Long before I called myself I photographer, I took my own photos for my own social media as well as for some of the brands that I worked with. I realized that while it was easy to teach my clients how to create a social media strategy, they often struggled with keeping up with the content creation side.
If you're just starting out with your business or can't afford to hire a photographer to create custom images for your brand, using styled stock photos can make your life so much easier!
Sure, you could take the photos yourself. That might sound like a cheap + easy solution…
But even if you’re capable of doing your own photography, it’s probably not the best use of your time. When you’re a solopreneur you spend your time creating products / working with your clients, posting on social media, business planning, accounting, networking, and answering 5 million emails (OMG all the emails!)
Stock photos can be a great way to create a cohesive visual brand across your marketing channels, especially if you have a new business and want to make the most of your budget!
There's a lot that goes into creating styled photos for your brand – and usually, it's not as easy as snapping a few iPhone pics and calling it a day! When we create new collections for the Styled Stock Society there are 3 main phases that take up TIME (and time is money y'all) – so these are the 3 ways using styled stock photos can save you time:
You don't have to spend time planning:
If you've never planned a styled shoot, you might be surprised to know that planning for the shoot often takes up way more time than the actual shoot itself! While it would be great if “real life” were always as perfect as “Instagram life” – that's usually not the case! When planning shoots, spend time thinking about what types of content do our members need? How are they using images for the brands? What colors / vibes / styles / visual elements are trending? Are there seasonal elements that we should incorporate? What props do we need? Where do we get those props? How much money can we afford to spend on those props? Can we shoot in our studio or do we need to find/rent another space? Do we need to hire models/hair/makeup/wardrobe? So. Many. Things. To. Consider.
You can totally do all this by yourself and make it as simple (or as complicated) as you want. But I'm guessing you have better things to do like actually work ON and IN your business. We spend an average of 8-10 hours a month planning the visual content – that's a lot of time you could be spending doing things in your own zone of genius (rather than shopping for the perfect pink tray for your flat lay).
You don't have to spend time styling/shooting:
Even if you find mood boarding and prop shopping fun, there's obviously the time spent styling and shooting to take into consideration as well! If you don't have a studio or designated shooting space, you'll need to get that set up in order to actually take all the photos you have planned. Sometimes this means moving all your props into the room with the best natural light or planning to take photos during certain times of day when the sun is in the right place or even renting a separate space that's more photogenic than your actual office.
If you are taking your own images, you'll probably find that it's easier to batch your photos so you aren't actually trying to take new photos every time you need them. This also helps with consistent lighting/styling and helps to save time on set up or other logistics. We typically spend 2-3 hours shooting and styling each of our collections but it could easily take a half to full day of work (or more!) to get enough images for a full month of visual content.
You don't have to spend time culling/editing:
Last but not least, you're probably not just taking a photo straight out of the camera and posting it on Instagram or your blog. Not every photo is going to be usable or “share-worthy” and most are probably going to need a bit of tweaking to get them “just right” – if you want your images to look cohesive, you'll need to make sure the brightness/contrast/colors/etc. are consistent and that means spending time in Lightroom or Photoshop or your editing software of choice! In addition to the hours spent planning, styling, and shooting images for the Styled Stock Society each month, we spend a few hours culling/editing/sizing/uploading images before they are actually useable for our members.
So those are the 3 biggest time-sucks when it comes to creating visual content for your brand – but if you want to save time and make your life SO MUCH EASIER, you'll find over 7,000 images that have already been styled, shot, and edited, and uploaded into cohesive collections in the Styled Stock Society library now!