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How To Effectively Use Stock Images

Tired of endless scrolling through your camera roll for beautifully crafted photos to use on social media? Because same. Stock photos are a great alternative when you’re lacking time, creativity, or hiring a professional photographer just isn’t in the budget.

The Power of Stock Photos

As the saying goes, “a picture’s worth a thousand words”. We have all seen them on websites, social media posts, or ads. The stigma with stock photos of the cheesey handshakes and the dreaded coffee mug shot we see on advertisements or the people who look wayyy to happy to be in an office setting at work.

Aside from these I think stock photos can add value when chosen and used correctly and I have put together some tips to help.

Types of Stock Photos (avoid getting in trouble)

This may be a given but you can’t simply google and image and use the photo as your own. Here are the various licensing for stock photo use. (source: wordstream)

Public domain (PD): If you’re not big into legal jargon and would rather just not mess around with licenses, then this is the way to go. Any stock photographs that are in the PD category are free game to use without a license. 

Royalty Free (RF): A royalty-free license on a stock photo is the next most common license you’ll see when shopping around. This typically allows for a one-time payment that then will allow you, the advertiser, to use the photograph across several mediums without needing to re-purchase a license. Ex. Deposit photos, shutterstock, gettty images.

Right Managed (RM): RM licenses are common stock photography licenses that allow for one-time use of the stock image specified by the license. This may not be the most convenient way of using stock photos in ads. If you wants to use the photograph in a second ad or on a different platform,  then you’ll need to purchase another license. 

Note: As long as they are labeled for commercial use, you can use stock photos in multiple designs and projects with a for-profit purpose, including websites, marketing and advertising, branding, and more.

How to Choose Stock Photos

  1. Choose an image that is relevant to your message and brand.
  2. Filter by “most downloaded” on the site to avoid picking a photo that is overused.
  3. Use keywords when searching that go along with what the photo is being used for.
  4. Use humans in the photos when possible, people emotionally connect to these more than just a boring graph or coffee cup.

How & Where to Use Stock Photos

A number of places you can use stock photos:

  1. Your website
  2. Social media
  3. Advertisements
  4. Blog posts
  5. Graphics
  6. Email marketing

I have found the best strategy is to use a variety of your personal photos, graphics, and sprinkle in stock photos to break them up. You can see this on my Instagram.

Sites I like for Stock Photos

  1. Deposit Photos
  2. Adobe Stock
  3. Shutterstock
  4. Kaboom Photos

Download 20 Free Fall Stock Photos

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