Branding Your Stock Photos to Make Them Yours

Stock photography is an inexpensive way to use photos in your business–without having the expense of a branded photoshoot. But throwing stock photos onto your website or on your social posts without making them “yours” doesn’t help build up your brand; it breaks it down. People will start consuming your content, but won’t know where it came from. So that amazing post? It goes unnoticed by the people you most want to reach. 

Photos and other branded images are a great way to draw attention to a blog or Facebook post or even to break up a story in Instagram. The more you’re out there, the more you’ll stay top-of-mind.

You’ve taken the time to establish a recognizable brand so your audience recognizes your content based on the aesthetic you use. So how do do you use your branding when you’re buying and using stock photos? Easy!

  1. Choose photos that are consistent to your message and theme. While you don’t need to match your brand colors exactly with stock photos, it is important that they have a similar look. Pay attention to the tone as well as the elements present in the photos. For example, an accountant probably wouldn’t want a camera and bright-colored glitter in their images unless it fit with their brand messaging. (And if that’s the case, give me that accountant’s number!)
  2. Look for space for your messaging. Busy photos don’t leave much empty space to add your messaging, so if you’re planning to include text on the photos make sure there’s room for that. And if you’re in love with a photo that doesn’t have blank space? Add a shaded overlay and place the text on that. 
  3. Pay attention to colors and fonts. When you developed your logo and website, you likely worked with a designer to create a brand board. Go back to this and make sure to use your brand colors and fonts when adding text to your stock photos.
  4. Add your logo. If you’re using photos on social media, you need to make sure to own it. Add your logo and even your domain to the images you use. I’ve also seen business owners use their initials or favicon in the corner to identify the image as theirs.
  5. Crop for specific uses. The stock photos you buy don’t have to be used as-is. Check the terms of use first, but know that you can likely crop them to fit your needs. Need to get rid of something in the background? Use Photoshop or Canva to crop it out! Is there direction off? Flip the photo! Make it work for you, where you need it to fit. 

If you’re ready to start using fresh, original stock photos for your business, check out my stock shop. You can subscribe and receive new images every month or buy individual photos that fit your needs. I add new photos regularly.
Not finding what you need? Let me know! I’m happy to take new ideas into consideration during my next photoshoot!


Questions or comments? Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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© Crystal Hollman, Crystal Clear Photography, 2017

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