Stock Imagery vs. Bespoke Imagery in Web Design Image

Stock photography and illustrations can be extremely useful. For some businesses, stock images can be incorporated nicely into web design and still manage to convey the right message. Royalty-free, handy, easy to access and ready to go. However, the downside is right there in the name – ‘stock’. Anyone and everyone can use it, and they probably are! And this means that your website could be using visuals that are identical to so many others, meaning your brand is not unique. However, bespoke photography can convey your brand message and make it stand out.

There are reasons for the use of both stock and bespoke imagery and there is certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ answer. We’ve put together our thoughts on the great battle between stock and bespoke imagery in web design.

Stock imagery
Cheap, quick and an abundance of choice

There are soooo many online stock image libraries that are easy to use and cost-effective such as Pixabay, Getty and FreePic. This makes these images very quick to access. Many of the images are either free or relatively cheap, meaning using this route in the visual design of your website can be cost effective. This might also mean there is a faster turnaround on web design projects. If you need an image right away and don’t have time or budget to commission a photographer, stock imagery is the way to go. Buying images is simple and instant.

High quality and visual

The quality of stock imagery has improved greatly – if you need diagrams, photography, icons and infographics, you can get them without having to source them elsewhere. For some brands, this might be the way to go to save time and still add that all-important visual touch to websites.

Bespoke imagery
unique, professional, unified

Choosing to hire a professional photographer to capture bespoke imagery means you can tailor your images to your brand from the beginning. These images are yours, they are unique and help establish your brand style to fit in with the rest of your marketing materials and keep your brand unified. As well as this, professional bespoke images give you a competitive edge.

your brand and its message

Stock images cannot truly convey your brand message. A stock image of an office worker or a receptionist at their desk might be able to get across a basic point, but it does not say a lot about your company, your values or your story. And it certainly does not say a lot about the people who work their and their role, because these are generic images and not images of your actual employees. Bespoke imagery is very important in photographing the faces within the company, so as to humanise your brand and properly tell the story of the business.

convey emotion and encourage actions

A lot of online customers make purchasing decisions based on emotions. They want to connect with a brand and will buy into them based on their feelings. Bespoke photography can convey the messages you want your brand to give your customers. Although stock photography fulfils the necessary ‘visuals’ of a website, it can weaken the brand message, which can reduce the likelihood of  brands connecting with customers. Brands aim to create websites that make customers convert to their proposition. Non-specific, generic stock imagery is simply not as relevant, not as engaging and not as effective.

Hiring a professional and standing out

Professional photographers are not too expensive. In fact, they can take a lot of the pictures you need in just a few hours. Once you have them, you have created a valuable bank of imagery that does not only have to be used on your website, but can be reused wherever you like and be given new purpose. This way, even your marketing material will stand out amongst the crowd of competitors.

And don’t forget about the rise of the phone camera!

It’s 2021 and everyone has a phone in their pocket. The technology behind today’s iPhone or Android device means that anyone can become a professional photographer at any moment because of their ability to capture amazing pictures. Some brands might be able to consider using this method as opposed to paying for a professional photographer. Think of ‘Portrait Mode’, and how it gives images such a realistic depth! By considering lighting, composition, angles and subject matter, you could take photos that are good enough for your website.

So, all in all, stock imagery can be super useful and serve a purpose for some brands in particular circumstances. These generic images are still high quality and they are a step forward in creating a fully functional website. However, it is quite clear that bespoke photography is the way to go. Professional, branded photography can add that all-important touch of personalisation to your business, convey your brand message and tell your story effectively. Hiring a professional to capture bespoke images may well be worth it so that your website has a unique online presence that is in tune with the real world.


If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.