How to pick stock photos for your brand

Chances are, you've invested a lot into your business and you probably know that having mediocre images to represent your brand online just won't suffice...but where do you find great images to reflect your brand's unique style and personality? 

Although we've all probably dreamed about having a top-notch photographer in our pocket to help develop our own stunning brand images, for some of us, it isn't quite in the budget. 

Luckily within the last couple years, we've found some new companies with both beautiful and affordable stock photo resources to pull from.

But before jumping right in and filling your cart with great new stock photos for your site - it's important that you know what to look for.  

Here are a few things to consider when curating images for your brand.

1. Know the look + feel of your brand

What adjectives would you use to describe your brand? Start by brainstorming descriptive words that fit the you feel fit your brand's identity. Around here we also refer to these as brand vibe words.

The idea is to take your "vibe words" and look for imagery that will help showcase your brand's personality, so that when a customer lands on your site they get an idea of who you are right away. 

Here's an example; If your brand words are light-hearted, flirty, fun, warm and inviting, then you will most likely want to be searching for light, fun, colorful imagery. (below)

2. Know how you want your user to feel 

Imagery can be a very powerful tool in evoking emotion and/or making your user "feel" a certain way.  

Just think of the social media platforms driven by imagery - pinterest, instagram, even facebook and twitter - often times the people/businesses we tend to follow use imagery that make us feel something, whether it's inspired, encouraged, relaxed, loved or motivated.

If you're not sure how you want your user to feel when experiencing your business, spend some time jotting down emotions that you want a prospect to walk away with. It can also help to visit some well branded sites and make note of what kind of images they are using to draw out a feeling.

For example, if your aim is to make someone feel a sense of adventure and freedom, you might stir up that feeling with scenes of travel, exploration, and nature. 

And, last but not least,

3. Know where you are going to be using the images

It's important to note where you will be placing your images, keeping in mind that often times images will need to be cropped (either top/bottom, or into a square for social media or web buttons, etc).  So, make sure to inspect images carefully to make sure that there is enough space around a specific item or model so that upon cropping you don't lose an important piece, like the model's head!

Note the example below; this site showcases panoramic style images across the banner that have been cropped significantly on the top and bottom. See full site here.

 

Now that you know what type of images fit your unique brand, it's time to start your search!

Here's where we recommend starting, 

  • Stocksy.com - You will not only find beautiful high quality imagery, but it's safe to say you'll be crushing on on the price, with images starting at only $15!
  • Unsplash.com  - Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.
  • Deathtostockphoto.com - Get over 1500 photos to start with and 10+ more delivered to your inbox every week for only $15 a month.
 

Legal Tip: Be sure to always read the licensing clauses carefully! Some licenses to use images may expire after a finite period of time or be limited in scope of use.