How to Acquire Business Photography for Professional Results

A few of the types of photography offered by William Morton Visuals

In our previous post we discussed the value of photography. Today we will talk about about acquiring photography for your business.

If you need quality images for your business’ use, you can follow one of three avenues:

  1. Take your own snapshot – Do It Yourself
  2. Use a stock photo
  3. Hire a professional photographer to create custom images (which only you will have)

The type of imagery needed and your budget can help determine which is the best course of action, of course, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind as you make decisions for your business.

Snapshots vs Professional Photography

Studio portrait of photographer William Morton
William Morton IT Manager and Staff Photographer for Camera Ready Cosmetics

Hopefully everyone can see a clear difference between the images at either side here. The first image looks more like a dreaded driver’s license photo, or the “Employee of the Month” you sometimes see posted in a grocery store or other retail business. The second image is clearly a studio portrait showing a person “in their environment,” and illustrates what they do.

professional event photography by William Morton Visuals
photography from the audience

These examples show the view an audience member may get at an event versus what a professional photographer can capture. Sometimes acquiring photography – particularly good images – requires the equipment that a professional photographer brings.


Stock Photography

Many businesses consider stock images to be an affordable option for acquiring photography, as stock photo prices have dropped significantly over the last few years. And if you want a generic image of a telephone or a computer, or a random customer service operator, then stock photography may work. However you won’t likely find images of your employees, and it’s even less likely you’ll find images of your management team. Likewise with any public relations events – stock images won’t be of your event, or your people.

Stock photography is also pretty recognizable. It usually features ridiculously good looking models in perfectly pressed clothing, always in solid (and usually bright) colors. For this reason it’s less believable. And recent studies have shown that customers are 1/3 more likely to purchase based on an ad showing a real person rather than a stock model.

Stock photography is, by definition, stock – meaning anyone and everyone has access to use the same images. This can cause confusion, and embarrassment, when the same model shows up in ads for your competition. Don’t think it can happen? Then check out this article on Stock Photography from the American Society of Media Photographers. It’s not just the small businesses – even giants like Dell and Gateway can use the same model in the same outfit and the same setting (photos from the same photo shoot) for Back To School ads during the same month. Oops!!

Acquiring photography fail Dell and Gateway use the same stock photography model for competing ads

The girl pictured above is one of the most popular stock models in the world. If you see just a few examples of how often her image is used in advertising then you can start to see some of the confusion that could arise if your competitor is showing that she “switched to X brand” after your ad had run.

Contracts to Handle Spokespeople and Competitors

Here’s an example of an embarrassing contract issue:

verizon guy and sprint guy are the same guy

Although this isn’t stock photography, it shows the importance of contracts when hiring a spokesperson. I’d consider this to be a great coup for Sprint, and an embarrassment for Verizon wireless. What do you think?

Best Way for Acquiring Photography? Hire a Professional Photographer!

A professional photographer can ensure that you have high quality images customized to your exact needs, and images that only you will have. We have previously shared 10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer, which is a great start. Key points are that a pro will have the experience and the means to ensure that your photo shoot is successful and meets your needs, on time and on budget. The pro knows how to make you look your very best, both photographically and with professional retouching.

The photography portfolios on this site show a variety of photography now available in North Idaho (Coeur d’Alene), Spokane, Dallas, and San Diego. Our work includes commercial photography, corporate portraits, and event photography . Another valuable resource that we recommend for photographic talent nationwide as the American Society of Media Photographers’ Find-A-Photographer database. The ASMP site allows you to search by geographic location as well as photographic specialty – and features many of the best professional photographers in the country.

Have any questions? Please feel free to give Morton Visuals a call (toll-free) at 888-239-6213, or email us. We’re happy to help! Have any comments or suggestions? Please feel free to comment below. And of course please feel free to share this article on your social media!

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William Morton Owner
William Morton has been a professional photographer since 1991. Now focused on corporate photography, William travels the country providing commercial, corporate, and event photography services.


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