Stock Photos

4 Myths About Stock Photos (And What You Really Need to Know)

4 myths about stock photos - why styled stock photos can be a great affordable photography resource and what you need to know about using stock photos for your brand.

So I know stock photos sometimes get a bad reputation when it comes to using them as images for your business. There are also myths about stock photos. But I know that 1) not everyone can afford custom images for their business 2) not everyone has the time to take their own photos and 3) even if people have the time, they’d rather spend it on other things (like binge-watching netflix, drinking wine, or actually spending time with their family)!

Stock photos can be great way to create a cohesive visual brand across your marketing channels, especially if you have a new business and want to make the most of your budget!

Unfortunately, not all stock photos are created equal. When you understand some of the myths and misconceptions around using stock photos, you can ensure that you choose the right kind for your business!

Myth #1 – Free Stock Photos Are All Bad

Free stock photos are easily accessible for a wide range of people. While that’s very convenient, it also means that A TON of people are using them. If you want to create a unique visual brand for your business, using free stock photos is probably not the best choice, but free stock photos aren’t necessarily all bad. There are plenty of websites that have free stock photos that could be a good fit for your business. It’s definitely going to take some digging and some research to find great free images… but it might be worth it to convey your brand in a more attractive way. (PS you can grab 20 free feminine stock photos RIGHT HERE!)

If you want to create a unique visual brand for your business, using free stock photos is probably not the best choice...Click To Tweet

Myth #2 – Paid Stock Photos Are Expensive

Stock photos are actually available at a wide range of prices. They certainly don’t have to be free or wildly expensive. Websites like Creative Market and Etsy are full of beautiful stock photos at a reasonable price. They are also a number of sites that offer affordable stock photo memberships where you can download a certain number of stock photos every month. And if you’re looking for a stock photo membership where you have instant access to download an unlimited number of photos, there’s the Styled Stock Society – where you can get instant access to over 2,000 photos for less than $20/month.

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Myth #3 – You Don’t Have to Credit the Photographer

The terms of use associated with stock photos differs depending on the photographer and copyright owner. It’s really important to understand how you can and can’t use your stock photos when you’re using them for your business. Some sites come with licenses that allow you to use stock photos for both personal and commercial use, while sometimes they’re just for personal use. Sometimes you have to credit the photographer and other times you don’t. In fact, you may only be able to use images a certain number of times based on the photo license. It’s really important to understand the full terms of use when using stock photos for your business because you want to make sure that you’re using them legally.

(If you’re using my stock photos, credit is never required… but it’s always appreciated!)

Myth #4 – You Can’t Customize Stock Photos To Fit Your Brand

Depending on the terms of use of your stock photos, you may be able to customize them to fit your brand. You could add color overlays, filters, or text in your brand fonts. You might also be able to crop, rotate, or otherwise manipulate the orientation of a stock photo to make it look a little bit different. You might even be able to insert your own product images into stock photos! There are a few different ways you can customize stock photos to be a better fit for your brand – just make sure that the way you use your stock photos isn’t a violation of the terms of use.

Stock photos can be a great way for businesses with a limited budget to create a cohesive visual brand. Just remember that not all stock photos will work for you! It’s really important to find the right stock photos for you that not only represent your brand, but also come with the terms of use that are a good fit for your business.

Are you using stock photos for your business or blog?

Easy Ways to Customize Stock Photos for Your Brand

You probably already know that stock photos can make your life much easier by saving time and $$$, BUT it’s kind of annoying to know that you’re using the same photos as a bunch of other people, right? Luckily there are a few easy ways to customize stock photos for your brand to make them look more unique!

OVERLAY TEXT

You’re probably using stock photos for your blog or social media and adding a text overlay is an easy way to make them look more intentional. You can overlay text for blog post titles, quotes, testimonials or any other promotional messaging for your brand. Use your brand fonts and colors so that your graphics are easily recognizable – even if you are just using stock photos! For example, I use my own stock photos for most of the graphics you see on this blog, but since I’m using consistent fonts / styles for the text all of my blog post graphics have a similar look and are easily recognized when people see them on Pinterest.

OVERLAY COLOR

Many styled stock photos have excess white space where text can easily be added, otherwise you can always add a colored overlay over all or part of the image so that your text stands out. Adding a colored overlay over a whole (or part of an) image is an easy way to make stock photos that aren’t entirely in your brand’s color palette work for you. Since the overlay “hides” most of the colors in the image, you can be a bit more flexible with the stock images you use in this way.

You can also add a colored overlay over only a small portion of an image where you want to add text or other branded elements. If you’re using neutral stock photos this is an easy way to infuse a bit of your brand’s personality into your graphics without distracting too much from the style of the images.

In the examples below, you can see the original image in the top left – I’ve added a light overlay with dark text, a dark overlay with light text, a gradient overlay (a great option if you want to use multiple brand colors), an opaque overlay that covers part of the image, and a transparent overlay that covers part of the image. So as you can see there are a lot of different ways to use color overlays to customized stock photos for your brand!

Customize stock photos using color overlays

OVERLAY YOUR PRODUCT IMAGES

If you sell physical or digital products, use your stock photos to showcase whatever you are selling. You can overlay product images on stock photos with negative space or mockup style images with frames or tech elements where you can insert your work. I love the way The Spotted Olive used one of our stock photos to showcase these festive holiday gift tags on Instagram. You could also use tech mockups to share screenshots from your website, blog, or shop!

In the example below, I’ve used an image from the Styled Stock Society library and added a screenshot of my Subscription Creation Roadmap. This is an easy way to use mockups to promote digital products during launches or promotions and can increase conversions on your sales pages (because it allows people to actually see what you want them to buy)!

CROP / ROTATE / FLIP THEM

Last but not least, instead of sharing stock photos “as is” – most high quality images can be cropped, rotated, and/or flipped for a more unique effect. This is also an easy way to get more bang for your buck since you can crop stock photos in multiple ways and use them multiple times!

In the example below, you’ll see one of the images from the Styled Stock Society and how it could be cropped / rotated to create 4 completely different images to share on Instagram. There are definitely other ways you could crop, rotate, or flip this image to create different graphics for your blog, website, or other social channels so don’t be afraid to play around a bit to see how many ways you can use your styled stock photos!

TIPS FOR CUSTOMIZING STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

If you’re customizing stock photos for your brand using any of these methods, it can be helpful to use certain tools to make the process as simple as possible! Personally I use Adobe Photoshop for most of my customizations but you can use free tools like Canva to add text or other branded elements as well.

  • Create templates – regardless of what tools you are using to customize your stock photos, setting up templates can save you a ton of time. Setting up templates makes it easy to just switch up your stock image and text instead of starting from scratch every time you want to customize something.
  • Be consistent – if you’re adding graphic elements, colored overlays, or filters to your stock photos, you should be consistent with the styles and colors. You want your images to be easily recognizable, so don’t change things up too often!

CUSTOMIZE STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

So those are a few ways to “customize” your stock photos so they are a better reflection of your brand. Stock photos are an affordable option for incorporating high quality visuals into your marketing (and I recommend them, especially if you have a limited marketing budget), but sometimes you may want the images to look more unique to your brand. Luckily there are a lot of different ways to customize stock photos with a little bit of creativity and free tools like Canva.

How are you customizing stock photos for your brand?

10 Ways To Use Styled Stock Photos

10 easy way to use styled stock photos for your blog or online business. Tips on using styled stock photos in creative ways to build your brand and market your business. Get access to styled stock photos for female entrepreneurs and bloggers.

Last month I launched the Styled Stock Society and I’m thrilled that so many business owners and bloggers have already joined! I’m seriously just happy that I can share an affordable resource for feminine styled stock photos and help you save time! Since launching the Styled Stock Society, one of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received is “how can I use these photos” – so today I’m sharing 10 easy ways you can use styled stock photos to enhance your visual brand.

BLOG POST GRAPHICS

If you’re not optimizing your blog post images for Pinterest you’re missing out on a TON of traffic! Pinterest is my biggest source of referral traffic and I know that having consistent, “pinnable” graphics on my blog has made a huge difference. (Go ahead and pin this blog post to share with your Pinterest followers now!) Using stock photos in your blog post graphics can save you a ton of time and ensure you have high quality visuals that your audience is more likely to share. You can find tons of examples of how Styled Stock Society are using photos to create pin-worthy graphics over on our community Pinterest board! 

WEBSITE / BLOG HEADERS

Full disclosure – when it comes to headers or any primary brand images on your website or blog, I recommend using custom stock photos to ensure your brand is unique to you. BUT I know not everyone has the resources to take or hire someone for custom branded photos, so stock photos are an affordable way to have a polished online presence. If you’re using styled stock photos for your website / blog / Etsy shop header / etc. make sure you’re adding custom elements like your brand fonts and colors so that the image still looks specific to your brand!

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SOCIAL MEDIA HEADER GRAPHICS

Facebook and Twitter both allow for custom header images that you should take advantage of to build your brand and attract your target audience. Since these spaces are fairly large, having high resolution images is key – so if you aren’t using your own photos, styled stock images can be an easy way to create beautiful headers.

You can see examples of how I’ve used stock photos on my Twitter and Facebook profile pages!

SOCIAL MEDIA POST GRAPHICS

When you’re constantly posting on social media all day every day, it can definitely be a lot of work (or a lot of $$$) to have social media post graphics ready to go! But keep in mind – visual content is 40x more likely to get share on social media than other types of content, Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement than those without images, and Twitter posts with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images (sources). Stock photos are great for those days when you need filler content for Instagram or images for Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Using stock photos in your blog post graphics can save you a ton of time and ensure you have high quality visuals that your audience is more likely to share.Click To Tweet

EMAIL HEADERS / NEWSLETTER GRAPHICS

You can also use styled stock photos in your emails if you send a regular newsletter to your subscribers (if you don’t do this already, you should). They can add visual interest to email header graphics or specific calls to action, and you can even make them part of your email templates to create a branded effect.

CONTENT UPGRADES / WORKSHEETS/ PDF DOWNLOADS

If you’re looking to jazz up your content upgrades, worksheets, or any sort of opt-in PDF download, adding stock photos is an easy way to make your downloads more visually appealing. Just make sure that if you’re using styled stock photos in your downloads they are overlaid with text or other elements so the images cannot be extracted.

SALES PAGES

Great sales pages have great visuals (are you noticing a trend here?!), and styled stock photos can be an affordable way to jazz up your sales pages for programs, courses, ebooks, etc. Stock photo “mockups” with your branded content are a particularly great way to give your potential clients a peek at whatever you’re selling, but you can also use stock photos to separate blocks of text or highlight certain elements on your sales page.

COURSE SLIDES / WORKBOOKS

When you’re creating and selling online courses, you can also use styled stock photos in your course slides or workbooks to make them a little prettier. Just don’t forget to check the terms of use of any stock photos you are using to make sure you can use them for commercial purposes if you’re going to use them as part of paid products!

PROMOTIONAL GRAPHICS

Finally, you can also use styled stock photos for promotional graphics – so if you’re advertising a sale, a webinar, a special event, or any other promotion, you can use styled stock photos to visually enhance your promotional text or as background images.

ADS

If you’re running online ads to get more eyes on those sales pages (or any opt-ins), you’ll need high quality images as well. You can use styled stock photos for your Facebook ads or other advertising to attract potential customers / clients to your site! Eye-catching graphics can make the difference in someone clicking through on an advertisement (or not), so don’t underestimate the power of visual content when it comes to marketing your brand.

JOIN THE STYLED STOCK SOCIETY

These are just 10 ways you can use styled stock photos for your blog or business – but there are definitely other possibilities. If you’re looking for feminine styled stock photos, don’t forget – membership in the Styled Stock Society is less than $30/month and you can save even more by purchasing an annual or lifetime membership! Find out more about the Styled Stock Society >> right this way!

P.S. – You can also get on my VIP list for free styled stock photos every month. Join below! 

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