We are believers in the old adage that, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” However, as digital marketers, we would like to revise the saying to pinpoint the idea that a custom photography versus a stock photo is worth so much more than a thousand words. This is especially true when it comes to your website and showing your viewers who you are as an organization and a brand.
Hands down, a website is the single most effective and valuable marketing tool any business has to engage with their customers and showcase their products, services, or brand. It makes sense then, that a site should be filled with useful content and custom images showcasing what sets that company apart from the rest of the field.
Custom photography, with images of your team, products, events, and daily activities should be front and center on your website. Custom images always look more professional, natural, and have a cohesive look than typical stock photos. Today’s blog will be looking specifically at the reasons why custom photographs are the preferred choice for websites.
Before we look at the logic behind why your site should be using custom photographs over stock photos, we thought we would take a step back and look at what the science tells us about how the brain prefers images to long blocks of text.
We all know that viewers make up their minds about a website within mere seconds of landing on the home page. CXL online, a skill-building platform for marketers, states that, “It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave.” And since the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, it’s pivotal that your site uses images that capture the viewer’s attention.
According to studies uncovered by Psychologist Jerome Bruner, website viewers only remember 10% of things they hear, 20% of what they have read, and around 80% of things they see or do. That means that your site should have images that engage and connect with your viewers so they will remember your business above all others.
Additionally, an eye-tracking study from Nielsen Norman Groups showed that using detailed photos (including custom photos) is more attractive than including a more generic, stock image.
Now that we understand the brain and how it processes images a bit better, let’s take a look at the reasons why custom photography will help your business far better than typical stock photos.
Sure, free stock photos are cost effective, but do they really show off who you are as a business?
Even if your business pays for extravagant stock photos from a reputable site, are they really giving your viewers a true look at what you do and who the people are that are leading the company?
A professional photographer will learn about your business, office culture, and, ultimately, your brand. They will know how to play up your strengths and capture what you represent in the images. Once the professional shots are complete, your company will have an arsenal of images to use not only on your website, but to share on social media, on banners, videos, packaging, and brochures for years to come.
Some stock photos used sparingly may be necessary on your site as you revamp pages or add expanded content. However, most stock photos fall flat in the eyes of viewers.
Choosing stock photos for your site and social media platforms unfortunately puts your business at risk for posting the exact same image as a competitor. In fact, viewers have become savvy at recognizing overused stock photos that may make your site look uninspired or unoriginal.
Photographs taken for your “About Us” or “Team” pages should look professional and cohesive. Having each employee submit their own headshot may run the risk of having photos that are subpar and look vastly different when placed side-by-side on your site.
A professional photographer can provide a cohesive look on all pages of your site by using similar lighting, backgrounds, or themes.
Our Lead Project Manager and Photographer, Lauren Termini weighs in on the professional look of custom photographs versus stock photos. “Capturing the culture and personality of the company through photography is incredibly important because it gives the site viewer, or potential client, a realistic feel for who a company really is. Stock imagery is typically stale, and visually forced, which ultimately makes it feel unnatural. This can be misleading once you really begin attracting clients, and you want to stay true to your brand to earn and maintain trust.”
Beyond keeping your look cohesive or showing off your uniqueness, professional photos have a way of telling your organization’s story, and who you are as a business from your office culture to the friendly, welcoming people that you want others to know you as.
Ultimately, choosing custom photos allows a professional photographer to showcase who you are and tell the story of your business in images that are worth much more than a thousand words.