Your studio or physical location is an important part of your branding, and of course, you want to feature it on your website and posts. But you might not always have the time to prep and hold a photoshoot!
High-quality and professional-looking photos can make a difference when it comes to social engagement and authority but they take time and money. So, what can you do?
The answer is stock photography.
Here me out. If you’re really firm in your brand understanding and aesthetic, stock photos are a great resource to complement your existing photos.
Besides, it’s better to have a few high-quality stock photos than no photos at all! They can be great fillers for your blog posts and website in times when you don’t have access to a professional photographer and your phone photos just won’t cut it!
But there’s an art to not coming across as generic with stock photos!
Here’s how you can still maintain your personal connection and tie in the same amazing feeling from your physical location into stock photos!
#1 Match images against your brand voice
While there are plenty of stock photos to use, one thing you must always make sure is how they fit into your own story.
Do they make sense for your brand presence?
Do they fit your tone and voice?
Are these images something your customers would immediately connect with you?
If the images you use don’t portray your brand well, you will lose the familiarity that your customers are used to. Your prospects, on the other hand, will get a very fragmented picture of who you are and what you do if the stock image tells a very different story when compared to your brand’s story.
Top Tip: Have a one-pager with brand image inspiration and guidelines so it’s easy to see if an image is going to fit!
#2 Only use high-quality images
The fit isn’t the only thing – the image resolution also matters.
In fact, according to research, the higher the quality of the images you use, the better the perception of the quality of your brand. Higher-quality images also improve the purchase intention of your prospects, so make sure the stock images are up to the task!
Top Tip: Pay attention to the resolution of each of the platforms you want to post on, they’ll all have minimum resolutions or your images will come up blurry and that can really damage your brand.
#3 Learn your rights
Using stock images does come with a caveat and that is that you have to worry about copyright and usage rights. Some images aren’t allowed to be used by businesses, edited, or used at all without express permission from the owner. So, no matter which site you use, always check the rights and usage of the photograph.
When it comes to sourcing images, make sure you set up the filters on Google Image Search correctly. Because more often than not, the results will be mainly copyrighted images that you’re not allowed to use.
You can find the filters under the tools button > menu > “Usage rights” filters. Under those filters, make sure you only select the “labeled for reuse” or “labeled for reuse with modification,” options depending on what you intend to do with them.
If you find images that you can reuse, make sure to double-check whether you are allowed to modify them or you can only use them as they are.
Top Tip: While the image search is a good option, it’s usually better to go to specialised websites when looking for high-quality images and there are free or paid options depending on your budget.
#4 Check for copyright on sourced photos
It’s also important to be wary of where you source your photos from. Many sites promise free stock photos, but in reality, they are just blatantly stealing the photos from other websites and businesses, trying to offer them as ‘royalty- free images’ which still sees you liable for the copyright infringement.
So, how can you be sure an image you found is not stolen?
A quick reverse image search can give you a clue. It will generally reveal where the image was used and you might find mentions about the author on those sites.
If you do, finding the original image source should be easy, and then you can check what licenses were put in place by the image author. If the author has prohibited the use of their photos for commercial purposes, it’s better to steer clear altogether.
Top Tip: If there’s an overlay, logo, or watermark over the image, it’s definitely copyrighted, and you can’t use it without contacting the owner to see their terms first. You’d be surprised how many people don’t realise this!
#5 Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
Just because you’re using stock photos doesn’t mean you are reserved to just using bland and boring options of researching ‘studio’ or ‘desk’. Get clever and creative. Perhaps your branding has emphasis on a particular colour or emotion that you can focus on instead.
If you’re writing a blog post, could you draw on something in the specifics that would make the photo unique? The more creative you are, the more your audience will appreciate you, and honestly it’s not that much extra work!
Top Tip: Think of your audience and what they like when coming up with creative alternatives. You could make all of your stock images landscape photos if they love nature or are eco-aware. Appealing to their interests rather than your specific content.
#6 Paid options can be an excellent compromise
Not all stock photos are free to use, but even if you have to pay for them, they are a low-cost solution and a more affordable alternative than hiring a pro photographer.
Most stock photo sites have monthly subscription models that range anywhere from $30 onwards. The cheapest plans usually include at least 10 high-quality stock photos per month, so the price really depends on how many photos you need. If you plan to use just a few, the lowest price package will be more than enough and it’s an excellent halfway point!
Paid sites also offer you more variety and less of a chance that your competitors are using the same ones!
I personally recommend checking out stock photos for health and wellness brands from Wellness Stock Shop.
Top Tip: you can usually browse the photo selection first to see if the types of photos on the site fit with your aesthetic before you pay.
#7 Reuse/revamp old photos
Finally, when you can’t get a hold of new images and stock photos just don’t cut it for what you had in mind, you can always dig into your existing photos and repurpose them. This is the cheapest option, but keep in mind that it will still cost you your time!
Top Tip: Canva is an excellent tool for this if you’re in a pinch because you can create a fresh looking template and then just add your existing photos to it!
Ways To Repurpose Existing Photos
Building on my final point, you can start repurposing your old photos (and videos) straight away – it’s not just limited to blog posts. Here are my favourite ways to edit existing photos to repurpose them:
Editing colours and tones
You can breathe in some new life to your existing photos by changing the colour tones – give them a summer view with warm tones, or go for a black and white edit if you’re referring to some past obstacles and challenges to make them more emotive.
You can also bring your editing game up a notch by adding text, icons or other elements to give them a new focus.
Have a series of photos that would work well together, and can be used to show the journey of a client of yours or your own? Make a collage and give a whole new meaning to your images.
Use as backgrounds
One great way you can use existing photos is as a background for motivational quotes or CTAs. All you have to do is play around with the colours and saturation a bit so that the text you put on them is clearly visible. Psst. This is also where my template tip comes in handy!
Give a new perspective
Whether you’ve shared a wide image and then crop, or you’ve zoomed in and ignored the wider picture, you can use your originals to offer a new perspective!
It’s all about how you share them. If you do a throwback picture on social then reusing your images makes sense. You could also use some of your ‘reject’ pictures here for some behind-the-scenes images to build a connection!
Sourcing new images doesn’t have to be hard
The global COVID-19 pandemic made all of us change our business practices, moving many wellness brands online. But this means setting up a photo shoot right now isn’t an option! But using stock images can save you a ton of time and money, now and in the future!
If you’re not sure which images would work best for your brand, or what types of edits would make sense, drop me a message and I’ll help you create beautiful graphics that are in tune with your branding.