Accurate Creative
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Accurate Creative

Original versus stock photography and video

Megan Landry, photographed by Nicole Rochford

By: Doug Jackson, RGD

Your Brand Should Reflect Your Uniqueness

As the marketing landscape gets more crowded, it’s never been more important for your brand to stand out. Although web tools are a great way to market your value, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ competing for your audience’s attention. Is your marketing toolkit unique to you?

From a marketing standpoint, nothing better‐protects and promotes your brand than original photography and video. Prospects respond better to authenticity because even the highest quality stock photos will be a substitute representation of your culture, people, products or services.

When it comes to marketing, the use of original photography can make a significant impact. However, the debate continues over the value of stock versus original imagery. There’s no denying stock’s legitimate place in marketing. It’s readily available, often inexpensive, and there are millions to choose from. However, original photography is just that — original, to you. It can be, but not always, more expensive (I’ll explain later) but the value you gain from its uniqueness is undeniable.

Full disclosure, Accurate regularly uses stock images. As I stated, they have established their legitimacy. In some cases, it’s just not feasible to shoot original content due to location or seasonal challenges. More and more, however, Accurate is encouraging the use of original photography and video. Audiences are savvy and they recognize stock when they see it. From a marketing standpoint, nothing better‐protects and promotes your brand than original photography and video. Prospects respond better to authenticity because even the highest quality stock photos will be a substitute representation of your culture, people, products or services.

When a project calls for original imagery, we turn to our in‐house talent pool, occasionally partnering with third-party producers and drone operators. Our combined experience with our creative vision offers our clients immeasurable value.

Megan Landry, photographed by Nicole Rochford

Is stock more cost-effective than original content?

This is a common assumption. From a dollar value, the answer is often yes. The time and cost associated to search for an image or two are not great. That said, if we have to search through multiple stock libraries for many, or very specific images, the time and expense can add up. Also, that perfect stock image may have hefty licensing fees associated with it or it may lack all the legal releases necessary for your use. And, despite the millions of images out there or how exhaustive the search, it always amazes me how commonly used some images are. This is the Achilles Heel of stock — the best images are popular. These are all things to consider when comparing the cost of sending a photographer to your location for the day to create your own unique, original library of images.

Want your brand to stand out as unique?

House services

More and more our clients are requesting original photography and video. Accurate responded by investing in staff resources and studio equipment of our own, bringing great value to our clients. In one case, we travelled to four international bridges throughout Ontario to shoot photography and drone videography for The Federal Bridge Corporation while building their new media library.

Blue Water Bridge (Sarnia, Ontario) photographed by Doug Jackson

In another case, we shot candid on-site photography, 40+ product shots and staff headshots, as well as produced a video commercial, a pop-up banner and a website to feature it all for ROSE Integration. It is an organizational advantage for businesses to have our large team manage and execute a large project with so many cohesive pieces. Consistency is key!

On-site photography, product shots and headshots for ROSE Integration, photographed by Di Donaldson

The choice between stock and original content ultimately comes down to weighing your investment. Stock may or may not be cheaper, but will not give you the exclusivity that comes with unique imagery. Investing in original photos or video offers greater protection for your brand and its legitimacy can lead to better responses and returns on your marketing efforts.

Update: August 15, 2019.

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One goal. Always deliver quality. See our work and learn how Accurate will help you meet your goals.

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Strategic, Creative, Digital & Design Agency

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