Imagine cutting a photo of a model out of a magazine. He or she looks good in front of the camera, with a dazzling smile. The angle is right, the lighting is perfect, the figure is poised in a way that draws you in.
You snip it out carefully and then you turn to your family’s scrap book.
It’s full of off-the-cuff snaps from holidays, weddings and random daily happenings. You’ve managed to chop quite a few people in half, but it doesn’t matter because it’s your collection. Every photo, however skewed, means something because it’s special to you and your family.
Anyway, you take that picture of the model and place it on the next available page of your album.
A stranger in your midst.
Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? The photo of the model is good in its own way, but it’s out of kilter with the rest of your pictures. It doesn’t really belong.
That’s how I view stock photos which feature people in a work setting – in an office, at a podium or presentation.
Yes, they are high quality. Yes, they get the point across. But they don’t reflect the personality of an individual business.
And why would they?
Stock photos are there to help out as many individuals and companies as possible. In this sense, they’re designed to be generic.
They are useful, but are they really what your company needs? Or are they depriving you of a business development opportunity?
Do stock images serve you well?
If one of the selling points of your business is the professionalism of your team and the way they care about their service, products or clients, you will want to reflect that on your website and social media.
You will want photos that show that your colleagues are approachable and committed. Images that reflect the real personality of your company, just as your logo or the words on your website do.
In this virtual world, where visuals are so important, photos are a powerful way to reinforce your brand and ethos.
Scaling back on the stock.
This is why I commissioned Vervate to create what they describe as a bespoke visual portfolio for my website and social media. Vervate is an agency of photojournalists who quickly capture the essence of whatever’s happening around them. And I mean fast. Their Creative Director is Susi Doherty, and she is brilliant at thinking visually on your behalf.
So if you’re stumped over how an article might translate as an image, she can help.
Teaming up with Vervate means I saved myself hours of frustrating searching and now have great photos for 6 months’ worth of blog posts, tweets and LinkedIn updates. This post takes you through how it worked for me – and why I shall be returning for more. (Not that I am greedy or anything, but once you have started your business image library, you’ll want to keep topping it up – just like your family album.)
Images by Vervate www.vervate.com.