Photography is a touchy subject in the design world. The importance of unique photographs can’t be overstated, as they give businesses professional, on-brand visuals that can’t be beaten by generic alternatives. They’re also time-consuming and expensive — two terms that send shivers down business owners’ spines.

Our staff at Pixus Digital Printing is often asked about the pros and cons surrounding stock photographs versus unique photographs. Which is more effective for a given business? What are the specific benefits of using one over the other? Both are questions we intend to answer here. Let’s get started.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Stock Photography

Stock Photography Stock photography is easier to find, less expensive to use and often available in numerous resolutions and formats. On paper, there is very little reason not to use stock photography in place of custom photographs. And there lies the biggest issue.

Because everyone can use them, just about everyone does. The odds that the photograph you’re interested in hasn’t been used thousands of other times is slim to none. The worst thing a customer can think about your business is that it’s just another one of the rest. If a customer sees the same generic image of a woman smiling over a flower-filled vista on your in-store signage and recognize it as a scene that they have seen on a thousand other signs, they are likely to label it as just that.

In short, if you don’t take the time to customize your designs using stock photography, or to find the best photo, stock images are like the junk food of digital advertising—and just like potato chips, they can sometimes do more harm than they will good if you use (eat?) them too often.

Unique Imagery Yields Long-Term Results

Continuing with the nutrition analogy, it’s likely that you don’t need us to explain why professional options are more effective in much the same way you don’t need us to tell you that exercise is good for your health. They are unique, give your business a professional look and can be easily customized to include brand-specific aesthetics and visuals. Now let’s focus on the less surface-level benefits of using professional photographs.

Because stock photos use licenses, you can’t always plaster them with your brand’s logo and unique imagery. Similarly, those licenses can expire, which means you may lose the right to use them completely at some point. Professional photographs remove this headache entirely. If you hire a professional photographer, they typically relinquish the rights to the image the moment the transaction is finalized. Since you own the image, you can edit it with third-party software as much as you like, which means they have a greater half-life than you might expect.

There’s A Time And Place For Both

Repurposing unique content can be a much different prospect than flipping stock photos. No matter the origin, don’t hesitate to use stellar, quality photos more than a few times on your brand’s signs and other graphics.

Professional photography and digital printing pair well with one another. A well-made image can propel your graphics, cutting through the noise and catching the attention of prospective customers, but regardless of if you choose to use stock photography or hire a professional photographer, nothing makes your signs stand out more than high quality images.

Pixus Digital Printing can help you decide which is the best option for your next project. No matter what kind of images you want to use, be it stock or owned images, we can integrate your design seamlessly into a wide variety of printed materials. We service a myriad of businesses and would be thrilled to work with you. Contact us at your earliest convenience.