There has long been a debate of stock photography vs bespoke professional photography 
Generally, having images on websites and social media has been proved to be very important. High quality photos are a big influence on purchasing decisions - more so than long descriptions or product specific information. They give the viewer a sense of brand and context. So it's definitely true that something is better than nothing when it comes to photos! 

Pros and cons of stock photos 

Stock photography can be easy to obtain by searching for concepts you are interested in protraying, such as 'freedom' or 'corporate strategy' and they can be cost effective as well as quick to procure.  
But there is a risk that other businesses have used the same image or images with the same peron in the photo (I've seen this and it's embarrassing for the business involved, depending on what is being advertised!). Also, they can be very 'samey' and stock photos can be spotted a mile off.  
There is an example of one woman who participated in a stock photo shoot and then found herself as the face of competing universities in their promotional material as well as competing technology companies....all at the same time! There can be a subconscious negative connotation with this and research has shown that real photos perform a third better than the top performing stock photos. 
This example of the business owner in an environment suitable to her business wouldn't be mistaken for a stock photo! 
If you are going to use stock photos, see how widely they have been used and make sure that you customise them in some way...either with text or other effects to make them your own. 

Why use your own professional photos? 

Using a professional photographer to create your own images means you can work with them to capture the essence of your brand and tailor them to your marketing campaign. The messages portrayed by bespoke photography can be powerful and showing who is behind the business / the brand builds the 'know, like, trust' factor with potential clients.  
It is true that professional photography is an investment, but with the right photographer, careful planning and communication on brand / marketing, you should end up with an image bank that is fit for purpose, unique to you. It can be used over a period of time both on line and in print. 
Web designers cry out for bespoke professional photography when they are building a site. Research shows that there is a 35% greater engagement in website visitors when it is used. 
You have control over what ideas, feelings and emotions your website protrays. This is powerful from a marketing point of view whether you sell a service, product of skills. That is because you can create an emotional connection with the viewer and it is our emotions that influence purchasing decisions.  
Even before that point, if the images engage the viewer they will stay on the site longer, delve further and potentially even read your text or respond to your call to action! 
The final point is that using bespoke professional photography, if correctly used, can boost your SEO as Google rates original, new content.  
Man businesses are nervous about commissioning professional photography because they haven't done it before or have had a bad experience. I walk my clients through the process, help them to articulate their vision and deliver images that conveys that visually. For 'what to expect' download my guide and if you want to chat through whether professional photography is right for you at this point do get in touch. 
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