Photography can very easily be your best or worst friend. When it comes to your website or brand, the images you use can make or break your cause. Finding a unique style that is also well-suited to your purposes is crucial to bringing your overall visuals together to create a truly great looking design. When it comes to finding the photos that will help you accomplish this feat, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, because of the fact that we can access millions of incredible images with just the click of a button.
When to use stock photography
On smaller projects with conservative budgets, or when time doesn’t allow for hiring your own photographer, sourcing stock photography is the next best solution. When creating a folder of images for your website, or in other cases where multiple images are required, curating a strong collection of stock photography is the best (and often cheapest) option.
One handy thing stock photography allows us to do is to source our imagery before anything else. While it may seem a little backward, the simplicity of finding your sourced stock photos first can ultimately save a lot of time (and money). No one wants to approach the end of a project and find they’re stuck with imagery that doesn’t work with their pre-made design elements.
Where to source from
A leap into the world of stock photography can be quite overwhelming: the sheer quantity of images and websites on hand can be extremely difficult to navigate. And choosing the right stock photography for your specific brand can seem particularly gruelling. It doesn’t help that stock websites are packed with random photos of which many can be useless, even awful.
There are a few factors to consider when deciding where exactly to acquire your images, the most important being your price range. Prices can vary wildly amongst different sites, and like many things in life, you’re rewarded with lower prices when purchasing a higher quantity of images. Another thing to consider is what the subject matter of the images is, as the selection of curated images on different sites sometimes have a particular flavour. And while a quick Google search will provide you with a ton of websites to explore, the most popular options are typically going to offer the best selection and variety.
Once you’ve found a site that works for you and a photo that will work well for your purposes, the next step is often the hardest: sourcing the rest of the stock images you need and making sure they all work together. One helpful way of accomplishing this is to look through the other photos that same photographer has available. Oftentimes, they have a selection of other photos from the same shoot that work well together and which you can add to your library.
“Branding” your images
When using photography of any kind, it’s important that all the photos have the same visual look and feel. While it’s true there are endless images available online, it can still be challenging to find multiple photos with the same vibe.
If chosen with a particularly keen eye, you may be able to slap your logo onto stock images just as you found them. However, if you really want to own the photos you’ve found and make them look and feel like they were produced just for you, you may want to consider photoshopping each photo to suit your brand.
Below is an example, the primary colour of our clients brand is a Granite Green so the images have had filters applied to blend in.
Is there such thing as free photography?
While you’d be hard pressed to find a photographer to shoot photos for you at no cost, there are ways to get high quality visuals without settling for cheap photography. A quick Google search offers plenty of sites where you can find royalty-free stock photos. Most often these sites either have user-uploaded images that are free for use, or they have what is known as a Creative Commons (CC) license. A CC license is a public copyright license that allows for the free distribution of otherwise copyrighted artwork. This is what you want
It’s worth noting, though, that while you aren’t paying for the images per se, you may end up paying for them with the extra time required to source and edit these images, as it can be hard to find many from a single photo shoot or shot in the same style, Websites like unsplash.com and pexels.com tend to have the most visually similar photos across their respective collections.
While it may not be as easy as having a photographer send you a folder of perfectly edited images, great stock photography may just be the thing that brings your brand to life andsets you apart you from your competitors.
*Edited from original article