When I first started blogging I looked down on stock photos (shame on me). I wondered why people would ever use them and felt pride in the fact that I took all of my own photos. Hah! How naive… If only I knew how they useful they could be when it comes to branding a blog or business.
Now I live for stock photos. I still take my own photos when I can, but when I’m in a pinch, or custom photos aren’t necessary, stock photos are this girls best friend. They save time, are professional in their appearance, and these days you can find a stock photo to fit just about whatever project you’re working on.
However if you’re anything like how I was, you may be wondering what in the world you could possibly use the photos for. There are plenty of ways to use stock photos so let’s get into it!
The first thing that comes to mind for me is pinnable graphics, or pins. While the words you choose to put on your pins are important, the image, or images, are equally as important. You want them to be bright, high-quality and aesthetically pleasing.
People are naturally drawn to images that are pretty, easy to look at and professional. I mean just think about all those outfits, gorgeous kitchens, and makeup that people love to pin to their boards.
You can read more about what makes a good pin by reading this post, but using stock photos in your pins is a good place to start. Combined with the right combination of text, stock photos will help you create engaging pins that people want to click on and save.
If you purchase a pack of stock photos, like the ones available in my shop, you can use them over and over again to create a consistent look for your blog and brand. People will come to recognize your pins, and if they like you’re content they’re more likely to click on over to your blog.
Twitter & Facebook Images
I guess this counts as 2 uses, but I’m grouping them together. When you use the same image for your Twitter header and Facebook cover photo, people won’t have to guess whether the accounts belong to you or not. They’ll just know because your accounts will have the same images associated with them.
Pro Tip: This also applies to the profile image you use. Whether you choose to use your logo or an image of you to brand yourself online, make sure the image is the same across all platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc.).
You can use a stock photo of your choosing as the background of your image and then overlay text over. You can also just post the image itself. Either is fine, just keep it consistent.
This is what my Twitter and Facebook profiles look like right now; note that the same profile and header images are used. These images were made using Canva with images I took myself.
Related Reading: 10 Places To Find Free Stock Photos
Featured Images For Blog Posts
This is one of the simplest and best ways to use stock photos. A nice, professional looking feature image will set the tone for your post and let people know that your posts content is also professional and high quality. No one will want to click on your post if the feature image isn’t pretty!
Stock images are also great to use within your blog posts. People don’t like to read giant chunks of text, it’s just the way it is. Adding in an image or two, depending on the length of your post, will help to break things up.
The featured image, and other images throughout this post, are from my own stock photography shop which you can visit here.
Instagram and Instagram Stories
These days, stock photos aren’t all women eating salads and groups of people laughing. You would be surprised by just how many people use stock images to post to Instagram. They can be a great way to fill in your content schedule and keep with a consistent theme i.e. brand.
Do you post photos that are mainly pink? Find a pack of stock photos like the pink makeup pack to post when you don’t have your own images. This way you can still post consistently without the pressure of taking your own photos.
Stock photos are also great for Insta stories. I like to use the app Unfold to create images to post when I have new blog posts, products to promote or announcements. See down below for an example from when I announced my affiliate program!
These images are just a step above what you can do right from Instagram and they leave a lasting impression.
Related Reading: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Growing Your Instagram
eBook Covers & Other Digital Products
The last way to use stock photos are for eBook covers or other digital products. You have to make sure that it’s within your rights to do so, but if you’re able go for it! Stock photos speed up the process of creating a cover and saves you the cost of hiring a designer. That means more money for you! You can use tools like Canva, PicMonkey or Photoshop to create the final cover.
Other Digital Products You Can Use Stock Photos For:
- online courses
- opt-in freebies
- landing pages to sell your products
There you have it, five ways to use stock photos as a blogger! Next time you’re stressing about not having the right photo remember that there are great stock photos available to you. Take full advantage of them!
Don’t forget to grab five free photos before you leave.
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