Is Custom Stock Photography a Must-Have For Your Business?

There are many benefits of custom stock photography, but is it a must-have for your business? And how expensive is it, really? We're breaking down all the most important details of custom stock photography so you can make the smartest choice for your business and marketing budget.

What are custom stock photos?

Custom stock photography may sound like an oxymoron – if it’s custom, then how is it stock? But what it means is this: instead of browsing hundreds of thousands of images on your average stock photo site, custom photography gives you an original library you can use for all of your marketing purposes. Every image is perfectly in line with your mission, aesthetics, and business.

A professional photographer comes in and takes images that can be used for a variety of purposes: websites, email campaigns, social media posts, ads, blogs, print materials and so much more. Intrigued? Keep reading to learn whether this is a must-have for your business.

What are the benefits of custom stock photography?

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  1. Perfectly on-brand imagery
  2. Hours of time saved 
  3. Unique, original photos
  4. A personal touch
  5. Cohesive feel across all marketing platforms

Related: How to waste less time looking for stock photos

Who shouldn't invest in custom stock photography?

While there are many benefits to custom stock photography, it's not always a wise investment. Here are some reasons not to invest in custom stock photos:

You have a shoestring budget

“Custom” may make it sound like only huge companies like Coca-Cola or Microsoft could afford this kind of stock photography, but that’s simply untrue. There are several sources for custom stock photos that you can reach out to for quotes to find a price point that works for you.

You don't have a style guide

Without a style guide, you could very well invest in a library of custom stock photos that are just trendy without a long shelf-life or are completely off-brand. A style guide helps you discern what you like personally versus what your target customer or client would resonate with.

Bottom line: invest in a style guide before putting money into a library of custom stock images.

Related: How to choose the perfect images for marketing and visual content

You aren't sure what you want

If you don't have a vision for a custom stock library, it isn't the right time to invest in one. Without a vision or direction of some kind, you may not be satisfied with the custom stock photos you receive.

Where can I get custom stock photos?

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If you've decided it's time to invest in custom stock photos, you want to choose a reliable channel to purchase them through. The process can be overwhelming if you don't know where to begin looking for them.

Here are several known and trusted resources for custom stock photos to help you take the next best step for your business:

Shutterstock Custom – Custom Images from an Industry Leader

ShutterstockShutterstock Custom is one of the top names in the stock photography business, and you can partner with their best photographers to get quality, custom stock photos for your exclusive use.

Used by big names like L'Oreal, Unilever and McDonald's, Shutterstock Custom is a trusted source for custom images that reflect your brand's aesthetics and mission. Through their easy to use the platform, you can plan out the content you want to see and get it at a realistic price. Shutterstock Custom's global network of industry-leading creators makes it easy for you to get what you need, wherever you need it from.

Request a demo from Shutterstock Custom to learn more about pricing, or read this case study to learn more about how Shutterstock can bring your brand to life. If you're ready to invest,

Snapwire – Personalized Photos from Local Creatives

Logo Agency Snapwire

Snapwire hosts a community of over 700,000 creators worldwide. Used by top brands like Google, Hootsuite, and LinkedIn, their mission is to connect high-quality photographers with your business to produce beautiful stock imagery. The process works in three steps: you request images with details of what you want photographed, a creator is assigned to bring your vision to life, and when completed, you can download the images for your exclusive use.

Request a demo from Snapwire for pricing information, or check out their collections for examples of previous work.

The Luupe – Customized Images Created by Women for Everyone

> Is Custom Stock Photography a Must-Have For Your Business?The Luupe is a community of female photographers and content creators who develop work for commercial use. Their talent roster includes photographers who have previously worked for big names like Shutterstock, IBM, Starbucks and National Geographic. They specialize in creating affordable, diverse and authentic content to help brands connect with their audiences.

Get in touch with them for pricing information or check out the simple process they implement to make it easy for you to get the images you need.

EyeEm – Tailored Images from Global Perspectives

Logo Agency EyeEm

EyeEm is an online community of photographers based around the world. Their goal is to create original, on-brand images the resonate with your customers. Trusted by brands like Canon and Converse, the creators at EyeEm deliver something non-traditional, funky and totally unique to their clients at an affordable price.

Learn more about personal photo shoots for your brand from EyeEm.

Local Branding Photographers – Skip the Middle Man

So, is custom stock photography a necessity?

Custom photography, not a necessity if your marketing budget is minimal, if you don't have a style guide, or if you don't really have a vision for a custom stock photo library. It is totally okay not to be ready for this investment. Instead, check out these sources for unique stock photos that will better fit your budget for the time being. When your brand or business has grown enough for you to seriously consider custom stock photography, we'll be here with the best recommendations for you!

Custom stock photos may be necessary for your business if you have the budget, the vision, and you are ready to take your content to the next level visually. It is for small, mid-sized and large brands or businesses that are ready to differentiate themselves from the competition in a truly unique way.

Check out Shutterstock Custom for the truly original stock imagery that will make your brand or business memorable in the eyes of your audience.

Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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