Images are a great tool and, if properly utilized, can bring new life to any product listing. When it comes to Amazon product photography, sellers usually opt for either Stock photos or Real-life Photography.
Both of them can be quite valuable. It’s usually a good idea to use both. However, certain aspects like budget or time can be a deciding factor.
It also depends if you want your product listing images to be unique so they can stand out a bit more over the competition or not.
It mostly relies on what goal you want to achieve and what type of Brand image you want to strive for.
Before continuing any further, I think it’s better to begin with what both of these are: it’s easier to see their differences and how they can be useful.
How are they different from each other?
Stock Photos: These are licensed and royalty-free images of everyday people, places, events, or graphics. These are readily available on the internet. Since these are royalty-free, anyone can easily use them for their listing.
Real-life Photographs: As the name suggests, are photos of products that require working with models and/or props in a studio or a lifestyle environment. Since these require proper contracts, the person who makes them or commissions to get them made gets exclusive rights. This makes sure they can’t be legally duplicated or used without consent.
When to use them?
Now that we know how they are different from each other, let’s talk about when it is suitable to use them. As previously stated, it’s usually a good idea to use both. But it’s good to know when to use which.
These are generally a good choice if you’re a small business, just starting, or are working with a limited budget. These can be extremely budget-friendly. You can easily Photoshop your product on these stock images and call it a day.
It can be a good idea to use stock photos if you don’t have a particularly unique product. Also, If you feel like using them won’t affect the outcome of the message or information that you’re trying to portray.
However, suppose you do plan on using them. In that case, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you have a lot of stock images available that you can work with, as this can provide you the liberty of choice normally associated with these images.
However, you can use free stock photos from websites like Pexels or Unsplash. It is always better to use websites like Adobe Stock and Shutter Stock for your stock photos as they come with more options to choose from.
REAL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
These are a good choice if you want to portray or develop a unique brand identity. They can be quite costly, but they allow you to convey your brand’s message and can be made more personal to be closer to the message that you intend to convey.
Just like stock photos are more useful for products that are not that unique. Real-life photos work better if you have a unique product and become necessary if your product doesn’t have many stock images available. Suppose a lot of photos aren’t available.
In that case, it’s highly likely that a competitor is already using the ones that are available. In this case, having original photos can be advantageous. It can also help you take your listing to the next level making it stand out more.
One smart thing you can do is that if you do plan to have a video made about your product, you can always use the stills from that particular video as your listing images. Since you are already paying for it, it’s handy as it allows you to save some money.
Comparison: Stock VS Real Life Photos
Now that we know where it’s suitable to use both. Let’s compare the two.
- Stock images are incredibly cheap in comparison to Real Life photographs.
- Stock Photos are quicker as you can easily Photoshop them. On the other hand, real-life photographs can be quite time-consuming as more goes into making them. You have to schedule everything, book a space, get the models, and schedule everything. The weather conditions can also pose an issue and be a hurdle, especially when you want to do an outdoor shoot.
- As stock images are created via Photoshop, they can quickly be revised. Real-life photos do not have that option unless the problem is minor. Since they are unique to your brand identity, you have to book the same people and space again if you want something changed or want to do it differently. In short, the revision can take more time.
- For stock images, you have countless options. For Real-life photos, the options are limited. However, they are more close to what you envision.
- These may be the cheaper option. However, Suppose you don’t have a good designer. In that case, these can look particularly cheap or photoshopped (they are but shouldn’t scream photoshop), and that can actually cost you more in the long run. Since a lot of work goes into making them, they always look more professional, not to mention unique to your product. They can also be more specific to your liking.
Both Stock images and real-life photos can be valuable for your listing as one saves you money, time and is quick to revise. At the same time, even though the others can be time-consuming and cost a lot more.
It allows you to develop your brand’s unique identity, which can prove more beneficial, so it is usually a good idea to incorporate both into your product listing. You are free to use the one you think fits better with your brand and the overall message that you are trying to convey.
However, if you are a small business in the process of starting out: In that case, it’s always a better idea to invest in stock images instead of real-life photos.
No matter which of the two options you choose. In both cases (more so for stock photos), always make sure that you are getting them made by an actual professional who can provide you with high-quality photos.