Stock photography is a wildly contested subject.
When it comes to marketing your veterinary practice, when is it ok to use stock photos? When are unique, self-taken photos the best way to go? We’ve sifted through all of the information for you to help clear up some of the mystery.
You have two photography options when building your website and marketing materials: stock photography (pre-made photos that you didn’t take) and self-taken/custom photography.
Pros of Stock Photography
They’re easy to buy and can be made available immediately.
They’re relatively inexpensive. Note: Rights Managed images cost more than Royalty-Free ones, because RM are licensed for specific uses, and RF images have unlimited use. RM images tend to be higher quality.
They are (generally) well lit and well composed.
Photo courtesy of Center City and photographer Steve Belkowitz.
Cons of Stock Photography
They’re not unique. Other people can use the same images as you.
They tend to come off as generic, so people can usually tell when stock photos are being used.
You don’t own the rights to them.
Other Things to Consider
All stock photos are subject to strict copyright rules and permissions. Because of this, we recommend avoiding cutting and pasting images from Google. Even blogs and non-commercial sites must pay to use stock images—and stock images purchased for internal-use-only must still technically be purchased.
If someone else designs your website for you, they must follow all appropriate rules and permissions associated with using stock images.
Because of these strict rules and regulations, it’s absolutely essential that you only purchase stock photos from reputable sources. At Beyond Indigo, we source our stock images from istockphoto.com.
It’s possible to use free images from Creative Commons sources, but they’re generally overused, of lesser quality and don’t offer legal protection.
Learn to distinguish between personal use and commercial use when buying stock images. Personal uses have no commercial
tie-ins whatsoever, and include things like personal blogs, while Facebook pages is considered a commercial use.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Don’t choose cliché stock images! This is a common mistake, the most popular of which is the overused handshake photo.
Avoid buying images that don’t tell your story and don’t directly relate to your brand messaging.
Don’t use images that are off-brand, generic looking, outdated, fake or trite.
Use Photoshop sparingly and expertly. Don’t try to superimpose your product or brand into a stock image. People will know the difference.