How to Find and Pick the Perfect Photos for Your Brand
So you have a solid brand, you've had a logo designed and a color palette chosen, your fonts are ready to go and you're starting to put some graphics together.. but something's missing, right?
Photos! What about photos? Good imagery is SO important in making a brand come together, especially if you're an online business who has a website and social media presence (so, basically every business)
And now you're getting everything together you're realizing that t's pretty darn hard to create great design without any photos.
Since so many of us online entrepreneurs are in this boat, I've created some steps for WHERE you can find great photos, and of course, HOW to pick photos that actually work for your gorgeous brand!
Where to get photos for your brand
So you've got some ideas in mind, but where do you even start sourcing them?
You have a few options here...
1. Hire someone to take original images for your brand
This really depends on your budget, and how much you value original photography. Having your own photography is a huge asset, it will not only help you stand out, but it will save you lots of time not having to look for photos.
If the company that originally designed your brand does photography, it's definitely worth asking them as they already know your brand vision. But more often than not, brand designers don't offer stock photography and you will have to find someone else.
There are a lot of freelancers and small businesses that offer one-off brand photography packages, but these can come with a pretty big price tag. I suggest asking for a few quotes and comparing before you completely write off this option, it might be more affordable than you think!
With this option it's really important that you (or your photographer) have a clear vision of what your imagery should look like. You don't want to invest money and then be unhappy with the results. Do your research and make sure your photographer is suited to your style! (more on your 'style' below!)
2. Purchase a premium bundle of styled stock images
Don't get this confused with purchasing a random bunch of generic stock images, this is much better and easier than that!
There are many small business that sell packages of styled stock images. These are great because they are all a cohesive set of images, so you don't have to worry about the images working well together, because they will.
The con with going down this route is that you might not be able to find a package that is suited to your brand. For example there are lots of feminine and floral styled stock bundles out there, but I was never really able to find anything that suited my brand really well, so I didn't go down this route.
I recommend having a look to see what you can find, if you find something that totally works for your brand, grab 'em!
This is a cheaper alternative than hiring a photographer, but you're still getting a cohesive set of high quality images.
Another con with these is that there's a chance that someone else will be using the same bundle as you, though, I wouldn't worry about this too much as it's pretty rare, and when you work them in with your brand (logo, colors, fonts) then it shouldn't be too obvious the images are the same.
3. Use free stock images
Yup, free stock images are a thing and honestly, they're pretty awesome! Especially when you're first starting out and your budget is already stretched.
You can find some awesome free stock images out there, I have a list of 10 awesome free stock images sites too:
The important thing here is that you use high quality stock images from reputable websites (like the ones above) and not bad quality images.
Make sure that they are actually free stock images and not just images you've found on the internet somewhere - that is a HUGE no no (aka violates copyright laws!). If you find a free stock image website make sure you check out the licensing page - if you can't find anything about licences, save yourself the worry and just don't use the images.
Also, as always, you need to make sure your images are on brand. It's easy to get carried away with free stock images and just grab everything you see. Look at them carefully and ensure that they are on brand before you use them.
How to choose your images
So now you know where to get your hands on great stock images, how do you choose them?
This is something you have to think about before you go photo shopping. If you choose the wrong images, it can completely change the whole vibe of your brand and really take it in a different (and completely wrong) direction.
If you choose the right images, the photos will really being your brand to LIFE!
1. Colors & filters
You already have your brand colors in place (if you don't, go back and do that first!) so it would only make sense to choose images that have similar or complimentary colors to your brand palette.
Look at the photos next to your brand colors, do they look good together or do they clash?
This doesn't just include the colors of objects in the photos, this also comes down to the filter effect on the photo. Does this photo have a warm filter, a cool filter, or just natural coloring? A lot of photographers have a specific editing style, and this often gives their final images a sort of "color filter". For example, if you have a warm color palette, you would probably opt for a warm photograph filter style.
2. Photo emotions
What is the overall mood of the image? What kind of feelings does the photo give you? Happy? Sad?
This is especially important when you're using stock images of people and their faces. What emotions are they displaying? And is that emotion what you want to portray with your brand?
Make sure your images are portraying the feelings you want your brand to portray.
3. Target Audience
Do the photos attract your target audience? If you haven't done any work defining your target audience, I'd get started on that right now...
Related Post > How to Define Your Target Audience
If you know your target audience, it's going to be much easier to pick images.
When you're choosing your images, make sure to look at them through your target audiences eyes. Of course it's important to choose images that look good and feel right with your brand, but if they're showing something that you know isn't going to vibe with your target audience, then don't use them.
For example, you could have a gorgeous photo that has the perfect coloring, and the subject in the image is totally happy and giving off great vibes. But the subject is a middle-aged business man. If your target customer is a teenage girl, that's just not gonna work.
Always look at the images through your ideal customers eyes before you use it.
Are your images working together?
This question really comes into play when you are choosing different free or individual stock images. This isn't such a big problem if you have purchased a styled stock bundle or custom original images as these are designed to be cohesive.
Put all of the photos you have collected together, are they working? Is there anything standing out in a bad way? Even if you've ticked all of the boxes above, there still might be some images that just don't sit well together and don't give off that totally curated and cohesive professional vibe.
So now you know where to find stock images and how to pick the perfect photographs, your brand, website and social media will look complete, cohesive and professional!
Let me know in the comments where you get your brand photography!