Image libraries seemingly offer the exciting lure of an ‘easy, affordable shopping experience’ for stock images – it’s just a few clicks to find pictures and download them, right? Erm…

An all too common misconception amongst clients is that original photography will cost a lot more than an image library. When in fact commissioning a photoshoot, makes valuable use of ever tightening budgets.

There are many forgotten about costs when it comes to image libraries; licensing fees which have to be renewed more than once, resourcing costs and brand costs. Of course, both approaches require planning, research and setup – but ask anyone who’s ever done picture research how easy it is to find the right picture in a vast picture library or number of picture libraries and you’ll know how much of a time-suck that can ultimately be for in-house teams, even before all the administration and associated manipulation to give this standard image your brand feel. Then you add the costs of the image with its licensing and royalties, and suddenly 1 picture has a substantial associated cost

A photoshoot planned properly will give you a certain amount of images, free to use where and when you like, within your planned budget.


Ultimately, one of the key reasons to opt for original stock photography is the absolute control that it gives you over your brand across every aspect of the above and below the line activity. You don't have to settle for images which don't quite capture what you are trying to get across, you don't have to be generic. You can harness and portray your brand exactly how it should be.

To make the most of commissioned photoshoots, the briefs should be bullet-proof, meaning that you-and the photographer- know exactly what shot you are going for, the message it should portray, the tones and even where the resulting image might be used. A controlled, well planned shoot will deliver imagery that works on a number of levels.


There’s so much more to be said for a portfolio of photographs that are implemented to a brief: any brand can dictate the quality, feel and ensure that there’s a consistency or through-thread through the materials produced. You don't need to mould multiple images to fit your brand, as you can shoot to the brand guidelines. This ultimately leads to a more consistent feel across the board.


Brands have to do much more across more and more platforms – controlling your shoot and specifications gives you the kind of flexibility a picture library can’t. You can commission photoshoots with your digital adverts in mind, your corporate brochures, your planned content strategy. Still shots and videos are often now generated from the same shoot, providing you with flexible assets that are controlled and consistent.


And of course a by-product of the above is having a shoot that is absolutely unique to your brand - and the peace of mind that gives the company. Particularly for niche brands, organisations or campaigns, the limitations of a picture library are more obvious. The variety of pictures of a woman laughing at salad are inevitably more plentiful than – as was the case for Hartmann – finding a person with one arm. Not to mention the contrived nature of any stock images versus those shot specifically to a brief.

When it comes to niche subjects, the possibility of finding what you need decreases while the likelihood that a competitor is already using it certainly increases. There have been situations where competing brands have used the same image on facing pages in print. Gulp!

Through our 22 year stint, we have assisted on many brand photoshoots. We take the hassle of planning and organisation away from you, whilst ensuring the end results are exactly what is needed to make your brand go further.

If you would like to discuss brand photography then please contact us at hello@thisisembrace.com