Thoughts, stories and tips from Team Perfocal.

When designing your company's website, there's always the temptation to jump onto Adobe or Shutterstock and find the perfect stock image to fill each gap. Well we'll let you in on a little secret... there's actually no such thing as the 'perfect stock image'.

Marketing teams, web developers and web designers, listen up! Yes, the internet has made it incredibly easy to find high-resolution images, yes, you can often access these for free, but no, these will never drive the same level of user engagement as unique, professional photos on websites (about 35% less1 actually!).

Why? Well it turns out that 87% of modern consumers crave nothing more than brand authenticity2. Having a good business model, sales function and customer service team is no longer enough to attract and retain users. Instead, brands need to exhibit transparency and earn trust. One of the best ways to achieve this when facing consumers through a computer/phone screen? Through authentic, professional photos. In fact, Malone and Fiske's 'The Human Brand'3  found that customers will even overlook significant business incompetencies if a brand feels authentic and welcoming.

None of this information is revolutionary right? But we wanted to really prove it to you by comparing website's featuring Perfocal's professional photos side-by-side with the best, most comparable stock images available online.

Hero Images

First up, we have website header / hero images and our example is www.claritascooking.com. Clarita came to Perfocal in need of imagery for the website selling her family cookbook. Technically speaking, Clarita could have selected this stock image of 'homemade italian cooking' for her header image (right). Instead she has a welcoming image (left), featuring the family cookbook, kitchen and cook herself!  

For just £169, Clarita had a 2-hour professional photo shoot in her home and received 201 edited images ready for upload to her website! Here's an insight into the full gallery:

Product Images

When it comes to product listings, it's near impossible to source stock imagery which perfectly represents what you're selling - whether that's food, fashion, gifts, cars or anything else!

www.floom.com contacted Perfocal with a mixed need for imagery; they were looking for overhead, front & detailed product images, alongside lifestyle images of florists and their shops. Perfocal captured a selection of high-quality, professional photos for each product, enabling Floom to tell each Florist's story through the product listings - a challenging feat for one off stock images (right).

Check out the full gallery from this 2-hour shoot here:

PR Images

Original, professional photos can also boost the authenticity and engagement of online blog posts and press releases. Adding a face behind each story really humanizes your brand and evokes more emotion amongst your readers.

When La Bottega Del Pane won the 2019 Global Hospitality Awards, www.luxreview.com required photos of the products and bakers in action. The output? A vibrant, soulful article featuring authentic images of the bakery (left) - something that stock imagery (right) could never rival.

Perfocal delivered a total of 86 edited images to Lux Life Magazine for this shoot - here's the full gallery:

Social Media Images

Another great way to display imagery on your website is by embedding your social media channels directly into your website. This enables a seamless connection between your marketing platforms, drives additional consumer engagement and boosts organic traffic by keeping your website content relevant.

According to TaylorMade Golf's consumer marketing manager, website visitors spend up to 4 times longer on a social media wall than on any other page on a website4. Just FYI, increased dwell time can boost your SEO and Google search ratings... so there's really no excuse not to embed your social media feed into your site!

www.tishapix.co.uk sell hundreds of hand drawn and personalised wall art prints and their Founder reached out to Perfocal in need of images for both their website and social media. Rather than being limited to the framed set-ups on stock image sites (right) we were able to capture 139 images of their artwork across 12 different scenes, with a great selection of close ups, flat lays, and distanced shots.

Pricing Comparison

Finding a selection of stock images that 'look kinda real', are 'edited in a similar style' or 'feature the same hands' needn't be a concern when building a website. And neither should price... we've done a pricing comparison to prove that stock images aren't always the cheaper option:

Perfocal's pricing per photo VS the UK's top stock image sites:

📸 Image Provider 🖼 Number of Photos 💰 Total Price 🏷 Price per Photo
Stock Image Site #1 50 £278.00 £5.56
Stock Image Site #2 60 £310.00 £5.16
Stock Image Site #3 80 £330.00 £4.125
Perfocal Professional Photos 50-100 £99.00 £1-£1.98

Our photographers aren't just manned with the cameras and lighting equipment to capture high quality imagery, but they're affordable and hold the experience and creative vision to help convey your businesses story through professional photos.

Simply pick a photography package and book an experienced photographer in moments... how's that for revolutionary!


Footnotes:

  1. The Human Brand - The Human Brand: Overview 2013
  2. CLICKON - The Age of Authenticity 21/05/19
  3. Marketing Experiments - This Just Tested: Stock images or real people 08/04/11
  4. Flockler - This Just Tested: Stock images or real people 23/04/19