Styled stock photography is a specific type of photography. Talented photographers who specialize in this genre are excellent at placing everyday objects into advertising or promotional images – creating visuals that are aesthetically pleasing and complement the advertising text without distraction. It’s a balancing act.
Stock photography is characterized by clean images, with proper lighting and open space for inserting text into the image. For bloggers, these photos serve as background images but also enhance your social media presence, when used correctly.
I get it. You are busy learning how to be a blogger and who has time to learn about photography at the same time?
Styled stock images may be your best solution – and a huge time saver as you are building your website and blog platform. When you have a vision of the ideal “look” for your site, begin researching for a few styled stock photos to complement your first few blog post ideas.
With 5-10 similar photos in a file folder, you will have enough photos to use for your first few weeks of blogging. Here are some tips to help you get started.
As you are looking for stock photos, think like your reader. Choose photos that are consistent with your color palette and overall theme of your blog. I like soft images that also have a bit of modern technology, and are the same color tones as my overall palette.
Sources – Dreamstime and Etsy (My Photos!)
I’ve dabbled with shooting styled stock photos for my crochet blog, Crochet Getaway, simply because I could not find the type of photos that I wanted for this niche brand. As a result, I spent time with my camera and was pleased with the result.
Dreamstime and Etsy have hundreds of conceptual, abstract, and real-life photos suitable for blogs. Instead of photos, you may choose to use illustrations or vector art and these same sites have thousands of photos available.
On Dreamstime, search for your blog theme (family, toys, sports, nature) to see relevant photos. On Etsy, include the words “digital download” along with your theme word to filter out some of the handmade products and receive relevant results. For example, if you search Etsy for “yarn” delivers 320,000 search results. Using “digital download yarn” will generate about 1,400 results for digital download products related to yarn (photo images, clip art, etc). Be sure to include the quotes in your search query.
Here are some links to some of my photos to help you become more familiar with styled stock photography and how it fits into the blogger’s toolkit.
Notice how these images have deliberate space for text, such as the title of your blog post. Dreamstime also has free images, public domain images, and a weekly featured free image. Yes, FREE! I like free, but am willing to pay for styled stock images when the product better represents my brand, as I will explain below.
Creative Market Subscribe to this site to receive an email with Free Goods of The Week. There are many stock photo and vector art selections in a wide range of styles on the Creative Market site. I don’t always download the weekly freebies, but I usually open the emails to see what’s trending and to get some visual inspiration. Creative Market is an excellent resource site for paid images, too.
Another Source – Start A Mom Blog
This blog post is part of a series about starting a blog. I’ve selected the “Teal” photos from Suzi Whitford’s stock image collection. I was so excited to find such a deal on stock images that fit my blog style.
Click this link to access the Start A Mom Blog to purchase 200 images for under $20. The collection includes other color themes (yellow, orange, etc) and some whimsical designs too.
All of the photos in the collection are blog-ready! They have clearly defined space for adding text and are easy to import into Canva or any other processing program (PhotoShop, PicMonkey, Paint, etc) for adding your titles, text or resizing and cropping.
As you can see, the photo on the right is the same photo that I used in How to Start Your First Amazing Blog. Browse around the site or my Pinterest boards to see the subtle differences in how I used different cropping techniques change one image and use it in different blog posts on the same topic.
More Ideas for Styled Stock Photos
There are dozens of other sources available all over the web, but the few described in this blog post are a good place to start without becoming overwhelmed at the volume of possible selections.
As you can see, in this beginner blogging series, I have used 3-4 photos with different cropping in my images for Facebook and Pinterest. I’ll add more layouts when I have 12-15 blog posts live on the site.
For now, these few photos give me a consistent look and are true to the vibe that I want for the site.
Right to Use
Remember to read the Rights or Terms and Conditions for every photo that you source. Some photographers will require photo credit and some have additional restrictions on how the photos are used. Some will prohibit cropping or prohibit enhancing the photo with color filters. Others may give full rights to use the image as you wish.
For my Etsy listings, I provide the following information about how to use the photos.
Look for this type of language when sourcing photos for your site. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE IMAGE? My styled stock images can be used in many ways to enhance your branding. With a little creative cropping, a single image can transform into several styled backgrounds. Cropping, rotating and resizing are all ok. In addition, a single image can be used for branding in promotional materials, product displays, blog post images, and social media. You may use this image without photographer credit; however, reselling the image is not allowed under this license and please do not represent the unaltered image as your own.
It is your responsibility to read and understand the rules before using the images. Be professional and know the rules.
Can I Help?
Are you looking for specialty photos or a different look than on these sites? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to help you out!