What is the value of using professionally created images in an age where everyone can create photos with their smartphone? Like many questions the answer is, “it depends!”
That dependency is the photo buyers ROI and how much they care about their customers.
Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve with the images. Is it to generate sale leads, build brand awareness, change opinion? Your goal should be measurable and indicate how much you want to spend. Companies typically spend at least 10% of their total revenue on marketing. You can invest anything from a few hundred dollars with a professional photographer to tens of thousands of dollars. A multinational health insurer building an image library has a photography budget 100 times that of an individual looking for a LinkedIn headshot. Knowing your budget will help you and the photographer choose the best options for your images.
The common goal is to make viewers stop and notice what it is you have to offer. If the images your customers see are the same as your rivals you may as well be advertising your competitor’s business. Jakob Nielsen’s study (pictured above) on using stock images revealed customers “ignore stock photos of ‘generic people’ ” whereas images of real people capture their attention. And the same was found for product photos.
A bad photo that poorly communicates your business’s message can be worse than having no images at all. Professional photographers are visual communicators. They are trained and experienced in knowing how to construct images that tell your story as clearly as possible for your audience. Last year the National Press Photographers Association research on “what makes a photograph memorable, shareable and worth publishing” found the most memorable pictures were those taken by professionals.
Investing any professional service has a cost. That cost can be quantified and justified within your budget. Professional photography is an investment just like any service: accounting, advertising, insurance or telecommunications. Research shows your customers see the difference, can you?