Why do you NOT want to use stock photos?
Bryn: We want real people and images that are original. Stock photos tend to look unnatural. Using stock photography you have a big chance of your competitor using the same photo. Also, having the customizations that a photographer can provide is important. It is best to use real people in photos because the audience will find the product more trustworthy and building trust is what marketers are trying to do.
Patricia: Although we occasionally do use stock photography, we purposely do not for large campaigns. Not using stock photos allows us to always have a unique image or ad that will not be seen elsewhere.
Shawn: Park Cities Presbyterian Church is a community of believers seeking to transform Dallas and the world. We want to show photos of our people gathering in worship and serving each other and our community. Stock imagery might look good and be easier to acquire, but it doesn’t show the real picture of who we are and what we do as a church family.
Why did you want a custom image library? Why is this valuable to you?
Bryn: A picture can speak to each person and since the audience identifies with the photo it is important to try and recreate that audience as much as possible through the photography.
Patricia: When custom images are used we do not ever have to worry about a competitor or another ad showing the exact same image as ours. For a faith-based health care system, it would be embarrassing to use stock photography in an ad and then see the same image used for something like contraceptives, cigarettes, beer or personal hygiene products! In addition, in a given photo shoot 80-90% of the “models” used are employees and/or their families. We save money by not paying models for all of our images. Our custom images greatly aided our environmental branding efforts by allowing a custom but still a consistent ‘look’ between our nearly 100 practices in and around the metroplex.
Shawn: We use the photos that Paul Go Images took for us in our digital and print publications. This allows us to celebrate our people living on mission which is invaluable to us as a church.
What are the benefits to you for using custom images?
Bryn: I think the biggest benefit is finding real people, shooting the photography in your environment and knowing that no one else will have that photo to their use. You want the audience to remember you so it is important to create a memorable photo and not one that they might have seen elsewhere.
Patricia: We maintain control and rights to the photography we commission and have found the monetary investment in photo shoots outweighs the cost of purchasing stock photos and the limited rights to how long they can be used.
Shawn: Custom images allow us to capture special events and programs as they occur. There are some really good stock images out on the market, but they can be pricey and quite often used by multiple organizations. This can water down the effect and ultimately look “fake”.