Unless you take your own photos, your brand needs stock photography! Why? Did you know that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than to just plain text? If you want to know about the stats, click here. Needless to say, us humans are visual creatures, and a website without images isn’t one that will gain much attention. But, there can be a trick on how to brand stock photography for your own website so it’s more, well…you!
So, want to know the secrets on how you can use stock photography successfully for your brand or website? Let’s go!
#1 Be Picky
There are a lot of great images out there and you’ll probably notice the same images popping up in the online world. And you know what? That’s totally fine! You shouldn’t feel discouraged to use a stock photo that someone else has used. And if you are worried, there are always ways to edit the photo to make it look different.
We live in an online world now where it’s very easy to be distracted by the shiny things. That doesn’t mean we can’t take inspiration from someone else’s work, but you shouldn’t be trying to imitate everything about their brand. At the end of the day, YOU are your brand and you need to accurately reflect that when you choose your images. That’s when you need to know how to brand stock photography for your website.
If you’re just starting out, or you’re thinking of re-branding, grab a whiteboard (or large piece of paper) and start throwing out words that YOU feel about your brand.
When I was creating Plush Content Co. this is exactly what I did! I sat down with my boyfriend, and wrote down 5 different categories on a whiteboard – sound, taste, smell, touch, site – yes, these are the 5 senses.
I had a clear vision for my brand but had no idea what to call it. I started writing down words like mint, cinnamon, coffee, tea, luxe, flowers, chocolate – everything that I felt my brand was.
…after staring at the whiteboard numerous times over the next few days, I came up with Plush.
Anyway, the point is, know your brand FIRST and then choose images that stay true to your brand.
#2 How Will You Design Your Stock Photos? – How To Brand Stock Photography
Before purchasing any stock photo packs, make sure you have a clear intention of exactly what you need the pictures for.
Are they for a specific blog post, or series of posts? Are they for website headers or images for your homepage? Are they for social media, perhaps your instagram feed?
All these potential uses for photos should be taken into consideration because it’s your money after all! You don’t want to buy a package, look through the photos and then realise it isn’t quite what you’re looking for. That’s why I give you guys a free look into all my packages so you know EXACTLY what photos you’re gonna get, and what dimensions they’ll be.
I get it, it’s hard to part with money sometimes, so I try and give you all the info you need before you make your purchase.
You’ll also want to take into consideration photos you plan on using for text overlay. For example, photos with large negative white spaces are great for adding text to. For example, in my Plush Pink Collection, I’ve made sure you have a variety of photos with negative white space so you have more flexibility with adding text.
#3 Images Help With SEO Optimisation
When writing a blog post, it’s great to have at least 1-2 images embedded within the text to help with your SEO. I’d recommend creating a Pinterest image to place at the start of your article (just after your intro) so people can easily pin that straight to their Pinterest account. *If you’re not familiar with the power of Pinterest yet, definitely give that a google!
Make sure though when you’re uploading your photos that they are named appropriately. For example, the Pinterest image in this article is named ‘How to use stock photography for your brand’. It’s all about using keywords even in your image titles.
Don’t forget as well to always change the alt tag from the back end of your website for your photo. For those using WordPress, when you upload the photo to your media library, on the right hand side there will be a little section for ‘alt’. I usually just copy and paste the title of the photo into the alt tag section.
#4 Customise and Stand Out!
I’ve used stock photos before and still do on a blog that I co-manage. And yes, I see the same photos pop up in other people’s instagram feeds, Pinterest, blog articles…everywhere. I always try to customise the image to ensure a) it’s on brand with our blog and b) it actually looks different to how someone else has used it.
As mentioned previously, text overlay is a great customisation tool! I’m a massive fan of Canva if you’re looking for something free online.
By now, you should have a colour palette for your brand. For example for Plush Content Co. my colour palette is a pastel purple, grey and white. I used specific colour codes to ensure consistency which leads me to my next point for customisation.
#5 Stay Consistent!
Consistency is key! Yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s completely true. Sure you can shake it up every now and then if you’re not happy with your colour palette or you need a bit of a change. That’s fine! Blogs grow, and it’s natural to want to change up your style a bit.
But just be careful you don’t do this too much! When you post, people should be able to recognise your work. Take Pinterest for example. A consistent branded pin template works wonders. If people love your blog, when they scroll through their feed, you want them to be able to spot your pin just by recognising the style, rather than reading a description. When you know how to brand stock photography for your website, it becomes a lot easier for your audience as well to identify you.
Staying consistent with your brand holds so much power. So, with that said, I have a little task for you to do. Take 10 minutes out of your day to analyse your brand. Look at your social media accounts, look at your photos and ask yourself these questions:
- Am I happy with what I see?
- Are you completely satisfied with the style of photos you’re using for your business?
- If someone was scrolling through their feed, would they be able to instantly recognise my brand?
- Does your styling stand out enough that people would recognise it’s you?
- Am I using my brand’s colours in my promotions, photos, social media platforms etc?
- Using your brand’s colours is an easy way to ensure stock photos stay on brand
- How much engagement am I getting on social media?
- If you’re a blogger, you’ll know what I mean! Platforms like Instagram, FB, and Pinterest are extremely visual and contribute a lot to your engagement. If you’re not achieving the engagement you want, try shaking things up with your photos to see what works. It’s all about trial and error.
Let’s Sum That All Up!
If you’re wondering how how to brand stock photography successfully for your website/blog/business, these 5 things can seriously perk up your branding. Be picky, stay consistent, have a vision, optimise for SEO and always try to customise your photos!
I’d love to know how you style your own stock photos to reflect your brand! Leave me a comment below with your tips and tricks.
Want 4 FREE stock photos every month straight to your inbox? Then let’s start chatting! Just click here!