Are you creating new marketing collateral and don’t have the resources to hire a professional photographer? Having great photos can take your design to the next level. This guide aims to arm you with the knowledge and rationale on why and how to pick a stock image, and other royalty-free assets that will help you build your projects or market your business.

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If you are unable to hire a professional, you can use stock photos to amp up your style. Picking the right and most relevant photo makes your project a success. Read this article to learn all about how to pick a stock photo, the things you should look for in stock images, and the importance of them.

The Importance of Stock Photos

Images are an important part of any marketing collateral, including websites. They bring your brand to life and make it personable. People are able to relate to your business more if they can visualize what it is you do, and the people that work at your company. no doubt you’ve heard that an image is worth a thousand words right? Well the impression made by selecting the right images and photos multiplies that on each page that you produce content on.

For instance, if your company is a technology business that works with or sells a computer, showing a stock image of a person on a computer helps. It allows people to recognize your brand isn’t just about tech and humanizes it quickly.

When images are used correctly on your website and other materials, it can boost traffic to your pages or help you acquire new customers. Let’s focus on websites for a moment.

Website Photos

Did you know that a website gets 94% more views when it contains images? This proves that most humans are visual and searching for a connection. A good photo provides this for them. Knowing how to pick a stock image that accomplishes a strong connection between your message and audience, makes up a good portion of the composition that is developed with all elements of good persuasive content.

Not only that, but it brings your products and services to life. Instead of having a prospective customer imagine what it would be like working with you, they can actually experience it through images.

Photos capture customers attention more quickly than words and paint a better picture of what they would receive from your products or services. All images add a better conversion rate to your website, but those showing humans perform better.

SEO in Photography

If you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website, adding photos helps with this effort. Every time you add a photo, it requires a label, description, caption, and alt-text. When search engines scan the web, they’ll be able to locate and identify your photo.

This means that your photo will not only appear in web search results but also in the image search. More people see your photos, which in turn, brings them back to your web pages.

If you have images on your pages, it will populate a photo directly next to the search result on the web. This captures the attention of prospective clients and retains their interest for longer.

Social Media

Another benefit of using stock images is that it helps with social media. If you write blog posts or have images on your web pages, it will appear when you post a link. There are a lot of studies that show posts with an image receive more shares and engagement than those that don’t have one.

You can add buttons directly onto your website photos so users can easily share content to social media sites. With this convenience, your posts will start to see more engagement.

How to Pick A Stock Image

Now that we know that stock photos are an important part of marketing material, let’s talk about how we choose the best photos.

If your business has a budget for stock photography, there are a bunch of really great sites out there where you pay per photo. You can also buy a photography package and receive credits for multiple photos.

If you don’t have a budget, don’t fret, there are a ton of free stock photography sites. They don’t require any payment, have a vast selection of images, and are top notch in quality.

Once you decide where you will go to find your stock photography, there are a few things to consider.

Location, Location, Location

The first question in identifying how to pick a stock photo is knowing where you will use it. If you’re using it on the background of a web page, it’s going to be a bit different than if you are using it in the middle of a blog post.

Take into account the different locations you’re going to be using your photos. If it’s on a background, it makes sense to have it be simple, abstract, or lacking a subject. This way the attention isn’t distracted from your main content.

If it’s used to supplement the text on a blog, it can be more information, interesting, and demonstrate what you’re discussing. If it makes sense, you can also place text or graphics on top of the image as a caption or header.

If you are going to be using text on top of your photo, you’ll need to find a photo that has low contrast on one section. If you’re placing white text over a background that has white elements in it, it will be difficult to read.


Another thing to consider when selecting a stock photo is the color. What type of reaction are you looking for when it comes to your design? Are you hoping to elicit happiness and joy? Rage or anger?

Colors are associated with different emotions and can drive your users to react differently. If you’re looking for photos to match the overall color of your brand, you can find photos that are of similar color.

Red is known to promote anger, blue is known to be calming, and yellow to excite. Think about the kind of response you want, and find colors to match that response.

Don’t Distract

Lastly, find images that don’t take away from your brand and messaging. You want the photos to enhance your message, not distract people away from it.

Photos can be distracting if they contain controversial information, are too specific or loud, or offensive.

Choosing A Photo

Keeping all these things in mind, you’ll have a successful stock photography strategy! Learning how to pick a stock image that is powerful and targeted, doesn’t have to be difficult and will enhance your marketing and projects tremendously with the least cost.

If you want to get started in selecting your stock photos today, check out our wide selection here!

Premium Stock Images from Shutterstock (Save 10% using Coupon Code SS10):

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