There are typically two kinds of photography choices available to choose from, royalty free and use based stock. Generally royalty free images are offered in a collection at one flat price and anyone can use those images for whatever they want. The prices for royalty free are usually pretty cheap but the danger for a business is that the image could show up in a competitors ad or anywhere online and offers very little creative content. Those images in my opinion are very sterile and the generic look does not allow any true insight to the business at hand. Usage based stock photography is offered depending on how the image will be used and for how long, generally the more you pay the more exclusivity you can have over who else can use that image.
While it is easy to understand that saving money is important for a business, using stock photography may not always be the best choice of where to cut your cost. Showing real photos of your business, products and services allows customers the true vision of what your business is all about. While print advertising can be expensive, businesses have many free options online to sell and that may be all you need to free up the extra money to have a photographer shoot custom photos for your online advertising.
As a commercial photographer I always work toward creating imagery for my clients that is unique and conveys the goal they are trying to achieve. While that may cost more than some stock imagery it is unique to the business itself and I feel that the customer connects better when the business chooses that direction. The answer to the questions stock imagery vs hire a pro...well it comes down to how unique you want to be and how much money you have to spend. The most important thing to remember when deciding is be sure the images, no matter what, look professional! If you need a photographer or just need some photo advice please dont hesitate to contact Sheri Oneal Photography.