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Stock Imagery on New Sites?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by PaperCutter, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    Trying to decide if I'm being too harsh on this guy, would love your thoughts.

    Got a phone call from a new design-build contractor asking for a meeting to discuss a "strategic alliance". As always I googled him before calling him back and was fairly impressed by the depth of his portfolio. I'm talking pools, decks, lighting, outdoor kitchens, all really high-end projects and pretty surprising for someone out of landscape architecture school only two years.

    I start looking a little more critically and I notice that a lot of these are clearly not shot in VA. And the vast majority of the photos have pavers and the lighting and staging looks like a paver catalog... so I reverse image search a few of them and they're images that LOADS of companies have on their sites. All but a handful of the photos in what looks like a damn impressive, deep, diverse portfolio came from Belgard pavers and one of the lighting manufacturers.

    To me, this is shady. The kid can tell me "well those are just there for marketing purposes" all he wants, but they're presented as work he and his partners have done. Nowhere does it say inspiration photos, or images by Belgard, or whatever. To me this says it's all about the hustle. Or am I being too harsh? Thoughts?
  2. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,894

    Isn't that 99% of the sites out there, professional or amateur?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    You are attempting to be an informed sub contractor. If you had choose not to research this company for better or worse, only you have your self to blame. Your in business to earn a profit and enjoy a quality of life from your labors. Anything else really does not matter. Good Hunting.
    easy-lift guy
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    Not the class of professional I'm used to working with...
  5. OSdb

    OSdb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    I think it depends, I have some stock photography on my website but my image gallery is all of our work. If they are using stock photography and claiming it as their work then I think there is a problem.
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    I'm not the sub. I get one or two design-build companies contacting me every year because they see the jobs I design and they want on my installer list. There are certain ethical standards I need to see to start that conversation though.
  7. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Not to split hairs, if your hired by design-build companies , I believe you are a sub contractor. The fact that your smart enough to listen to your self leads me to believe you will make the right decision in the end.
    easy-lift guy
  8. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,010

    Seems to be a lot of that going around. I've looked at a few local to me websites and several of them have stock photos that are obvious to most are not taken in FL. I bet well over half of the flyers and mailers I see have stock photos, even from companies that have been around for awhile... just too lazy to take good photos?
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    To me, the difference is in the type of work being "showcased". You're talking high budget, custom work ,and build quality. What he is presenting is nothing more than a mirage.

    Now, on the lawn and landscape side of things, you see this on, what, 50% of the sites? More? As much as I see it, and I see a lot of LCO sites, it almost always comes down to a lack of available, suitable, photography to showcase a kempt lawn and some great stripes. To that extent, I get that...to a point.

    I do notice that the rampant duplicate images occur more often on the lower budget (no budget?) sites, vs the higher budget sites that can afford to produce good photos of their work. Is that a potential indictment on how the company operates and what their reality really is? That's probably a fair assessment.

    If you compare the two scenarios, I would be more concerned that the approaching company:
    a.) is not all that they say they are.
    b.) they don't have the work history to support who they say they are.

    They may have 2 good projects, but are they enough to form a legitimate portfolio around. Probably not. Are they simply using the stock photos as filler to round it out? Hopefully. Either way, it's underhanded to approach you with this as their supporting material.

    Were I in your shoes, knowing the quality that I've seen from you, I would have zero problem walking away.

    As a side note:
    Where I see stock, or stolen, photography the most is in smaller lawn/landscape companies. The major offender, for companies that have ready access to vendor-supplied stock photos, are absolutely the landscape lighting guys. It runs rampant.
  10. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    Flippantly? Yes. lol
    Realistically? No.

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