When I first started my blog, my photos weren’t the greatest. I didn’t even have photos for my first few blog posts. I only added them until after the fact. To be honest, the first set of free stock photos I used were pretty generic and ugly. Definitely not Pinterest worthy. Then I discovered beautiful photo sites such as unsplash and pexels where you can get great quality photos for free. I enjoyed the fact that you had the freedom and flexibility to use these photos however you wanted. The downside was that since they were free, I began seeing the same photos over and over on many other sites and blogs. Turns out almost everyone uses photos from those sites and sites similar to them.
Why should you even bother trying to create your own graphics?
- It enables you to learn a new skill that you can add to your resume. Perhaps you can eventually provide this as a service for people who are looking for more custom made graphics but do not have the time to invest in doing it themselves.
- It can be a creative outlet for you and may help you break out of a creative slump.
- It helps you stand out from the crowd and they are recognized as your own and no one else’s.
Now if you can’t be bothered taking photos period there is the option of using styled stock photos. There are many talented creatives that offer free beautiful photos such as the Ivory Mix and paid subscriptions Haute Chocolate. At one point I had considered these. And then I developed an UTTERLY INSANE OBSESSION with Instagram, so I began using my own photos. I even went as far as purchasing a few bristol boards and a couple of foam boards from Michael’s to use for my flat-lays. Even though setting them up takes awhile and I’m clearly still learning how to take better photos, I truly enjoy the process. In fact, I am going to be taking a beginner’s photography workshop end of this month on how to really use my mirrorless camera. If you have the funds for it, perhaps you can look into getting your own set of customized photos and graphics from a graphic designer.
If you are just starting out and funds are limited or being allocated elsewhere and you want to try creating your own, here are some tips and tricks:
Peruse Through Your Own Photo Library
Don’t get me wrong. Photos of laptops and office supplies are awesome. Why not mix it up and use photos of a certain type of architecture, street scene, different objects or nature. They can be used to illustrate the topic of your post or a certain point in your post. If you are planning on using photos with people in it, it’s probably best to just use a photo of yourself. If you do plan on using a photo with someone else it wouldn’t hurt to ask their permission, as a sign of courtesy.
Create a Batch Set of Stock Photos That You Can Rotate Through
While there is no set amount of photos needed for your batch, it would be wise to create enough so that there is some variety ( I suggest 5 – 10 to start). You can optimize the batch by playing around with the various effects available used to manipulate photos on graphic design software such as Canva and photo editing software such as PicMonkey. Have certain photos in colour as well as black and white. Not only can you use them for your blog, you can use them for posting on your social media platforms. Don’t forget that engagement is better when there is a photo included with the caption.
I don’t think you should limit yourself to just using your brand colours for your photos. The only thing I would advise on is to create some kind of signature look, signature photo style, certain type of font pairing that you feel defines your brand and be consistent with it. It may take some time and experimentation to create your own unique look, but to me, that’s the fun part. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s also okay to switch up the overall look now and again.
Add Your Logo and/or Domain Name
Some blog and business owners do and some don’t. I personally feel that you should to remind people who the graphic is associated with. These days with so much content and imagery being consumed, it definitely helps to have a reminder. Also, it helps with branding.
Look For Inspiration From Other Brands
Keep a folder of brand photos that you like and take note of what specifically you like about them. Or you can create a Pinterest board filled with those same images. Pinterest is great because you can see all your images at a glance. Some of my favourite online entrepreneurs have amazing graphics that stand out from the rest and are recognizable as their own:
I love how she has her logo at the top of each graphic and how her domain name stands out in a colour block.
I love how she pairs two different types of fonts so well. I especially love how certain words are in a different font to make them really stand out and stick in your head. The use of colour varies widely but is done so in a way that they look great together in every post.
Lauren does a fantastic job of making her graphics so clean, elegant and simple with just text. Her graphics show that you don’t necessarily need a design or photo to make it stand out.
Do you create your own stock photos? Why or why not?
What are some tips you would give for creating your own stock photos?