Stock photos aren't just pretty; they have so many uses! Use stock photos to elevate your branding, create unity among your blog and social media, and add finishing touches to an opt-in freebie.
There are so many ways stock photos can be used but let's break it down further.
Here are some of the best ways to incorporate stock images into your content:
Featured Blog Images
Using stock photos as the featured image of a blog post is one of the most popular uses of a stock photo. A combination of an eye-catching image and a click-worthy title will draw your readers in! Use an unaltered image or make it your own with text or your own logo.
Break Up Text
Long blog posts are great from an SEO standpoint but they can be hard on a reader's eyes. Use images to break up long chunks of text and to give your reader's eyes a break.
Images also provide a way to add keywords to your blog post without overstuffing or disturbing the flow because they can be hidden in the alt text.
Create Branded Graphics
Styled stock photos are awesome for creating a cohesive brand because they can be used to create custom graphics that fit your brand perfectly.
Look for stock photos that reflect your brand identity and colors. Then use an editing tool like Canva or Pic Monkey to overlay text, logos, and other elements.
Here are some of the places branded graphics can be used:
- Your website
- Writing portfolio images
- Within a digital product or opt-in freebie
- Header images on Twitter and Facebook
- Landing pages
- Emails to your subscribers
- Promotional content (sales announcements, newsletters, etc)
The options are endless!
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Use Stock Photos on Social Media
Having a selection of stock photos to pick from is awesome when you need to post something to Instagram but haven't had time to create an Instagram worthy image. The great thing about stock photos and Instagram is they can help to create a theme in terms of color and imagery, while also making your grid look beautiful.
Styled stock photos also elevate pins on Pinterest and make people more apt to click through to your website or blog. Even better, using styled stock photos that incorporate elements of your brand such as colors and fonts is an awesome way for your pins to be recognized easily on Pinterest.
That can come in handy when someone is debating clicking through because if they recognize your branding, they'll know you're a trusted resource.
My Favorite Way to Use Stock Photos
I use stock photos for pretty much everything I listed above but I also wanted to share the intentional way I use them to create a theme among my blog posts and Pinterest.
Once a blog post is written, the most logical next step is to add images to the blog post to break up large chunks of text but I actually skip that part.
I like to create the pins I'll share on Pinterest first. I do this because I like to play around with pin styles and create at least three pins for each blog post. My favorite of the three is usually my “featured” pin, which I add to the body of my blog post.
Once I know which pin I'll be using, I go back to the actual post and set the featured image to be the same as the stock photo I used in my pin. That way, when someone clicks through to my site from the pin, they know just by looking at the featured image they're in the right place.
Then, I add one or two more stock photos from the same collection of photos or similar themes to my blog post.
This creates a uniform look throughout the whole post rather than having a hodgepodge of images that just sort of tie together and I just love the unity it creates.
Where to Find Free Stock Photos
As easy as it is to find free stock photos on creative commons sites like Pexels and Pixabay, the problem is everyone and their mother seems to know about them! Because so many people are perusing these sites to find their images, it's next to impossible to create totally unique images.
The good news is, there are other options!
Here are three of my favorite places to find stock photos:
I first heard about Pixistock in a Facebook group I had joined and I was immediately intrigued. It wasn't long before Pixistock became my go-to for stock photos! I just love the creative spin Alicia puts on each of her photo collections!
If you're not in the market for a stock photo membership quite yet, sign up for the Pixistock email list. Alicia will send a small collection of free stock photos to your inbox each month
That was how I started out. Eventually, I signed up for a membership so I could get access to the entire stock photo library + the Canva templates.
Here's the cost of a membership with Pixistock:
- Monthly membership = $39
- Quarterly membership = $69
- Annual membership = $199
Not ready for a big commitment?
You can also purchase stock photo bundles!
When I built my first writer's website and portfolio, most of the images I used were from Haute Stock. Haute Stock is tailored to women who are business owners, bloggers, and creative entrepreneurs and that definitely shows in their stock photos. They're seriously so pretty and chic!
Like Pixistock, subscribers to the Haute Stock email list get a few free styled stock photos sent to their inbox each month.
Haute Stock also has quarterly and annual membership options:
- Quarterly membership = $99
- Annual membership = $299
Ivory Mix is another one of my favorites for finding free stock photos. There's a great selection of photos that are perfect for freelancers, creative entrepreneurs, and bloggers. The mix includes office inspired images, pretty flat lays, beauty, and floral images, plus so much more.
The truly exceptional thing about Ivory Mix is people who subscribe to the email list get instant access to 300+ stock photos! Plus, for each month you're subscribed, you'll get new images delivered straight to your inbox.
Interested in an Ivory Mix membership?
Ivory Mix is definitely super affordable, making it perfect for the blogger on a budget!
- Quarterly membership = $33
- Yearly membership = $99
Comment below and tell me where your favorite place to get stock photos is. How do you incorporate them into your content? I'd love to know!