Blog Feature

5 Amazing Alternatives to Stock Photos

Adrian Dubler

Adrian Dubler January 19th, 2018 Photography

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Images are important to any marketing plan for a business or a product. If you are looking for images to help create brand imagery or to use on your marketing materials, you may be thinking about turning to stock images. Stock images are easy to find and inexpensive. But unfortunately, they carry many problems with them for businesses.

When you use stock images, you may only be able to find generic pictures, not pictures or images that really speak to who your business is or what your product or service has to offer. You may have limited options when you use stock images. And last, other businesses and competitors may even be using the same stock images as you, creating brand confusion. Because of this, it is extremely important to find a way to create your own unique images for your business or product. Here are five of the amazing alternatives to stock photos.

Using a Designer to Illustrate Custom Images

One of the alternatives to stock photography is to hire a designer to create custom images. A designer can create custom illustrations, drawings, or infographics that are specific to your organization and tell the story associated with your company and brand.

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If you are looking to hire a designer to illustrate your custom images, there are a few ways you can go about doing this. You can hire an in-house designer to create the images you need. If you select a local, in-house designer, you can sit down with the designer and go over what sorts of images you like and talk about your company so they can get a feel for what sort of images you are after. Another option is to hire a freelancer to create the images you need. There are many freelance websites out there, such as Upwork, that allow you to easily hire a freelancer. If money is tight, you may be able to hire a student illustrator to assist you. They may be able to offer you a discount if they can use the work in their portfolio. The downside to this is they are less experienced, which means the work may take longer or may not be as targeted to your vision.


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Try Using Videos

A great photo can tell a story. But you know what else can tell a story quickly and easily? A video. While videos are not ideal for all of your marketing needs, if you are looking for images to place on your website, in email marketing campaigns, or on social media sites, consider using videos.

Videos are visually stimulating, and a great video can engage your audience and capture their attention. This allows you to quickly and easily tell them what they should know about your brand, while also showing them images of your product, store, or business.

The other advantage to videos is that when they are placed on your website, they help keep individuals on your page longer. Search engines keep track of how long people stay on your website. Having a higher rate of people that stay longer can help to increase your website's position with search engines, which can help to draw in more customers.

Taking Photos In-House

When you are looking for alternatives to stock photos, one of the options you may want to consider is taking photos in-house. You can hire a photographer or a skilled staff member to do this.

When you take photos in-house, such as in your office, your retail store, or your restaurant, you are giving your photos a personal feel and a realistic feel. There is some authenticity that comes along with photos that are taken directly where you are located, rather than in an off-site setting, such as a photo studio. The other advantage to taking photos in-house is that it can be affordable. You aren't paying for a photo studio or a special location to shoot. And if you use a staff member who already owns a good camera, rather than hiring a photographer, you can save even more.

The downside to taking photos in-house is that you may not get brand storytelling images. This means, you may get pictures that show what you have to offer and what your business is, but there is typically very little emotional connection between the viewer and the images you present to them. This can make it harder to build a visual brand identity and connect with your audience.

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Finding Images Without Copyrighting

If you need images fast and don't have time to take your own, finding images without copyrighting may be one of the best options for you. Websites such as Flickr allow you to use the images that you find as long as you give credit to the author. This is referred to as an attribution license.

The upside to this is that you can get images fast, just like you can with stock photos. And you may even have more images to select from than you would with stock photos. Lastly, the images may even be higher-quality than stock photos. The downside to this is that it can be time-consuming to search for the images that really speak to your business, other businesses may also use the images, and lastly, the user can pull their image or the license, meaning you can't use it on any further marketing campaigns in the future. This makes it hard to build up a visual brand identity, as the images can go away at any time.

Utilizing Custom Crowdsourced Photography to Get the Images You Need

The last alternative to stock photographs is to utilizing custom crowdsourced photos to get the images you need. Companies like FOAP help you to get these photos with very little hassle and time.

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When you use a company like FOAP, they have access to millions of photographers around the world, all of whom are waiting to find the perfect images for your campaign. You fill out a small brief on their website letting them know who your company is, what values your company has, and what message you want to convey with these images. The briefing is then passed along to the photographers who get to work taking pictures for you.

The users then upload their images, and FOAP goes through the images, selecting the ones that they feel best speak to who your business is and what you want to see. They then present you with the photos, allowing you to pick out the series of images that align themselves with what you were envisioning.

This allows you to quickly and easily get access to custom images that help to convey your brand message. You then have images to use on your website, social media profiles, and in your other marketing efforts. And best of all, these images are created just for you, so they are personalized and unique. This is one of the best ways to successfully and easily build your visual brand identity consistently across multiple platforms.

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If you need images for your business, you may be thinking about turning to stock photography. But there are many downsides to using stock images. Fortunately, there are five amazing alternatives to stock photography. These include:

  • Using a designer to illustrate custom images
  • Using videos
  • Taking photos in-house
  • Finding images without copywriting
  • Utilizing custom crowdsourced images

Utilizing custom crowdsourced images is one of the best options available to you. You get custom images that represent your brand company, you engage with your customers or clients, and you are able to earn and keep their trust through the use of these images. To learn more about custom crowdsourced images and how they contribute to a successful visual brand identity, be sure to download our Infographic: "The Who, What and How of Creating a Visual Brand Identity."

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