Stock Photos: Pick your poison.
A custom photo shoot doesn't come cheap. Although it is the best approach for your new project, there are great amounts of time and cost involved to get it done right. Because not everyone out there has an unlimited budget, especially in our current situation, stock photos may appear to be your only option. Obviously stock photos hold potential to cheapen your company's public image, and hurt your marketing efforts, so what do you do if a photo shoot is simply not an option?
To lessen the negative potential backlash (sounds brutal!) I have drawn up a few tips before choosing that "perfect" stock photo.
- Choose the Un-popular: On your hunt make sure the photo you pick isn't popular. Some sites will even tell you how many times the photo has been purchased. Remember, the entire photo doesn't have to be great, you can always crop stuff out later.
- Change It: When picking a stock photo, change it! Mess with the color or crop elements out of it to make it look different than the original. This lessens the chance of people noticing your photo elsewhere.
- Pay a little more: Just because you can get a stock photo cheaper than a photo shoot doesn't mean you should get the cheapest photo you can find. Go to a premium stock photo site and pay a premium price. This lessons the chance of the photo being used frequently.
- Select the Wrong Photo: Search for keywords unrelated or loosely related to the photo you are looking for. For a hospital project, do a search for dentists. Day-care, search schools; painters search window washers Lawn Service search golf courses. This seems odd, but if you find the right photo it will lessen the chance of another company or competitor using the same photo. (Keep in mind you can use photoshop to make the photo more relevant)
- Change your focus: Examine the ENTIRE photo. Cropping out the main focus and choosing a different part of the photo will lessen the chance of anyone noticing your photo elsewhere.
What can you do to ensure your companies next project is more unique? Have you been burned for using the wrong stock photo? Can you recall some examples of stock photos that appeared in multiple spots for different companies?