Engaging visual content is important to any online enterprise whether you're creating a blog post, running an ad, or building your website. People respond to images. Fortunately, you don't need to be photographer to make use of this valuable marketing tool, as many talented professionals offer their work online in the form of stock photos. Here are some of the pros and cons of using stock photography.
If you need stock footage of something the good news is — you'll probably find it. This level of choice means that you will be able to find photos to bulk up your branding or create a cover for that ebook you've been working on. There's no shortage of amazing and intriguing photos covering diverse topics and styles from youthful and artistic, to corporate.
A great deal of stock photos are top notch. Many are created by professionals in studio settings so you have access to clear, well lit, high resolution photos. This enables you to adjust image sizes and create things such as blog banners, or responsive content that looks great on various devices.
One of the best reasons to use stock photos is because they are in the public domain. This enables you to use the photos in a commercial setting legally. It's always important to find out the rules of the photos you're using and figure out the creator or publisher's intended use. Many stock photos allow you free reign to download and use them to your advantage, even on things that are for sale with no attribution required.
As with anything, you'll find that price diversity runs the gamut. Premium packages at popular sites such as istockphoto.com can run up a near $4000 tab for access to 9,000 photos a year. Most people won't need even close to that and will find typical prices quite amenable. The best part is, there are so many wonderful, high-quality stock images available on sites such as pexels.com, that some individuals might never need to spend a dime.
Unfortunately, but rather obviously, a stock photo is not able to showcase products that you are selling. A quality image might help legitimize your website, and engage an audience, but when it comes to sales — stock photos aren't going to cut it.
It's great that beautiful professional photos are so easy for you to pluck off the internet at little to no cost. The problem is, everyone else thinks so too. You might spend hours creating an awesome ad only to find someone else has created one using the same image as you; this is not ideal for cultivating a unique brand. Be choosy with your photos and add text, filters or cropping to make them as unique as possible.
While many images do belong to public domain, it can be hard to discern what a photo's restrictions are. Many people are unaware of the tangled world of copyright law, and the correct usage or attribution of other people's content. The internet is rife with stolen photography and artwork. If you're not careful, you might unknowingly be stealing from a hardworking artist.
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