Dionne Design

Did you know that content with visuals gets 94% more views than content without visuals? It is nearly impossible to build an engaging website without images and those images need to be high quality. Here’s how the options break down:

Best: professional brand photography

Investing in high quality brand photography is the best case scenario. This may be an investment for a small business but the return (ROI) can be huge. These brand photos can be used not only on the website, but also in social media and other marketing materials and ads for years to come. Having professional photos taken is really the best investment you can make in your business.

Better: High quality on-brand stock photography

If you’re starting out and not able to afford a professional, custom photoshoot, stock photography is a perfectly acceptable solution. Sites like Unsplash and Pexels even provide this stock photography for free! Other reasonably priced stock photo options are: Creative Market,  Etsy and Moyo Studio.

Good: Graphic Illustrations and minimal photos

A lot can be accomplished in web design by using graphics such as icons or shape elements and color blocking. If you have not yet invested in professional photography and are for some reason nervous about using stock photography, this can be a good option if it is implemented well.

Not advisable: Snapshots

The worst possible option is using low quality, badly framed, mismatched snapshots. Using these images will make your business seem unprofessional and leave a bad impression with clients.

So you want to use stock photography but how can you do it without looking like everyone else? How can you incorporate stock photos in a way that they are not obviously stock photos?

Here are 8 tips for effectively using stock photos for your website, social media, or marketing materials:

  1. Choose photos that fit your brand.
  2. Choose photos with colors that fit your brand palette.
  3. Make sure that you are not misrepresenting yourself or your work by including stock photos in your portfolio or your About page. (You’re not fooling anyone.)
  4. Consider modifying the photos to make them your own such as cropping, adding a text overlay, making them black and white or duotone. (This can be done using a photo editing program or Canva.)
  5. Use stock photos as background on website sections or banners, Instagram stories or more.
  6. If people are in the images, consider using close up of hands, or crop the image so the face is not showing.
  7. Never use watermarked images (It makes you look so bad!)
  8. Never use copyrighted images without permission.

By following these tips, you can effectively use stock photos without blending in!  Download the free guide (pdf) below.

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