How much are stock photos really costing you?

The world is visual – especially the world of marketing. Photos are commonly necessary for various communication channels and always fresh, interesting and appealing. And as a result, buying stock photos is often considered an excellent way to acquire images.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Stock Photos

Purchasing stock photography has many benefits compared to producing your own material. These advantages include lower production costs, more speed and transparency as well as increased sources and options to choose. However, the tradeoff is that stock images are usually non-exclusive and relatively generic.

If you want specific, individual photos, you need to produce them yourself with a photographer and your own settings. For many companies and agencies, buying stock photos is a great alternative to producing in-house images. And with stock photography, the licensing models are clear, prices relatively low and the selection is huge.

“Happy businesspeople waving hands in office” AKA, a ‘stocky’ stock photo.

Buying Stock Photos: The True Price You Pay

Huge stacks of purchased stock photos pile up over time and create new problems for companies. It begins with the in-house search for an image that fits. Consider whether everyone in your organization who searches for images has access to a central media bank of previously purchased imagery? If not, you risk re-buying the same assets multiple times. Keep in mind that visual content offered by stock portal sites partially overlap, while some offer exclusive content.

If you need a picture on a specific subject you should ask how much time it takes you to browse all your favorite stock portal sites and in-house repository? After all, there are an estimated 2,400 stock photo providers on the market, most of which have hundreds of millions of photos in their catalogs. After you have compared your preferred providers, you might find out that the colleague sitting right next to you has an even better image on his local hard drive.

Visual content offered by stock portal sites partially overlap

It gets even worse if you realize you have been using a stock photo without a license – and the horrible situation of being sued by the copyright owner. Every stock photo portal has different regulations regarding the licensing use of their content. Damage claims can easily hurt or even destroy whole companies – depending on the severity.

So what’s the real price of stock photos? Keep in mind, the actual price is not limited to the acquisition costs but includes the organization and the effective use of images. In many companies, valuable employee resources are used for image searches on network drives. Departments often buy duplicate stock content because there is no enterprise-wide solution for their digital asset management.

stock photos in marketing
Can you imagine what marketing would look like without stock photos?

Reduce Costs With DAM and Communicate Visually

Does this mean you should avoid buying stock photos? Not at all. The acquisition of stock photos is still a great way to acquire visual content.

What you should think about is how you can use and organize your stock pictures more efficiently. Digital asset management (DAM) is a highly-acclaimed technology, used by thousands of successful companies around the world to manage their photography – both stock and in-house produced, along with other vital content like documents, graphics and videos.

With a DAM system, you have a close eye on which stock content your company has already acquired. This simplifies the selection process and prevents you from buying duplicate stock photos from various portals. With advanced digital rights management technology, a DAM also keeps track of the licensing terms for an image. That way, your company won’t run the risk of exposing the business to damage claims of a copyright holder.

Save Your Money: Organize Stock Photos With DAM

With the appropriate technology, the effective cost of stock images can be reduced. Image workflows are also optimized so that you have more resources for your marketing. The experts at Canto can help you find out how much time and money you can save by using a DAM solution.

Next Steps

For the modern company team, creativity can’t happen without collaboration. Download our eBook Content Management for the Modern Creative Team to learn how using a content management system (CMS) and digital asset management (DAM) can lead to increased productivity and improved ROI.

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