How do you create the ideal vision of your brand or company so you can attract and engage your audience? Low quality stock images won’t achieve your end goal – brand loyalty and better conversions. Rather, choosing stock photos that are high quality allows you to develop a consistent visual experience across your ads, blog, website design, and other marketing materials.

With millions of stock photographs available for sale, it may at first seem overwhelming. The truth is, it can be easier than you think to hone in and choose a look and feel that matches your company’s branding and philosophy.

Follow these best practices for choosing stock photos that leave a lasting impression.

7 Tips for Choosing Stock Photos

First Determine Your Company’s Theme or Style

Stock photos can convey mood or strike a chord with emotion. Find the right look and feel for your company, whether it’s a light and airy look, bright and fun vibe, darker scenes, or something more abstract.

For example, we are a West Coast-based business and use beautiful nature photos of the area rather than sticking with decade-old marketing photos that might not adequately represent a topic. Developing a theme like this can help your brand aesthetic by creating a cohesive messaging that is professional and recognizable. Embrace the vibe you that want to excite others about your company!

sailing man reading tablet computer on boat with modern technology and carefree retired senior successful lifestyle

Use images to tell the story of your brand and give people a feel for your business.

Set a Budget for Your Stock Photo Needs

Try to estimate how many photos you will need for different projects each month. While some free sites do have some great images, don’t rely on them. Free stock photo sites generally aren’t the best choice when it comes carefully curating your brand messaging and other vital business needs.

Secure Proper Rights and Licensing

When choosing stock photos, be sure to select the usage license that makes sense for your needs. Consider factors like how many times you’ll use an image and where you’ll publish it. Save and track the license info somewhere to protect your business assets.

Be Mindful of the Models You Choose

If your stock photos require models in the shots, avoid using mainstream models who are widely known, especially those that appear in memes. Choose stock photos with a model that your target market would reasonably identify with or embrace, but remeber that representation is important.

Get Creative with Allusion and Imagery

Allusion drops a hint about the ideas you want to call to mind rather than relying on tired and overplayed visuals and poses. Opt instead for symbolism when choosing stock images, illustrating growth with trees or roads conveying opportunity.

Sometimes a figurative image is a better choice than a bad literal stock photo.

Allow Figurative Representation to Deliver Complex Messages

Literal presentation of ideas becomes dull over time. Figurative illustrations keep messaging interesting and can also illustrate complex or sensitive topics. Likewise, some topics may present challenges in finding just the right stock images to convey the desired message. For example, a more abstract stock photo could likely do a better job illustrating cybersecurity than a hooded hacker at a screen.

Avoid Stock Photos that LOOK Like Stock Photos

Most importantly, photos that look as if they’re trying too hard likely are, especially when it comes to photos of people. If it feels too posed or fake to you, it most likely will to those visiting your site or viewing your ads as well. Instead, try choosing stock photos that appear realistic and authentic. Search for stock images that feel genuine and evoke emotion. Candid photos and day-in-the-life style pictures come across more natural and often carry stronger, more relatable marketing value. Steer clear of the cheesy, overdone and very obvious stock images.

Building Your Brand with RFDM

Choosing the right stock images allows you to establish trust between your audience and your brand. You may even consider peppering in a few real photos on your website or blog for this purpose. Lean into these best practices for choosing stock photos to strengthen your marketing and business endeavors. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then consistent messaging truly can impact your company’s outlook and bottom line! Contact us for a free consultation on branding or web design.

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