Stock images or memorable images?

Posted: August 17th, 2017 by Alison

I spend many an hour searching and browsing image sites, it’s one area of my job that I do not enjoy as much. Browsing image after image online is not that creative and you always wonder if the next page could have the perfect image. Unfortunately bespoke imagery can come at a price and so stock image sites exist to bridge the gap.

Bespoke imagery

For small businesses investing in your own imagery is expensive, especially when you have very limited funds.

If possible, I would always advise clients to create their own images. The images are completely bespoke and are all yours. One of the many down sides of stock photography is that your competitor could end up with the same shot as you on their website, how do you stand apart, how do you look better than them? Stock imagery can reduce trust so you have to ask if that is a price you are willing to pay.

If you have a particular product or service getting your own images will always help sell your bespoke service. Many photographers offer packages to help minimise the one-off cost of paying for a day or half-day shoot.

Candid imagery

Luckily for many small businesses, candid, ‘real’ images are a popular trend at the moment. Everyone has a camera these days and you can take some great shots on your phone that are large enough resolution to use online and in print.

If you are taking your own images, think about lighting. Inside lights have a yellow hue and so all your images will look yellow. Outside, natural light is the best light. If you take any images inside, what is in the background? You don’t want the bin or your washing ending up in the shot! Try for a clean, simple background.

Unusual angles, from above etc. can help to add interest and perspective to something quite plain and ordinary. Also think about the focus of your image. You don’t want to over clutter the shot.

Try and tell a story, capture moments of real life rather than being too polished and posed. Big brands are investing in ‘real’ images and ‘real’ people to help engage customers. They are creating well composed but real-life looking images that contribute to the visual story of their business that the target audience is attracted to.


Don’t forget about illustrations. Companies like Slack and Dropbox have created a strong brand image by investing in some great, original illustrations. Commissioning an illustrator can be a little cheaper than a photographer depending on what you are looking for and how complex the image is.

There are so many different style of illustrators out there, it would be quite straight forward to find a style that would work with your business and talk to your target market.


Infographics can help illustrate something that could be quite boring or complex and make it easier to read and digest. If you search infographics on Pinterest you will see that you can make almost anything in to an infographic! The graphics can then be use in your social media, on your website and on any printed communications where relevant.

Many of us run businesses in a crowded market, a strong visual brand is one of the main drivers of business success. Strong and relevant images help businesses to stand out and be more memorable.

Stock images or memorable images?