You need to select the right images to convey to your customers what your business has to offer to them and why they should do business with your company. When you go to select images for your website, blog, media information or advertising materials, you can select from stock photos or crowdsourced photos. Stock photos are sourced from photographers who will allow a license to be purchased for use of the photograph. They are cheaper than hiring a photographer and can be quickly accessed via several websites. But the images typically do not represent anything special about your business or product as they are meant for the general public. Crowdsourced photos are photos that are taken specifically for your business, helping to better represent the products or services you have to offer and tell customers what your business is all about. Many businesses struggle with determining when to make the switch from stock photos to crowdsourced photos. Here are a few of the signs that your business could benefit from making the switch.
You Want Your Product or Brand Featured In Your Imagery
When you use stock photography, your product or brand is not displayed in the imagery. Instead, it is a generic photo that is used. For example, if you own an ice cream parlor and use stock images of ice cream, you may come up with photos of ice cream cones or ice cream sundaes. However, these photos don’t represent the exact line of ice cream that you carry. In this case, you may try to edit the picture or inject your logo or brand into the photo to make it more realistic. If you are finding yourself struggling to edit your brand or logo into many of your stock images where it doesn’t fit well, you might have outgrown stock photos.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t edit stock photos to incorporate your logo or brand. First off, editing photographs is not easy. Often times, the editing work looks unnatural, which can be a turn-off to potential customers. Another reason why you shouldn’t edit stock photos is because you still may not be displaying a realistic image of your product, something you can’t accomplish with stock photography. Lastly, it takes time and money for a designer to properly edit multiple images. The time and money you invest in editing stock photos may be better spent on crowdsourced photos.
Crowdsourced photos are better than edited stock images because they will be real pictures of your product or business as shown by the real people who are using what you have to offer. Secondly, you can be as specific or as general as you want when asking for crowdsourced photographs, helping you to get the exact photos for your product or brand that you want.
You Find It Nearly Impossible To Find Stock Photos That Meet Your Requirements
The second sign that it is time to switch from stock photos to crowdsourced photos is that you cannot find stock photos to meet your requirements. You want to use photos that express a message or story to potential or existing customers. If the picture is bland or generic, it may not evoke emotion and be quickly overlooked. If you are struggling to find stock photos that depict the situations or activities you are searching for, it might be time to take control over the photos that are taken.
One of the negatives to continuing to use stock photos that don’t meet your requirements is that you are going to spend a lot of time and effort searching for images, only to come to the conclusion that what you want isn’t out there. Ultimately, you may settle for something that is usable, but that you know is not the best available option. This can be a hard pill to swallow, especially if you are a perfectionist who wants the best images for your business.
Crowdsourced images are better for those who are struggling to find the right stock images because you can ask for exactly what you want. The pictures you want are then taken and you will have a ton of different images to select from or to add to your library for future use.
You Start Seeing the Same Stock Photos You’ve Purchased on Other Websites
There’s nothing worse than showing up to a party wearing the same dress as someone else. It is even worse when your website shows the same images as everyone else’s! If you notice the same stock images that you have purchased or are using on other websites, it is time to make a change.
If you continue to use the same stock photos, you could wind up using the same stock images as your competitors. This creates brand confusion and can prevent your brand from standing apart from the rest. Using crowdsourced photos you are able to quickly differentiate yourself from your competitors, creating a lasting impression.
Crowdsourced photos are better than stock photos because your crowdsourced photos are yours and yours alone. No one else will have the same images as you do, making your images unique and allowing you to showcase your product or brand. Secondly, those who see the images will respond far better to images that resonate with them than generic stock photos that don’t stand out. You create a connection with the viewer and create interest. Lastly, you begin to build trust with the person who sees the photos. They want to know that the images they see on your website or promotional materials are going to be the same images they see if they set foot in your hotel, eat at your restaurant or order a product from you online. Using custom photos helps to ensure that what they see is what they will get, which makes you more trustworthy to them.
The right images can speak to consumers and increase interest in your product, user engagement and your sales. But deciding when to switch from stock photos to crowdsourced photos can be a big decision. Your business is likely ready to make the switch when:
- You want your brand or product featured in your imagery
- You are struggling to find stock images that meet your requirements
- You start seeing the same stock photos you use on other websites
If you notice any of these signs, a company, like FOAP, can help to create a complete set of custom images that can be used to help develop your brand story. If you are ready to learn more about crowdsourced photography and how it can work for your business, download the eBook: 7 Reasons Why User Generated Content Works for You today.