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Organic vs. Stock: Who Does It Better?

As visual marketing grows in popularity and necessity, the need for photography and other visual elements may increase for your brand. Creating beautiful content can be tricky and time consuming. This can tempt you to use stock photography because it’s cheap and convenient. However, will stock photography lead to the sales and leads you’re hoping for?

We believe that stock photos are a great option when you need quick, high resolution photos and don’t have any on hand. But there’s definitely a balance when using stock photos versus organic photos that you take yourself, or have someone take for you.

While stock photos are high in quality, they aren’t necessarily unique to your company’s brand or identity. When the photos were shot, they were not taken with your product, service, or customers in mind. Your audience will appreciate the efforts you put forth to be as authentic as possible. Using organic photography humanizes your brand and can make your audience have a more personal connection with you.


However, there are ways to combat posting a stale stock photo. Personalizing it to your brand with text, crops, or even a filter can highly benefit the outcome of your post. This can make all of your content, stock and organic, run together cohesively. And while we’re on the subject, be sure to double check that the photo you select doesn’t have any misleading or “off-brand” components.

Furthermore, organic photography builds credibility and produces realistic expectations for your customers for your product or service. Imagine: you pull a photo of sushi from a stock photography website, post it to your site, and a customer comes in expecting that dish. They will be disappointed and maybe even angry that you set unrealistic expectations for them. Don’t fall trap to the convenience of stock photography to be met with the consequence of a loss in credibility.

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On the flipside, stock photography is a great resource when you need quick, nice photos for your presentations, blogs, or email marketing tactics. There are great stock photo options, especially if you do a little digging around on stock photography websites. Searching for things that you might not immediately think of can lead to a stock photography gold mine.

Your website is not a place to lack on quality. We all know the benefits of having good website design, and following it up with quality, unique images will be the icing on the cake. We recommend hiring a professional photographer or company to take these photos; they should represent your brand, culture, and employees.

So what’s the solution to obtaining high quality, remaining authentic, and reaching your social media marketing goals?

  1. Finding a healthy balance between stock photos and organic photos
  2. Hiring a professional photographer or company that understands your marketing goals. We recommend this company ;)  
  3. Reserving the use of stock photos for filler images in presentations, blogs, social media stories, and email marketing

Aubrey Crawford

Community Coordinator created to create and inspired by the people around her. She's moved around a bit but is now stationed in Birmingham with the In team.

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