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” your stock photos to make them look more unique to your brand!
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 images 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.
Many styled stock photos have excess whitespace 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 most 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 a few different ways I’ve customized styled stock photos for my brand – in the top left image I’ve added “hello” text on the gold clipboard using my brand font / color, in the top right I’ve overlaid a screenshot from my website on the laptop screen, in the bottom left image I’ve added a large color overlay at 50% opacity with text on top, and in the bottom right image I’ve added a smaller color overlay at 100% opacity with text on top. These are just a few ways you can add text or other brand elements to your stock photos to make them more unique to your business.
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 excess white 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!
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 (center image) and how it could be cropped / rotated to create 4 completely different images. In addition to these examples, it’s also the image I used for the main title graphic for this blog post!
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!
CUSTOM 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 if you’re ready to elevate your brand with styled images that are completely unique to your business, I recommend investing in custom brand photography ;)
Prefer to DIY your own brand images?
Check out this post for the best resources for Instagram props and don’t miss the Shopbop Spring sale (ends April 14th at 11:59pm PT) to save up to 20% on orders under $500 or 25% on orders over $500 – just use code EVENT17 at checkout! (full details here) I’ll be stocking up on home decor items and some pretty stationery!
How are you customizing stock photos for your brand?
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