You don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression. That’s one of my favorite mantras around headshot photography. The idea extends beyond headshots to any visuals used in your business. Enter my new offering: Custom Stock Photography. Think of it as headshots for your business. We’ll cover your products, show your services, and highlight your unique space or storefront. Check out the new services page here.
Headshots are still the core of my business, so this offering will be very limited at first. The focus will be to serve small businesses around Troy and Rochester. If time permits, I’ll venture around the Detroit metro area.
Wondering if Custom Stock is right for your business? I’ve put together a few basics on stock photography to give you a better sense of the mission. Even in you’re not around Detroit, you’ll be in good shape to find a professional photographer in your area.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography has become quite ubiquitous in the last few years. Simply log on to one of the countless sites that offer these photos and search for what you want. Some sites even allow you to search color themes, moods, etc. If you can think it, there’s a stock site that will serve it.
What purpose does stock photography serve?
Stock photography is handy for some advertising functions. If you write a frequent blog on more intangible topics, it makes sense. Or maybe the cost of producing relevant images for your work is well beyond your budget. Think exotic places or extreme sports.
The case for having your own stock images
If you’re a local business with a unique story and message, no stock catalog in all the interwebs will have images of you, your staff, your office or your handmade artisan products.
Enter Custom Stock photography
Say you’re a local chiropractor. You don’t have handmade products, but you do have real patients and a genuine staff. I bet none of them have run over that same field in perfect light that you see in many of your competitors’ images. The people in these photos have nothing to do with your business. So why imply they do in your marketing materials?
To best connect with local clients and customers, show them what it’s like in your office or storefront. A prospective client should be able to get to know you via your website, blog and social outlets. By the time they walk in the door, they’ll be ready to buy.
In just a couple hours, a skilled photographer can capture a number of images for your business. Having a folder of 20 images on standby is super handy. You never know when a great ad opportunity will come up. Have you ever represented your business at a community or industry expo? A few great images printed large is a great tool to draw in the traffic, and you’ll instantly be able to tell your business story from the action (or products) in the photos.
Where to use your custom stock images
Of course, in addition to those expos, you’ll want to use your images on social media. Combined with some headshots, they’re a great way to introduce the staff. String these out over weeks and you’ve got a good chunk of social content ready to go.
Don’t forget about your Google Business Listing. Google is begging you for great images of your business. Keeping the Google machine happy certainly can’t hurt your rankings on search.
Why hire a pro photographer when all your front desk staff have phones?
First, you pay your front desk or reception staff to run the business, not document it. A customer in the door deserves the full attention of any staff. “Wait, while I snap this photo” is not the answer. The customer in the door, credit card in hand is more valuable to most businesses compared to a few hundred Instagram followers.
Second, a professional photographer will be able to light your office and products in a more consistent fashion. Don’t cheapen your products and services with DIY marketing.
Third, you’ll be able to confidently print the images from a professional camera (and professional technique) for any ad, or even a billboard. While pretty good online, smartphone images can quickly show their flaws when printed — especially under tricky lighting. When the printer calls to say the smartphone image won’t work, you won’t have much time to send in another option. Plan ahead.