Stock Imagery vs Bespoke Photo Shoot

Something that comes up time and again when working with clients is imagery. Leaflets, vouchers and websites in particular all require some kind of imagery to help convey the message to your clients. There are two options when it comes to images you can use. Stock images, either sourced royalty free or purchased from an image library or by commissioning bespoke photography. So what are the pros and cons of each option and which is best for you?

Stock images


  • There are 100s of stock libraries online from higher cost ones like Adobe and iStock to royalty free ones like Pixabay. For just a few pounds you can choose from 1000s of professional pictures, sometimes finding something abstract or unusual that you think perfectly illustrates the message you are trying to convey.

  • Stock photos can be great for quick turn around jobs or social media posts where you just need something NOW.


  • You can spend HOURS searching through image libraries for just the right picture. As a Graphic Designer I have spend DAYS looking through sites for images for clients, often without finding something I'm truly happy with. - Do you know how hard it Is to find a picture of an older lady having a beauty treatment?

  • When you start looking, you will also start seeing the same stock images all over the place. I've seen the same smiling couple on a leaflet for a POS terminal, funeral planners and mortgage advisors.

  • There are a lot of AWFUL stock images out there.

Bespoke Photography


  • Planning the pictures you want, that tell the story of you, your products or business can make you stand out from the competition. Potential clients feel more confident when they can see who or what they are purchasing and know it is the real thing.

  • Have something unique and that fits your requirements perfectly. Remember a well planned out photoshoot can give you images that will last years.


  • The same problem with any service you have to outsource - cost. Hiring a good photographer for a session can cost a few hundred pounds. For a start-up or small business it can be difficult to see the benefit in investing in something like photography.

Which should you choose? There's no right or wrong answer to that question. How much time and money you have may be the deciding factor in which you choose. Whichever option you take, plan carefully, don't compromise on something 'not quite right' and don't underestimate how much good imagery can be worth to your business.

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