First, let me start by apologizing to LL28.
I don’t know if you’re male or female, but you’re a very talented photographer who continues to make a killing within the solar industry.
The quality of your work is outstanding, LL28 – as evidenced by the countless solar energy firms across the globe that borrow liberally from your online portfolio of stock images.
So why the apology?
The problem is that the industry tends to overuse your images. This one in particular seems to crop up with unbelievable frequency.
I applaud your work, having used many of your photos in the past. But the solar image landscape needs to change a bit. And I’m urging firms to diversify their photos for the greater good.
Why Are Repetitive Stock Images Bad?
I’m not entirely sure that repetitive images are so bad for the solar industry as a whole. But for individual companies, it makes differentiation harder.
How can a company market the uniqueness of its offerings if its offerings (at first glance) are not so unique?
It’s like wearing the same dress as someone else to a cocktail party.
I acknowledge that with a commodity like solar energy, there are only so many ways you can “re-position” solar panels. Once you’ve exhausted blue skies, rooftops, sunsets, and installation crews, there’s only so much you can do with a standard PV module.
And let’s be clear – I’m not a photographer and have no images of my own to add.
So what do I propose instead?
Weaning Ourselves Off of LL28’s Solar Image Monopoly
The LL28 stranglehold won’t be easy to break. Like I said, he/she takes great photos and they’re easy to search.
Below are a few alternatives.
1. Go Internal
My first recommendation is to use internal photography instead of stock images.
True, you probably won’t get the same caliber of photos with the perfect composition and stylistic flare. But “real” photos add a human element that resonates with many web surfers.
- If you run a solar installation school, include images of the countless happy students who pass through your doors. In fact, you can even hand out t-shirts on the last day of training to make the images more uniform.
- If you’re a professional installer, include photos of the homeowners and businesses you’ve served. Real smiles from real customers go a long way.
- If you manufacture PV modules, throw in pix from the company picnic or last year’s Xmas party. You don’t need solar imagery on all your pages. Just people being people.
2. Use Other Solar Stock Images
LL28 has quality work, but there are tons of excellent solar stock images online.
iStockPhoto and GettyImages are two of my favorites due to their wide selections and advanced search features. You can get pretty stunning photos if you limit your searches to “creative” rather than “editorial.”
But don’t limit yourself to these 2 libraries. Check out this list of alternatives.
3. Don’t Use Solar Images At All
Most of your visitors get it. You make, sell, teach, or install solar energy. There’s no need to bombard your customers at every turn with image after image of solar PV panels and sheepishly grinning installers.
Sure, use some solar photos for your main pages. But be sure to branch out. Get creative.
- If you have a page that talks about incentives and rebates, show images of money, piggybanks, or happy homeowners.
- If you have a page that talks about solar training and career opportunities, show graduation ceremonies or job interviews.
You get the idea.
Please Don’t Hate Me LL28
You’ve had a great run and will continue to make oodles off of your solar portfolio. This one post will hardly make a dent in your profits.
But to those of you who actually read this, please please please begin varying the images on your site a bit more. In a follow up post, I’ll outline a great way to find stock images you can use for free.
In the meantime, share your thoughts down below.