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Stock Photos Were Made For Marketers

Stock photos were made for marketers

Not all businesses use stock photos as a source of imagery in their ads, social posts or content for their website.

While using creative tools such as photoshop and illustrator are great ways to create imagery for marketing content, it does however increase your time and money spent trying to perfect your creative abilities.

This is why stock photography can be so helpful to busy people out there. Whether you’re looking to add stock photography to your display ads or a fun social media post, it is critical to have a visual element that helps appeal to your target audience. Even better, images people can relate to – such as human or real life photography can increase engagement with users who are seeing your content. 

This makes stock photography a very helpful tool for modern day marketers.

What is stock photography?

Stock photos are a library of photos, illustrations and icons available for public use.

They are licensed, usually for a fee, to individuals or organizations for use in marketing materials, websites, packaging, book covers and more.

Stock photos are meant to be generic and are often easy to spot when you see one.

That being said, they are surprisingly effective when using them for your marketing materials. They can be great in ads, social posts and content for your website.

Let’s take a look at how and why you should use stock photos!

1. Find stock photos that look unique

Most of us have come across a stock image somewhere – they are hard to miss.

Maybe it’s a couple of people in suits smiling at a computer or a lady holding an orange. Stock photography is often stigmatized as cheesy and boring as there are thousands of photos alike. With that said, you want to stay away from those types of stock photos.

Users are less likely to be engaged in your content if it doesn’t excite or resonate with them.

For example, while picking a photo that matches the tone and message may seem ideal, it is often boring and uninteresting to the user.

Consider how well a photo will compel users to click and move along your marketing funnel. Use photos that bring emotion or a sense of curiosity.

Spending time on finding quality photos is important in ensuring your users are compelled to your content.

2. Un-stock your stock photos

Once you have found the perfect image, it still may not be the perfect fit for your content.

And that’s okay!

Luckily, it’s super simple to edit stock photos whether it be a free tool like Canva or a more advanced, paid tool like Photoshop.

Here are some elements you can add to your stock photos:

Add text

Images are used for different purposes.

Often text is very useful in featured image snippets for blog posts. For example, when you see a blog post on LinkedIn, you will always see an image that links to the blog itself.

Adding text such as the title of your blog post will give more context around what your blog is about. As well, it will provide the user instant clarification on what they are about to click on. 

Use a color overlay

This is a great way to incorporate your branding colors.

Color is one of the most important aspects of design as it catches the eye of the user. It helps set the tone, create an atmosphere and convey emotions that evoke individual experiences.

Bright colors that don’t take away from the image itself are recommended.

Crop the image

This is a great tool for capturing a specific part of the image that you want to emphasize.

If your image ratio is too big, it also gives you the ability to bring it down to your desired size.

Blur the background 

Blurring the background is a great way to emphasize text on an image. It makes it clearer for the user to read, and at the same time it gives a creative effect to the image itself.

Using a combination of image and text, while blurring the background can give off a professional look.

3. Use real life images that create emotion and connection

As mentioned above – using images that are very common such as people dressed in work clothes looking happy, are not so appealing to users.

Why is that? Images like these often feel ingenuine and staged, which don’t create a great connection with the user.

With that in mind, it is important to have a genuine human emotion in your stock photo as a way to pull in members of your audience who can relate to those pictured human emotions.

For example, a group of friends laughing in a natural setting is much more likely to appear genuine than some guy posing in front of a wall.

Humans relate to other humans, so using images where the emotion feels genuine and that support the message you are trying to get across will be sure to increase engagement levels with the user.

4. Incorporate simplistic images

When choosing your images, you may be tempted to choose the brightest and busiest image of them all.

However, it is best to stick to clean, crisp and clear images that won’t interfere with your messaging. In other words, you don’t want your image to take away from the content you are putting out there.

Your image should act as supporting material.

Of course, it is generally the first thing a user will see, however, you want to make sure that is not the only thing the user is attracted to.

When choosing your stock photo, you want to ask yourself what you want your audience to feel at first glance of seeing your image. Once you have decided on the emotion you want to portray, choose a stock photo that displays that simply and effectively.

5. Use images that compliment your content and brand

The key to using stock photos and ensuring they fit well into your marketing strategy is making sure they are on brand.

This is easily attainable, especially if you incorporate other elements into your photos.

Use of color is super important in ensuring your photos fit with your brand. You want to make sure the colors you are using are the exact ones on your website. Even incorporating your brand logo is a good way to be recognized when posting content.

Diversity of images, to ensure your content is different and exciting is also especially important.

Lastly, don’t forget to make sure the font you use is consistent with the text on your website!