What the hell is custom business photography and how will it refresh my website?
I made up the name ‘custom business photography’. Cos I didn’t really know what to call it. Do you like it? You could also call it ‘corporate lifestyle photography, ‘bespoke business photography’, ‘custom stock photography’ or ‘business branding photography’.
It’s those photos on your website that give potential clients a glimpse into your biz, your culture, your vibe. And done right, it looks a lot like this:
And what does generic stock photography look like? It looks a lot like this:
I bought a fake Rolex in Bali when I was younger. I loved it for a while. I strutted the streets of Bali feeling like a Prince.
When I got home people kept commenting on my watch. Kinda mean comments. Like “Hey Myles nice watch, wink wink”. They knew it was fake. Probably because I was a 17 year old boy who had just got back from Bali and I didn’t have a trust fund. Also they laughed at me. I got the ick. I started to feel fake.
When you use generic stock photography for your business, you’re being a little fake.
I mean I get it, producing original photographic content for your business is expensive and hard.
Or is it?
What if I told you it’s possible to create your own custom business photography for almost the same price or even less than the cost of stock photography?
I’m super passionate about branding. I’ve been an Apple fanboy for a long time and love how they created an almost cult like vibe around their business and products. Maybe less so now, but a new Apple product and advertisement was once a pop culture moment.
When I started my business Photoform* I knew I wanted to create not just a business but a brand. Why?
If you build a strong brand, you can leverage it to expand into other areas other than your initial offering. You’ll foster strong loyalty and clients will become fans and evangelists for your business. You’ll also create instant visual recognition for your business at all touch points – website, socials and marketing materials.
If you want to build a brand, stay away from generic looking stock photography. Or at least choose the stock photography you use very carefully. Part of branding is having a unique voice and it’s difficult to stand out if you use the same images for your business as everyone else.
Not all stock photography is equal. Some are better than others. If you need some colourful fill in your website, stock photography has its place. Social Squares have some great images with a feminine, lifestyle feel.
What I’m talking about is the generic looking business stock photography images I see on company websites on the regular. Generic looking business people in meetings, shaking hands etc.
One of the major downfalls of stock photography is it’s fake. Fake subjects, fake people fake locations. When you’re building a brand you want to create trust with potential clients at every touch point. Your website, your socials and your marketing materials should scream this business or person is trustworthy, is competent and has a unique perspective.
If someone visits your website and it’s filled with generic photos pulled from stock images, they won’t get a true feel for who you are as a business or brand and what you stand for.
Let’s say you work in highly specialised niche – let’s use Military psychiatry in Australia as an example. You search high and low but the only Australian military images you can find are generic images of soldiers running through fields. Then you find some images that could be used for Military psychiatry but they are of US soldiers.
‘One size fits all’ stock images try and speak to everyone and ultimately please no one. Just like when I try and buy ‘one size fits all’ socks with my size 14 feet. They never fit.
Stock photography might seem like good value at first but it’s not not necessarily that cheap.
Not only is the image boring and generic it’s expensive. $650 for one image! Yes Getty Images are at the high end of the pricing range but this gives you an idea how much stock photography can end up costing.
I photographed an hour of custom business photography for a client recently and they ended up with over 100 images. And it cost my client not much more than this 1 photo from Getty Images.
Photoform* will create bespoke business photography for you, starting at $350 an hour. Head over to our website to see other ways we can help your business stand out. Photoform*.
So you’ve decided to 86 the stock photography. What’s the benefit of custom business photography then?
Custom business photography uses your people and can even be photographed in your office. Does that mean your people need to be models? No! No one expects to see professional actors or models when they go to your website.
What they do want to see is an accurate representation of what it will be like to work with you and what you stand for.
Everything I do as a business online is about building trust with potential clients. My website design is fun and professional. The copy sells without being sleazy. The photography showcases my work and is fresh and dynamic.
I use client testimonials, Google reviews and brands I’ve worked with to build trust from the moment a new visitor comes to my site.
See for yourself: Photoform*
And every photo on my website is photographed by me, no stock photography.
I did some work for JB Hi-Fi recently for their Business and Education divisions. They needed images that spoke to their market: large volume buyers of tech – tablets, laptops etc. Stock photography would have been too generic, even too American looking.
We used their own staff and in 2 hours we created about 100 different images that they could use in catalogues, their website, socials and reports. All for a reasonable cost.
“I have too much content,” said no biz owner, ever. The need for fresh content is relentless if you have a social media or internet presence. Just imagine how much mileage you could get out of 100 high quality original photos of your business in action?
Real talk? I’m obsessed about this category of photography in my business. Why? Because I know it is the photography gift that keeps on giving. Clients have told me they use the images we make over and over. A client at ADC Legal said to me, “I use those photos we made just about every week – in blog posts, reports, LinkedIn posts, the website and socials”.
You’ve decided to take the plunge and create your own custom business photography. Go you! You’re already on your way to building a brand. Now if only you had some tips to help. Babe, you know I’ve always got your. back:
If you’re in Melbourne click click on the image below and check out our cosy home on the web. We would love to have a chat with you how custom business photography can elevate your business and website.
All images and text except where indicated are the copyright of Myles Formby of Photoform*, 2023.