Photo Advertising on a Trailer

Legal and practical discussion: Should you use stock photos of cabinetry (that you did not make) as advertising on your company trailer? June 17, 2012

We want to do a full graphic wrap on a trailer and need a kitchen photo that fits our needs. Does anyone have a good source for purchasing legal photos for this use?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor M:
I couldn't imagine anyone wanting you to use their work. I also can't imagine why you would want to. Wouldn't it be embarrassing to have a picture of something your company didn't even build? Why don't you ask a previous customer if you can send a photographer over to get some pics?

From contributor P: Reasonable prices, huge selection, royalty-free, virtually no restrictions on usage. Not sure what resolution you need to blow it up that big (ask your sign maker).

From contributor U: is also a good site.

From contributor J:
Bad omen to post someone else's work that one did not (and probably could not) build.

From contributor T:
I recently had some large photos mounted on the windows of my van, a mini-wrap you could call it. A couple people asked me if I did the work myself, and I had to chuckle with surprise. The idea of putting someone else's work on my vehicle would be embarrassing. Of course my name is under the photos. If you're Acme Kitchens (and outsource half of the fabrication) maybe it matters less.

From contributor P:
I don't think the questioner mentioned if all he did was installs or if he is a fabricator/installer. If all he does is intalls, I don't see a problem with using generics.

From contributor I:
I used royalty free images in my first catalog and flyers. I did not have enough work to show my own and the stock photos are a lot better for promotional uses. My (and most all cabinetmakers) pictures tend to be flat with little life. I can get the lighting right and I can compose a good shot that shows the detail of the job, but there is still a lifelessness to the images. A professional photographer knows how to bring life into a picture, even if it is just cabinetry.

The images I used were not of my own work, but I could have easily made the cabinets. For marketing purposes the image's overall feel is more important than the cabinetry in the picture. To illustrate my meaning, look at the catalogs of Ikea, Boffi and Ethan Allen. Those are nice pictures. Companies often use stock photos to promote their business, especially when it is more important to convey a certain corporate image or company personality.

So my flyers and promotional crap mostly use bought or free stock photos. If people want to see our actual work we have a website and portfolio for that. No one has ever asked if I made the cabinetry on the catalog cover, but I often get compliments on the professional looking layout and photography.

From the original questioner:
You are dead on. Thank you so much! Our work has and always will speak for itself. Few kitchens are big enough for a real professional shot without a lot of elaborate equipment! And I doubt anyone will ask if the photo on the trailer is ours. If so I have no problem telling them it's a commercial shot and show them the real thing.

From contributor J:
I purchased a Canon SLR camera in 2004 and all of our shots have been done with it since. I use Picasa by Google (free) to clean up and size all pics. I photo all before and after (this will save you some heartache). I would encourage all to build a portfolio. This has been a very good investment for me.