There’s stock images and then there are stock images
There are four key differences between free stock images and paid stock photography images. Here’s what you need to know before using stock images in your business.
To put it simply there are stock images and then there are stock images.
What do we mean by this?
Stock images used intentionally and purposefully are an amazing asset to a business (especially small business owners) and something every solopreneur should add to their business toolbelt.
They make business easier, help with efficiency and reduce overwhelm when wearing all the hats.
At the click of a button you can seemingly have an image ready to use but should you opt for using free stock images or choose to pay for stock images through a stock membership?
Whilst there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, this blog will help you weigh up which type of stock image is right for you.
We’ve identified four key differences between free stock images and paid stock photography images. Let’s take a look at them.
Free stock photography images versus paid stock images
1. Number of downloads – Free stock images are downloaded in the hundreds of thousands whereas paid stock images have substantially less downloads. Straight away this makes paid stock images a more exclusive image choice.
Whilst on first thoughts you might think choosing a free and popular stock image means you’re choosing trending content, keep in mind that when it comes to stock images you want to choose images others don’t have.
2. Originality – Taking the point above into consideration, we know free images have been downloaded by the masses so we can conclude free images are not unique. They’ve not only been downloaded day after day but also been seen anywhere and everywhere by masses of people. A paid stock membership on the other hand provides fresh, unique content with access to an ever-expanding content library at your fingertips.
3. Attention – Given the amount of content we consume each and every day, when we come across an image we’ve seen before we automatically assume we’ve seen the content. How do we respond in this situation? We scroll right past and don’t engage with it.
But what if we haven’t actually seen the content before and it was only the stock image we’ve already come across? The truth is, we’ll never know any different because we’ve already made up our mind that we’ve seen it. In this context, free stock images can be detrimental to engagement with your audience and can cost you potential business.
On the flip side, a stock image from a paid membership is far rarer and less seen. We call these scroll stoppers that help to engage browsers. When you access a paid stock photography library you’re arming yourself with a variety of scroll stoppers.
4. Who they’re run by – If you’re conscious of the types of businesses you support, it’s helpful to know who you download your images from. Free stock sites are usually run by big companies whose goals and values are very different to that of a small business. Paid stock businesses are mostly smaller run businesses like Eliza Stock which I’m proud to say is solely owned and run by my family and I.
I mentioned at the beginning of this blog there’s no right or wrong with how you select the stock images you use. As the owner of a paid stock membership, I of course see the huge benefits in choosing paid stock images over free images.
As with every business choice it’s best to make an informed choice. The four differences between free stock images and paid stock images listed above are a great start when considering how you go about using stock images in your business.
Want to hear more on this topic? I was recently invited to chat on Jenn Donovan’s Small Business Made Simple podcast about all things stock photography. Listen here
Sarah Founder of Eliza Stock
How do you get your hands on stunning feminine stock images? Become an Eliza Stock Member here