You’ve spent all morning primping and preening yourself in preparation for getting your portrait taken, and when you arrive at the studio, you’re looking the best you’ve ever looked. But then you realize that you’ve forgotten your wallet, and all you have is some change in your pocket. Luckily, the photographer happens to have a portrait of somebody who looks kind of like you that he’d be willing to let go of in exchange for the clinking coins in your sweaty palm. So, instead of going to get your wallet, you decide to settle on a picture of some other person that looks kind of (not really) like you in the hopes that it will convey your essence just the same…right?
Of course not. Nobody in their right mind would ever do that—except when it comes to advertising, in which case people do it all the time.
I’m talking about stock photography.
It’s not that I hate stock photography, and I know that there’s plenty of wonderful stock photos out there, but when it comes to effective branding—the only kind anybody should be going for—it just doesn’t work. Why? It’s simple: Effective branding tells the consumer—plainly, precisely, and powerfully—what makes your product or service unique and why they should invest in you. And the truth is that it’s impossible to convey your uniqueness using an image that was originally intended for something else.
I’ve been in this business a long time, and it still amazes me when a client will be willing to invest tons of money in advertising costs for printing and real estate but not budget for original photography. In my experience, this is a huge mistake because the real juice of good branding is in the originality of its creative concepts and the careful combination of custom-tailored words and images. When you choose to go with stock photography, you kind of water down the punch—it might still “work” in the sense that its conveying a general sense of what you’re about, but it’s never going to communicate exactly what you want to as well as original photography.
Skipping custom photography and going with stock may be cheaper at first, but in the long run, it’ll cost you big time. If return on investment is the primary concern for spending decisions on advertising, then custom, original photography should be a no-brainer. When all is said and done (and photographed), the extra dollars will be well worth the end result: the best possible presentation of your brand, one that stuns your audience with your uniqueness.
Besides, every photographer knows that the best shots come from the B-Roll, which only come from custom photo shoots. There’s some industry insider info for ya on the house…
—By Gary Moss, award winning photographer, educator, mentor and all-around funny guy. garymossphotography.com
Wishing you could compose your brand masterpiece but afraid of the cost for custom photography? Don’t be. Many first-time clients are surprised to learn that it fits within their budget and is well worth the expense. Feel free to contact us directly to discuss further. We’re looking forward to helping you compose your brand masterpiece!
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