What are Authentic Images & Benefits of Authentic Images
Are you still using stock images or clipart to represent your brand? If so, it’s time for something new because consumers don’t connect with these images and rather find them inauthentic and distracting.
However, using authentic photography will captivate your audience and can lead to higher conversions and stronger connections.
Authentic imagery and photography also help you connect with your customers because it is real, human, and accessible. It’s not a stock image that your search results are littered with — it’s you.
So in this article, we're going to talk about what are authentic images, why you should use them, the benefits of authentic photography, and finally how you can get authentic images for your projects.
But first, let's understand the meaning of authentic...
Meaning of Authentic
The definition of authentic is “the real thing” or “truthful and accurate.” In terms of imagery, it defines an image that is true-to-life and real, not overly styled or manipulated.
Authentic, real, true, genuine, actual all mean being in close accord with fact or reality.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with who or what the latest trend is, and how we should look and act to fit in, authenticity has become a lost art.
What is an Authentic Image?
Authentic images are more candid than posed and usually document real people, places, or everyday experiences. They may be created by your brand's team or taken by a photographer who is brought in specifically to capture a certain moment in your business' day-to-day work.
Authentic images like authentic background images or wallpapers could be snapshots taken on an iPhone, or on a professional camera, as long as they fit into your brand's voice and aesthetic.
As Michael Jordan said,
“Authenticity is about being true to who you are, even when everyone around you wants you to be someone else”.
It's worth noting, though, that it can cost more to hire someone to take pictures for you than it does for you to take them yourself.
Why Use Authentic Photographs?
Authentic images can make your brand feel more human and approachable, which is especially important if you sell to consumers (as opposed to B2B).
It's also another way for you to distinguish yourself from your competitors — if you use authentic images and they use stock photos, yours will look more unique and original.
Example of Authentic Image
In short, it is a photo that does not appear to be staged or overly photoshopped than stock images. Authentic images feel warm, bright, and inviting. They depict the world as it is, without any pretense.
Authenticity has many practical benefits for marketers. For example, consumers are more likely to trust photos that seem real because they appear more honest. A real image also invites the viewer to imagine themselves in the scene. This makes the image more relatable and encourages the viewer to keep looking at it.
Finally, authentic photos are also cheaper and easier to produce than highly-staged photos. All you need is a camera phone and some good timing to get a great shot.
Benefits of Using Authentic Photos & Images
Are you planning to use authentic photography on your website? You should. Here are all the real-world benefits of doing so.
Authenticity is when you say and do the things you actually believe.
1. Add a Layer of Trust
It's tempting to use stock photography in your marketing materials. After all, the photos are beautiful, staged just right, and ready to download and drop into your ad.
However, the benefit of using authentic photos and images is that it adds a layer of trust for consumers who may be wary of ads. This builds credibility and rapport with your customers, which ultimately leads to higher conversions.
Authentic images can be used in social media posts, blog entries, email campaigns, and e-newsletters.
2. Builds Strong Brand Identity
Simply put, authentic photos are more convincing than stock photos. Authentic images help build a strong brand identity and increase trust in your product or service.
Authenticity is a key to success in an era where people are often skeptical of advertising, marketing, and sales messages. Even the best copywriting can’t stand up to a picture that speaks for itself.
A picture can often communicate what words cannot. It can tell stories of your successes and failures, offer a behind-the-scenes look at your company culture, and highlight what sets you apart from the competition.
3. Establish Trust and Reliability
Another benefit of using authentic photos & images is that it establishes trust and reliability.
When you use authentic, real photos, your audience knows that you aren't hiding behind stock images; they know who you are, what your product looks like, and how it's used. They can see the quality and feel good about buying from you.
To establish trust, you can use company staff as models or even your real customers. For example: let's say you're selling a product, and you want to show how it works. A video of a staff member using the product is a good way to do that. Or if you're talking about the benefits of your service, use a testimonial from one of your customers. There's nothing like getting an endorsement from someone who has actually used your products or services.
The advantage of this is that it always makes a better impression on the customer, and it is easier for every user to see images rather than read about a product or service.
One disadvantage of this is that you will have to make sure you own the images in case your staff leaves your company.
4. Realistic Product Pictures Evoke Emotions
When you’re marketing your goods on social media or any other platform, the benefit of using authentic photos & images is that it helps your customers relate to your product. It makes them feel like they are experiencing the product themselves before making a purchase.
When you use creative stock images and stock image models, people can see through them. This makes it hard for customers to emotionally connect to what you’re selling, as they know these pictures are not a real-life depiction of the products in question. This is where authentic photography can help.
For example, Zappos made a bet on online video years ago where they started to shoot authentic product description videos with their staff, which resulted in more visits and a higher click-through rate on product pages. This also gave them a competitive edge as all the videos were unique which their competitors cannot copy.
5. Gets More Social Shares
People are more inclined to share real images, especially if they're unique because they offer value to their followers.
Real images tend to get more likes and comments on social media. It's not just a share but an actual conversation starter, which means more engagement.
You will have a better chance of getting featured on other websites, blogs, and magazines because your content is authentic and not something already seen by thousands of people.
6. Save Money on Stock Image Fees
One of the biggest benefits of using authentic photos and images is that you will save money on stock image fees. You won’t have to pay for a license to use the photos.
Instead, you just need to make sure everyone involved in creating the image has agreed to let you use it for your marketing or business needs.
How to Get Authentic Images?
There are multiple ways to get authentic images:
- Get free authentic images from sites like imagefree.com
- Take the images yourself
- Source the images from professional photographers
The easiest way to get authentic images is from imagefree.com. ImageFree offers hundreds of free photographs that you can use in your projects.
Another option is taking the images yourself. This is also a great way to get authentic images because it guarantees that your images will be unique.
But if you're not able to do it yourself, then you can also work with professional photographers to capture what you need.
If you choose to hire professional photographers, there are plenty of sites out there that you can use to hire like Fiverr, Upwork, etc.
How to Check the Authenticity of Images?
The easiest way to check the authenticity of the images is by doing a reverse image search.
In simple terms, it means using an image as a search term to find out if it has been used anywhere else on the internet.
Many reverse image search engines are available online (like Google) which can be used to identify whether an image is authentic or not.
It’s important to note that these tools won’t tell you whether the image has been edited or not. They only help in finding if the same image exists somewhere else on the web.
Authentic images capture what the eye sees in a very real and relatable way.
People don’t relate to stock imagery for many reasons, including not seeing anything familiar about it, or feeling as though it was created by someone else to sell a product.
Authentic images are special because they actually convey a sense of place, time, and mood!
Is authentic mean original?
According to Webster's Dictionary, authentic and original are synonyms. This makes sense; when we say that something is authentic, we typically mean that it is not a copy. It is real, genuine, and comes directly from the source. Something that is original is also authentic but not always vice versa.
What is authenticity in photography?
Authentic photography focuses on people's real experiences and genuine emotions, rather than highly polished shots. The images tend to be natural, honest, candid, and individual.
How can I make authentic photos?
The best way to get authentic photos is to use real people and not models. You can also include some photos of your regular customers in your marketing materials. One more method is to use tools like Canva or Photoshop to create authentic imagery or you can simply hire professional photographers to get unique and authentic images related to your brand.
How do I know if a photo is original?
You can perform a quick reverse image search using Google to find if a photo is original or not. If you find multiple instances of the image then it's probably not an original image.