If you’re a photographer, it might seem blasphemous to use stock photography instead of creating a piece of your own. However, there are some definite advantages when it comes to using stock photography photos.
- It’s immediate. If you have a project in mind, but don’t have the time to dedicate to its execution, a stock photography site is a perfect remedy to your problem. Stock sites have libraries of thousands and thousands of pictures that you can access in an instant. Once you have chosen and paid for your photo, you’re ready to download.
- It’s specific. If you have a vision for how you want something to look, a Google image results page isn’t going to provide the specificity or the range of photos that a stock photography site can. On most sites, you can search in a toolbar for exactly what you’re looking for, by keyword or even by genre. By narrowing down your search, you are more likely to find the detailed picture you’re on the hunt for.
- It’s inexpensive. Photography is an expensive profession, and hobby, with equipment costing hundreds and thousands of dollars – plus the cost of a photo shoot. Stock photos are available now and if not for free, than for incredibly low prices. Some sites even offer memberships where you can see extra benefits, like a free “photo of the week.” Part of stock photos being so inexpensive is that many sites offer pictures royalty free. That means you purchase the photo for one price, and can use it multiple times afterward.
- It’s easily accessible. All you need to access thousands of ready-to-go photos is an Internet connection from one of the many internet service providers in your hometown. Once you’re online, you’re only a few clicks away from browsing and choosing photos.
Aren’t stock photos the enemy of professional photographers?
Photographers, photojournalists and journalists in general have had to tell with the incredible decline of print publications and deal with the fallout as professionals. In a profession where print media is nowhere near as abundant and fruitful as it used to be, photographers have had to be resourceful.
Stock photography to some photographers is seen as yet another obstacle. Where we have just pointed out some of the advantages of photographers using stock photography, in some instances, it is actually decreasing work for photographers even more. So why else do photographers continue to use stock photos?
Besides the appealing financial gain, stock photos are also great for small projects (like brochures), and when you’re working for a client on a budget. If the budget you’re working with can’t accommodate you setting up a photo shoot, carefully select stock photos to come in under budget.
The growth of stock photos brings up another thing photographers should be careful about when choosing stock photos – don’t choose a photo you’ve seen before.
Some stock photos get so popular that chances are you’ve seen them on multiple sites. No matter the project you’re using the photo for, if the photo is recognizable, it could take away from your credibility. Avoid photos that are:
- Overly posed
- Too generic
Most stock sites have identifiers accompanying the pictures, letting you know if the photo is a best seller, exclusive to the site etc.
Photographers who have the budget could even build up a stock photo library of their own, which could come in handy when you are having trouble finding a stock photo that fits your requirements.
Whether you have your own stock library at your disposal or choose a more mainstream stock photography option, stock photos are becoming a greater option for photographers.
Image Credit: Real Stock Photos