Stock Photos vs. Original Photos – Which is Right for You?

stock vs original photos

If you write online articles or build websites, you’ve probably wondered if you should add photos.

Well, the answer is always YES.

Research has shown that people remember visuals much better than words. This phenomenon is called the Picture Superiority Effect.

According to Dr. John J. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, when we read text only, we remember about 10% of the information after three days. If the same information is presented with an image, people remember about 65% of the information after three days!

Here are some more interesting facts:

  • 90% of all information sent to the brain is VISUAL.
  • 93% of all human communication is (yep, you’ve guessed it) VISUAL.
  • Our brain understands images right away, but words need to be processed over a longer period of time.
  • Websites that have images receive more views (94% more views to be exact!)

Now that we’ve established that inserting photos is a MUST in your content, we can get into the kind of photo you should pick.

Stock Photos

stock photos vs original photos

Stock photography websites have a variety of images so that everyone can find the one that they need.

These images are available instantly. You don’t have to wait for a photoshoot or for the photographer to edit the photos. Here you can just download the photo and it’s ready for you to use straight away. Not only that, these photos are usually of great quality.

The downside of using stock photos that everyone has access to them, which means you may end up seeing them on another website… and another one… and another one…

Having seen your photos in other places will have a negative effect on what people think about your website.

Additionally, the Picture Superiority Effect is only effective when the image used is relevant and related to the text next to it. Stock images are usually very generic and aren’t always 100% related to your text.

Original Photos

stock photos vs original photos

Original images, on the other hand, are taken with a specific use in mind. There is a lot of thought and planning that happens before photoshoots.

Additionally, using original photos on your site has many SEO benefits. If you label all your photos according to the SEO rules, like inserting good captions and metadata, your content will appear in both web search results and image searches. That means that you will have double the opportunities to be discovered.

If you have some original photos, you could allow other websites or blogs to use them for free in exchange for them linking the photos back to your website. That, too, can boost your ranking in the search results!

The downside of using original images is that you sometimes get an unwanted result, which can be quite disappointing, especially after spending lots of time and money. In this case, you might have to re-shoot, necessitating the expenditure of more time and money.

Bottom Line:

There isn’t a single correct answer. There are a lot of things to take into consideration and, in the end, it all comes down to time, budget, and purpose.

If you have plenty of time and a large budget, you should hire a professional photographer and get some original photos for your page/article. Most SEO experts agree on that. However, if you’re on a smaller budget and don’t have much time, you should go for a stock photo. They’re available immediately and there are many free options.

Now, you might have a vision ready for your website, but there’s another important decision you have to make and it’s choosing the right hosting company.

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