When should you be using cheap images? Should you be using them at all? Personally, I’m an advocate for them – in the right situation. There’re situations that call for stock images and situations that the call for professional photography. Now, I’m not a photographer, so there’s no need to tell you about the weddings I haven’t photographed. However, as a marketer, here’re a few areas where you should not be using cheap images.
1. A Client’s Product
You should never be using a cheap image in place of a client’s product. A client’s product does not have to mean something tangible. A client’s product could be a service. If your client is a carpet cleaner, you may be tempted to use a stock photo of a clean room with a clean carpet. However, as a marketer you should know better. By hiring a professional photographer who can get the lighting and clarity just right, you’re giving your clients an image where they can say “Hey, I did that.”
2. Event Marketing
Sooner or later you’re going to get a client that will ask for your help in promoting an event. This is a 50/50 area. When showcasing things like the venue or past events (assuming that it’s a periodic event), always use photos that were taken professionally. If you’re merely coming up with some background image to let people know that it is a black-tie event, then the use of a stock photo may be welcomed. Stock photos do have the ability to set the mood – if you do it right.
3. Brand-Related Images
At any time when a client’s public image is on the line, professional photography is always recommended. At the very least, if stock photography must be used, allow a graphic designer to weigh in on the decision. Even if it’s unintentional, marketers have still made the mistake of portraying their clients in a negative light. Although the client often has the final say, remember this one word of wisdom – the client hired you for a reason. If you feel that you need to override your client’s wishes for their own sake, do so – but tread carefully. Most clients have no problem with you overturning their decisions so long as you make them feel valued as clients.
Remember one thing – cheap images from the list here don’t always equate to cheap quality. If you can help it, never use images of cheap quality. Stock photography – if done correctly – can be seen as professional. However, this takes a skill that takes time and effort to learn. As time goes on, you’ll find that your own value goes up because you do things right.