A big question these days from business owners is “Why don’t we just use cheap stock photos on our websites?” They talk about photos they find online for $5 that are “good enough”. But are they?

The $5 Myth

When you see a photo for $5 online from one of the big stock photo websites, you need to read the fine print. It is usually $5 to download without the watermark. You legally still can’t print it or use it for any commercial purpose. If you have an ad or sell services on your website, that is commercial purposes.

The Good Enough Myth

Every customer is different to every business. I mean one thing to my local barber and another thing to a random barber in Orlando Florida. Both are Barbers but both need to market to me and treat me differently. Photos are the same way. If your photo isn’t unique to your business, you have created a commodity website. If you sell cupcakes and use a stock photo no one will know what makes your $6 cupcake better than the six pack for $4 at the market.

If you are in a very specific location and only sell your cupcakes from that store, but use a photo from another city. All you are doing is helping cupcake people in that city. I recently wanted to sign up for what looked like a very nice dinner at a waterfront restaurant. The restaurant used a stock photo from a small villa in Italy. When I saw where the location really was I immediately cancelled. Now we will never know if I would have like the restaurant or become a “regular” because they weren’t congruent with the imagery.

Don’t accept $5 or “Good Enough”. Get images and video that make the connection for your business.