Stock photos are the Cinderella of advertising – they may not sweep the floor or wash the dishes, but can just as well good because they are so often misused and underestimated.
Have you ever cringed at a blatantly irrelevant and grossly clichéd image used to illustrate a low-end blog or consulting company?
Smiling people in suits and too much makeup isn’t all there is to stock photography, so let’s look at some of the best ways to use it in your marketing.
1. In the background
Whether or not you employ a professional photographer and designer to create your visual content, you want your giveaway announcement or event invitation to look professional. In order to get the best of both worlds, use stock photos to create visual designs – add visuals, fonts and frames to draw attention away from the image and onto your main information.
Once your featured stock image becomes a background, its humble stock image origins become all the less apparent.
As long as your topic doesn’t require a photo of your product, facility, or employees, use a themed stock image as a background for announcements or invitations. Take your time browsing the stock images to find the one that best suits your needs – I swear I have a pair of scissors exactly like this at home:
2. Mixology isn’t just for drinks
Don’t pack your website or blog solely with stock images – have your own photographs to add to the mix and combine both types of artwork to get the best of both worlds.
Stock photos will provide the coveted professional touch, while the authenticity should come from yours. As long as the two are alike in style, color, and composition, you’re golden.
3. Filter out the banality
Stock images are taken and edited by professional photographers and are distributed as such – perfect composition, excellent balance of light and dark, sharp image, near perfect color play and no imperfections.
This sleek look is what betrays the stock nature of the images, so try to make it a little coarser by using various filters that make the photo more like the ones you or your staff have taken. Create a black and white image, change the brightness or use various filters to customize your design.
Let’s take a generic shot of a nondescript girl enjoying her empty teacup at a friend’s house:
Add a frame:
Upload the image, then browse for the templates you want to use. Choose one and upload the modified stock image you just saved in the background (see our tip #1). Type your text and change its color, if necessary:
Upload your final design:
4. Don’t be afraid of the hypothetical
If you’ve ever read guides on using stock imagery, you’ve probably noticed that the general consensus is that using stock imagery for brochures or mockups is completely fine, but Why ? Well, people tend to be less “judged” about your use of stock photography when the subject you are trying to illustrate is purely hypothetical and/or will take place in the future. Play this to your advantage – use archival footage to illustrate future events, but hurry – this trick will likely only hold until humanity invents a time machine.)
Let’s take an example: let’s say you’re hosting a raffle for your customers and your main prize is a movie night at the Dolby Theater (now The Dolby Theatre). Unless you’re a popcorn producer, no one will mind if you use a stock photo to illustrate your ad.
5. Humor me
With stock footage being the subject of much ridicule, it seems only natural that you try to use your keen sense of humor (if any) when using such footage. No matter how fun and imaginative your wall of text is, everyone needs a reading break once in a while (or every 10 seconds, as has been the trend in recent years), so don’t hesitate. not to use archive images to lighten your documents. and be fun about it.