Older couple sitting on pier at oceanfront

A Ban on Stock Photos

The image above is a stock photo.  I pulled it off Unsplash which is a great resource for royalty free images for use with blogs and newsletters.

A website is a very different matter.

Look at your website.  I’ll bet it has many photos like this.  Generic.  Vanilla.  Maybe even used on other websites.

Don’t do it.

A better way

I’d like the initial impression of my website to be insincere, make no emotional connection and convey the impression I don’t care.

I doubt anyone has ever said that, yet that’s exactly how stock photos come across.

Your website is all about emotions and feelings.  But those emotions and feelings should be yours, not those of a photographer you’ve never met.

Every advisor wants to differentiate.  That’s why you have a menu item on your website that states: Why Us? or How We’re Different.

Stock photos convey the opposite message.  They show you’re not different or unique.  That’s a message you want to avoid.

We have a website client whose hobby is playing drums with his band.  I can’t wait to use a great photo he sent me.  It will feature prominently on his website.  My guess is it will be the one image most people will remember and comment on.

The cost factor

Ideally, all the photos on your website should be customized for you and taken by a professional photographer.

We’ve found the typical cost ranges from $500-$1250. 

The right images can make or break your website.  That’s not a high cost compared to the benefit.

A photography hack

Here’s how we source photographers for our clients.  You can use these tips on your own.

We limit our search to “commercial” or “advertising” photographers.  They are engaged for high end product and food images by magazines and others with a big budget.  They typically have invested in the extensive gear and lighting required for that type of work.

We then refine our search and locate photographers with the largest studio in their geographic area.

We offer to bring our clients to their studio, which saves travel time and set-up costs.  We tell them we are flexible on dates and times, which makes it more efficient for them to slot us in.

Following this process, we are able to retain the best photographers for a fee comparable to those who don’t have their expertise and gear.

If professional photography is still not within your budget, take images yourself.

Anything is better than stock photos.

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