Has Picture Quality Killed Stock Photography? Interview with Adrian Waine

Has Picture Quality Killed Stock Photography? Interview with Adrian Waine

Businesses can no longer rely on stock photography to promote themselves.  Not if they wish to be taken seriously.

This is the advice of Adrian Waine, specialist industrial photographer from Photography for Industry.  He is also the winner of The Best Professional Photographer award in the EEF Manufacturing Photography Competition in 2017 and 2018.

“Look and you’ll see stock photos everywhere, and the more you recognise them, the more you realise how frequently the same images keep reoccurring. Not only this, but they are often inappropriately used.”

Stock photography is facing a threat, from the exponential rise in the quality of the photographic capability of smartphones, but, this is itself a potentially hazardous detour for businesses to take.

“A do it yourself approach to your business photography will not yield the same kind of results as using a professional photographer.  In fact, it may be actively detrimental to your brand.”

Adrian Waine, Photography for Industry

Anonymous vs Specific Images

Stock images are convenient but essentially anonymous. They generalise to appeal to a wide customer base.

If successful marketing is about differentiating yourself, what will using generic images as part of your marketing say about you?”

Just because an image is used for business purposes does not mean it should be impersonal.

Original shot by Adrian Waine,commissioned by Sandon Global, Runcorn

Picture: Plasma coating cylinders used in the flexographic and lithographic print industries. Shot commissioned by Sandon Global, Runcorn

“In industrial photography, you discover that character can arise in many different situations, from machinery and industrial landscapes to the people who work in them.”

“This specificity is what helps make professional industrial photography distinctive.”

Authenticity and Visual Content

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual in nature.

“If you want to engage people with your content, whether in printed or digital form, then it makes sense to use photography but, to maximise this, your images should be relevant, realistic and authentic”

Adrian Waine, Photography for Industry

This applies across a broad spectrum of industries and sectors.

“Whether it’s about establishing a unique sense of place, or focusing on people in a workplace, the genuine article is always going to carry more weight than something that is generic in origin.”

Does the hunt for authenticity mean businesses can settle for using their own photographs taken with mobile devices?

“Being authentic does not mean looking amateurish. You can, and should, be able to be both authentic and highly professional. It comes down to your brand image and values. Do you want your business to appear as professional as it can, visually, or not?”

While today’s smartphone technology allows for most photographs to take on some superficial appearance of slickness, there is much more to effective, professional photography than this.

“The camera is only a tool, and, like any tool, it depends ultimately on the skill of the person wielding it.”

Professionalism and Personality

“Stock photography is not dead yet, but as an effective visual marketing tool it is dying, certainly if you’re serious about harnessing the power of visual imagery to make your business stand out.”

To invest in professional photography, to capture the personality of what you do, and better engage with your audience of prospects and customers, please call Photography for Industry on 0151 356 3855 or 07981 653512, or visit photographyforindustry.com.

Leave a Reply