Commercial photography doesn't have to only be super creative shots for BIG brand advertising campaigns. A commercial photographer usually provides images that are meant for commercial use like a company website, a brochure, a mailer, a linkedin profile, an email campaign, etc. On the other hand, a consumer image is likely just used to share with friends and family and is not meant for commercial use.
In my case, I focus solely on the commercial side of photography. Although I do have a studio in North Raleigh that is designed exclusively for professional headshots, most of my work is shot on location for law firms, medical practices, investment firms, other professional services and even the Fortune 500. That includes general commercial photography and other types of photography like corporate events and architectural photography.
Stock Images vs. Custom Images
It's better to have custom images in most cases than stock images to represent a brand because stock images almost always look like stock images plus the same image can also be used by someone else. In addition, stock images do not use the actual attorney in the law firm conference room like the image pictured at the top of this post that was actually shot in the law firm conference room of one of the attorney's at the firm. Custom commercial images are far better in the end most of the time than stock images.
What About Pricing?
Don't be fooled by stock images low pricing. You should read the fine print to make sure that you are in line with the usage rights. Stock images with extended usage rights can be $50 to $100+ per image. Once you get into that range, you should compare the cost to customized commercial photography. An established local commercial photographer coming on site will be more than the standard stock image license, but may be competitive with the extended use fees associated with stock images. However, you are getting images in the end that will represent your brand better than most stock images.
Getting caught using a stock image outside the usage rights could lead to getting a letter saying you owe $500+ for that one image. In my case, I provide lifetime usage rights of all images purchased. So there is no need to worry about usage rights and compliance.
Most commercial photographers will likely incorporate a combination of things to get to their final quote for your commercial images. You'll likely hear things like 1/2 day or full day rate, price per image and licensing usage rights. I like keeping it simple and say something like this: "I'll come out for up to a 1/2 day, provide ___ number of final edited images which averages ___ per image and lifetime unrestricted usage rights are included." That's about as simple as it gets.
Use the online form to get a custom quote or call 919.723.8453.
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