Web design and photography sources

Published on November 23rd, 2009 by admin

There are three ways to acquire photography: hire a professional, browse stock sites or do it yourself. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages and it's up to you to decide which is the best option.

Hire a professional

If you have the resources to spare, a professional photographer will yield the best results.

You can expect a high quality product

Professionals bring more than just their camera to the photo-shoot, they bring their years of experience and education. They also commit themselves in delivering a quality product and may also suggest ideas that you hadn’t thought of.

You can hire someone anywhere

If you need photographs of exotic locales, it’s a simple matter of hiring talented freelancers who live in that area. The added bonus is that if you want someone to take photos of something very specific you can tell them to do that.

It will save you time

You won’t have to go out and take photos yourself. By hiring someone you can have them do the work while you focus on the rest of your business. You also won’t have to sort through the photos and choose the best ones. The photographer will have already done some of the editing for you.

You form a valuable professional relationship

Finding a good photographer is like finding a good mechanic, they are an invaluable asset which you can use over and over again. By working with them you will also be exposed to a wider range of people and have the possibility of expanding your business. If you have a good relationship with the person and work with them long enough they will also start advocating for your business.

It’s expensive

You will have to pay that person for their expertise, and like another other creative medium it’s not cheap. However, if you think about it, you’re not just paying for photographs, you’re also paying for the professional contacts and their years of experience.

It takes time

It takes time to build a relationship with a professional, give it at least six months before you start to build a solid foundation of trust and partnership. It also takes time to arrnage meetings and discuss projects. Not all photographers are the same either, so you might go through a few different photographers before you find one that’s right for you.

Do it yourself

If you have the equipment, time and knack for photography doing it yourself might be the best solution for you.

It’s convenient

It’s definitely convenient to simply go out and take photos for yourself. Especially if the client is in the area.

It’s cheaper

Because you don’t have to pay someone by the hour or by the photo the savings can be substantial.

You own the equipment

You can use the equipment whenever you want and it’ll be a valuable asset to your business.

It can be a lot of fun!

Taking pictures if fun! Especially if you’re the creative type!

You have to buy and learn the equipment

After buying the camera and all it’s equipment you could be in the hole for at least a thousand dollars. So depending on your resources that could be a deal breaker. Also after you get all the equipment you not only have to learn how to use it but also how to be proficient with it. Which can take months if not years of practice.

You are limited to your local area

You’re not going to be able to take exotic photographs without spending a lot of on travel. So largely you’re going to be restricted to your local area, which is fine if you’re taking pictures of people or objects, but some more exotic things such as Asian landscapes or animals will be out of reach.

It takes even more time

This traveling around and maintaining equipment also takes a lot of time, time which you’ll have to take out of working on other projects. Your schedule can fill up pretty quickly if you need to take pictures as well as design and slice up an interface.

Quality isn’t necessarily assured

Photography is an art and takes a lot of practice so you’re not necessarily going to get the kind of pictures that you want. Especially at first. If quality is the top priority or you’re capturing a particularly difficult subject then it might be worthwhile to hire a professional.

Use stock photography

It’s the cheapest

Stock photography is easily the cheapest solution out there. You can buy photographs for a dollar on iStockPhoto.com. They are pretty small sized but usually this is more than enough to get the job done.

It’s fast and easy

It only takes hours versus days to get the right photos. It’s also a simple matter of sitting in your chair and browsing through galleries.

The quality is usually decent

Photos on stock sites are usually done by professionals so the quality is usually very decent.

The selection is limited

Needless to say that the range of possibility dips when you’re looking through a gallery versus the physical world. You should usually try to stick to more generic concepts when using stock photography. Finding something very specific is also usually very hard, unless you’re looking something that’s very cliché.

You run the risk of seeing duplicate photos or models on other sites

This is my primary concern about stock photography. Stock sites also usually sort their galleries by popularity making duplication incredibly easy!

Some models are pretty popular too so it’s not uncommon to see the same person popping up in a variety of unrelated photographs.

Closing thoughts

The best solution in my opinion is to use all of these in a combination. If you have the money and time I would suggest hiring a professional and if you are pressed for time then go do it yourself.

If however, you are pressed for time and budget then I’d suggest using a stock site. But only as a last resort.

Further Reading:

15 Places to sell your photos
A Collection of 30+ Free Stock Photo Sites
9 things I learned about the world according to anonymous stock photo models
(Warning: Some strong language)
Making better use of imagery

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