How to make Stock Photos work for your Brand + Beautiful Free Stock Photos for You!

How to make Stock Photos work for your Brand  Beautiful Free Stock Photos

You've downloaded every free stock image you can find, but you're still stuck with website & blog graphics you're not happy with.

You're tired of seeing the same stock images used in the same ways, everywhere you look.

You feel like the images out there don't fit your niche.

If you answered yes to any of the above, I hear you! I remember when I first started blogging (okay, to be honest it was way back when in the times before Pinterest and all the pretty that followed) and so my options for photographs to use on my blog were very limited. I basically had to either take my own photographs, or continue to use other peoples work (giving them credit of course). 

I wasn't a big fan of using other people's photos, because the photos I was using weren't being meant for stock photo use. I was simply 'borrowing' their photography skills by using their photos, and I wanted to become completely self sufficient and do everything myself. I am so glad that I was stubborn back then, because if I hadn't started taking my own blog photos, I wouldn't be where I am today, about to launch a whole business dedicated to creating visuals for small business owners and creatives!

I can't even begin to explain how my blog changed when I started using professional looking photos. I noticed a big increase in my reader stats, I began getting more interaction on social media and people started to compliment me on my blog design. The only thing that had changed was that I began using professional looking images. I spent more time actually styling and 'creating' my blog images. Now I know most creatives are busy being, well, creative, and don't have the time to sit a hassle with lighting (never mind the actual buying of props). I want to help you in your journey to a more beautiful blog and so have opened up a store on Creative Market where I sell beautiful, styled stock photographs. Here is a small selection of the photos I have for sale:

If you're budget is a little tight I've also got you covered! I've got a lovely selection of FREE stock photos in my Resource Library, which is also filled with blogging resources and printables to help you in your blogging journey.

The CGScreative Resource Library is absolutely free (and always will be). You can gain access by clicking the image below:

5 Creative Ways to use Stock Photographs that will ensure your brand stands out online

Now that you know where to find stock photos, you are probably wondering how you can use them. Especially how you can use them creatively & in ways that are different from everyone else. Here are five uses of stock photos that will ensure your brand stands out from the crowd:

1. Social Media Cover Images

Your social media cover photos are prime real estate for your brand! 

They are the centre of attention when users visit your channel & the first introduction to your brand. Use your cover photo space to really wow your audience & create a lasting impression.

Have a look at your current cover photos. Do they show off your branding in the best way possible? Are they eye-catching? Do they show users what it is you do and how you can help them?

Spend some time brainstorming ways to make full use of this prime real estate. Remember, you don’t have to feel stuck with one image year round. Why not change it up depending on the season or  holiday. Use this space to tell your clients what new products/services you offer, or give them a clear CTA. 

2. Email Headers

Email Headers are a great way to add a little fun to your emails.

They are the first thing readers see after opening up your email. Use this space to delight your email subscribers, and make them want to read what you have to say instead of hitting delete!

Have a look at your email template.  Does it show off your branding in the best way possible? Is it eye-catching?  Is it too big that it obliterates your readers inbox?  Would you honestly want keep on reading after seeing it?  Spend some time brainstorming ways to make full use of this prime real estate. Why not use a different image for your different newsletters or blog series? 

If you’d like to find out more about what email platform I use & love then click here.

3. Cropped for Instagram

Use the crop and rotate function on any image editing program to take one photo and turn it into many. Simple crop, zoom in, rotate and crop again and you can create any number of unique images from a single photo. 

Using one photo in many different ways helps to keep your branding consistent, as well as making full use of your stock image. You don’t need to have 100 stock photos to create a beautiful Instagram feed.

4. E-Book Covers/ Workbooks/Course Covers & Graphics

Keep your branding consistent and professional in everything you produce.

Using stock photos doesn’t have to stop at social media. What about the workbooks, worksheets and content upgrades you produce for your readers? What about the online courses you plan on creating? 

These days people are suffering from information overload. No one has the time to sit and read about why they should download your freebie over someone else’s. Our brains process images MUCH faster than text, so make the most of that and use beautiful visuals to sell your services and products. No one wants to download (never mind buy) something that doesn’t look it was created and crafted with care.

Want to see stock photos in action? Click here to see how I used stock images to market and sell my latest blogging Handbook .

5. Business Cards

Photos add a little something special to business cards.

Depending on your niche (and of course depending on how much information you choose to put on your business card) professional photographs, when chosen strategically can set your cards apart from the rest.  As a photographer, I found a way to incorporate my work in my business cards without them looking too busy. I created the above cards through the online store, MOO & chose their double sided mini cards. It was very reasonable to have these cards printed and shipped, and they definitely make a statement.

Look at your current business cards and think about how they make you feel. If you don’t have a business card yet, think about how you could incorporate stock images into them to make them really stand out. You want the person who receives them to pause when handed one, and be intrigued enough to remember you and your business.

I created a guide that showcases the above along with examples of how I've used stock photos to grow the CGS brand. Click the image below to get your guide today. 

Do you use stock photos? How do you make them work for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Know someone who would enjoy this post? Share it with them using the buttons below.