In an ideal world, images taken of your business or past projects are exactly what your website or social media needs. However, acquiring these isn’t always possible. Whether it’s down to permissions on certain projects you’ve done or maybe you just do work that is more online or paper based, such as accountancy and web development and it’s difficult to show what you do through images. This is when stock images burst onto the scene. They can give your business the image you want it to have without the hassle of hiring a professional photographer and hours upon hours of cleaning.
When choosing stock images for your business, you need to keep in mind these three bullet points in order to best represent your business. These can be summed up in these single words:
To pick a relevant stock image you need to look at what you’re using it for. Different uses have different requirements. Let’s say that you need an image for a background to some text. For this you don’t want an image that’s bold, brash and want’s to be the center of attention. A background image is more for adding the general feel of your company to your website, it needs to be associated with the page without needing too long to look at it. It also needs to have decent dimensions. You can’t have a portrait image for a landscape section. A good example showing an image relevant to the area it’s being placed in is on the Cads For Men website. Here you can see it fits well with the overall feel of the website, doesn’t overshadow the text and adds a positive first impression to the potential customer.
You want to make your business look as good as possible. It’s only natural. This is where the styling of the photograph becomes important. Let’s take an office photo as an example. You should choose an image that will give the best possible first impression of what your company provides. This is to let a client know you care about how you look online and gives them a positive first impression. With an example of The Soapy Group, I would choose this image for the following reasons:
- MacBook on light coloured table – Shows attention to keeping up with the top technology
- Clean, fresh office – part of what The Soapy Group is about and the image we want to put across
To crown off the correct stock images, it needs to be accurate. You need an image that will give potential clients or customers a good representation of your business. For example, let’s take a picture showing someone meeting a client. If you type in the word “meeting” to a stock image website, you will get many pictures of many different offices, some less formal and some more formal. You need to pick the one that best suits your business style. If I was to pick a stock image that would be related to The Soapy Group, I would choose this one for the following reasons:
- Smart dress
- Active engagement shown in shot
- Nothing that states it couldn’t be a marketing company
Where to find the right stock images
Knowing all of this is no use however without somewhere to find them! Stock image websites come in two forms; licenced and royalty-free. The key difference is that licenced stock images need to be paid for. Licenced stock image websites often have a huge selection of excellent stock images that can justify the price tag if you are looking for something specific. Good examples of these are Adobe Stock, Getty Images, iStock and Shutterstock. All of these have different payment systems so you need to find the one that works for you although most have individual payments.
Many free stock image websites are fantastic for most of your needs (and did I mention that they’re free? They’re free). Free to download, free to use, free for any use you can think of. They’re fantastic. Here are some sites that will help you out when it comes to finding your perfect stock image.
- Pexels – A medium library of good quality stock images. Mainly for mainstream images of general situations with some quirky ones scattered on the site.
- Pixabay – A large amount of images of varying quality, though usually good. Great if you can’t find what you are looking for on a different site.
- Unsplash – Quirkier images perfect if you need a wow factor. Caters for more individualist needs.
- Burst by Shopify – A new venture by Shopify. True to Shopify form, it’s good for product placeholder images or some general pictures.
So there you have it. Stock images are a fantastic resource available to all of your projects, whenever you need them, and the best thing is that they are updated all the time. Stock images are a fantastic second choice, perfect for your social media, website or promotional material.