In an age when everybody is talking about the importance of authenticity, it may seem weird to bring stock photography into the conversation—but hear me out. The life of a wedding professional is a busy one. And without boring you with all of the details about why (because hey, #thisislife), I wanted to talk about one of the biggest hurdles we all have to get over: having the time and the visual assets we need to market our businesses.
We all work tirelessly to perfect our style and aesthetic that makes our work recognizable at a glance. But there are real life scenarios when even pulling from our own weddings, events, and styled shoots isn't enough. And how can stock photography support that body of work? In the same way that outsourcing copywriting, graphic design or bookkeeping does. So, today I wanted to talk about three key moments in your marketing struggles when stock photography can come to the rescue!
Sometimes the Perfect Photo Isn’t in Your Portfolio
This may be hard to believe, but it is truer than you think. Despite the fact that wedding pros everywhere can have Dropbox accounts that feel more like black holes than portfolios, that doesn't mean that you can find just what you are looking for. I cannot tell you how many times I wish I had a version of a photo that was shot in different lighting or had a different color story. But, that reality comes down to the hard truth that as wedding professionals we are working for our clients on their wedding day - to capture their perfect photo for their album and not the perfect photo for our marketing needs.
Because Stock Photography Can be More than Photos
When it comes to designing brochures and flyers for your business, there are definitely situations where you need to add visual interest but not something as busy as an event photo. Though I use Adobe products nearly every day of my life, as a photographer, I have little to no graphic design skills (emphasis on the ‘no’).
Being able to purchase stock graphics that have the wedding aesthetic is a game changer! At Sourced Co., we include what we call ‘graphic fills’ with every new collection of styled stock photography we release. Pairing these with my photos in Instagram Stories or using them in my marketing materials simplifies my work flow by saving me the time I’d have to spend learning how to do it on my own or money I’d have to spend to have someone create custom fills for me. These fills are one of the most exciting pieces of our collections because as a photographer, I have the imagery, but the texture these fills add to social media and marketing materials is something I can’t achieve on my own.
You’re Still Building Your Portfolio
We constantly hear from our industry "show the work you want to book more of," but we all start with zero portfolio. On top of that, your first weddings aren't likely to jive with the brand you’re trying to build for yourself (props to you if you're booking ideal clients right out the gate!). So, sharing those photos doesn’t serve your business goals.
What are you supposed to do when you're so new to the gig that you don't have the imagery you need to speak to your ideal clients? From my experience, you have a couple options. First, there are great portfolio building workshops out there but those tend to be financially expensive. Another option is to invest in styled shoots (which is tried and true). But, there is also the option to strategically use stock photos. As a photographer, I would never suggest that you use a stock photo and claim it as your own but using a stock photo to support the brand you're attempting to build, as the visual to post and share your opinions about, or simply as inspiration that draws people further into your brand, I say go for it!
Whether you're busy building a new business or on the go running a successful one, styled stock photography can have a place in your marketing workflow. Because, in the end, you've got plenty to say and are just looking for that something to share.
Authored by: Jen Wojcik
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