We've all heard the saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words'. And in today's modern world, with information constantly bombarding us via an array of sources from magazines and newspapers, through to television, websites, emails and social media, an image really does help us take note and remember what we've seen or read. But where do you start and where do you get your images from?
Choosing images for your marketing strategy can be a challenge. If you require product images then you wouldn't think twice about commissioning a photoshoot to showcase them, but how else do you build up your image library and source other images?
Take your own images - commission a photographer
Source Rights-Managed images from an image library
Source images from a Royalty Free image library
So what's the difference?
With Rights-Managed images you pay to buy a licence to use the image. The price you pay will be based on how you wish to use the image. For example, you will be asked questions such as: area/location of use. Will it be seen worldwide or locally? Type of media it is appearing on? Is it going in a brochure, on posters or on a website? The length of time it will be used for etc.
You then get the rights to use the image for your project. You also have the option to pay for exclusive rights with restrictions defined. One advantage of this means you can ensure a competitor working in a similar market sector won't use that same image in their marketing material.
A photographer submits his images to a Royalty-Free library and every time someone purchases their image they receive a fee. It is important to remember that Royalty-Free images can be sold to different buyers many times over. You pay a one-time price based on the resolution size of the image, (normally low-res, medium-res or high-res) and then you are free to download and use it. When buying Royalty-Free images, you don't get the exclusivity of that image - it is very possible that your 'new' image could pop up anywhere in someone else's campaign.
Commissioning your own images
Using 'real' images adds credibility to your brand. For example, filling your corporate website with Royalty-Free images might seem quick and easy, but you run the risk of blending in rather than standing out for being unique. How many times have you seen a generic happy smiling face wearing a headset on the contact page of a website? Chances are, it's actually the same face on many websites!
Set aside an image budget for your project and then think about how best to utilise it. Commissioning a photographer for everything might be idealistic but in reality, not always practical. The secret is finding a balance and knowing where to spend money on key images. It's the same as furnishing your home, you might spend money on one key piece of furniture or artwork and then create the look around it.
There is nothing wrong with using a sensible mix of Royalty-Free, Rights-Managed and your own commissioned images within a project and this is where you need to think about the finished job as a whole. For example, creating an image style so all images when combined look as if they belong to the same set, be it in terms of composition, photographic style, effect or colour could be one way to achieve great results from your image budget.
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