The second way to get photos for your marketing materials is to buy photos from a stock photo website.

Stock photos can be great because:

  • Stock photos are affordable. With prices ranging from $5 to $100 for most royalty-free stock photos, even the smallest of businesses can afford to use photographs on their marketing pieces.
  • Widely available. Before the Internet, stock photos were only available by calling stock photo houses, getting catalogs and talking to their representatives. This didn’t make it easy for small businesses to get access to stock photos without going through a design agency. But, now, stock photo houses have searchable websites that make it easy for small business owners to go find their own photos.
  • Lots of subjects/topics. You’d be amazed at the breadth of the content of the photos. People of all ages and races, in all sorts of places and situations, doing a whole variety of things. Animals, objects, locations… it’s all there.

Some of the cons against stock photography include:

  • You can’t control how the image is used by others. Your photo of a smiling young man could later be used as a testimonial fee for a new type of medication – implying that your spokes model now has – or recently recovered from – some sort of horrible disease!
  • Your competitors might use it. Along the same line as the above point, you can’t keep your competition from using the same image. They may use it out of ignorance – if they don’t do their research on your materials, then using it may be purely accidental. Or, they may use it to piggyback off of your reputation and your marketing efforts.
  • You can’t always find what you want. If you’re looking for something really specific – like a piece of technology or a very particular topic, then you might have some trouble finding an accurate image.
  • Searching takes a long time: Since there are so many sources out there, and each source has many, many images available, it can be a very time-consuming process to search for the ideal image. Be sure that you have enough time to address this in your project’s timeline.