How to Choose the Best Stock Photos for your Brand

Posted on February 10th, 2021 to Branding

If you’ve ever created a website or managed a social media account – be it personal or for a business – then you understand the staggering amount of images that can be involved. Whether you are digging through your own files to source the right shot, or if you’re scouring stock image sources to find the perfect photo, it can definitely get overwhelming.

There’s a plethora of free stock image resources

It’s all out there, and a ton of it is free. Check out our guide to free cannabis stock imagery for a few examples. With so many options available, how you choose the right photos?

How do you know which photos will resonate with your audience? How do you take a stock photo that’s been used a million times and give it a new, useful purpose?

Setup a framework of criteria

Have a set standard of what you’re looking for. Think within certain guidelines that will help delineate your purpose. Here are 6 criteria that we recommend considering while on the hunt for the perfect stock imagery:

1. Color

Does the photo currently represent your brand colors? Is it possible to edit the photo so that it better aligns with your brand’s color scheme? Throw the photo in photoshop or play around with it in a free image editor like Pixlr to see what you might be able to change or edit.

2. Context

Are the subject and setting of the image relevant to your brand? If not, are the subject and setting relevant to the specific page on your website, or the specific social media post you are publishing? For example, if you have a page about vaping, does it make sense to place an image of someone smoking a joint? Probably not. If you can’t find an image that works, maybe you are better off with no image. Or maybe, for that particular page or post, you need to source an image from somewhere other than a free stock photo resource.

3. Size & Shape

Balance out your image dimensions. For example, consider how your images will be displayed and ensure that you are using the space properly. Will your image have text wrapped around it? What other images will be displayed with it? Is it a solo image or part of a gallery? Is it displayed on a blog post with several other images?

4. Search terms

Different keywords will yield different results depending on the stock photo resource you are searching in. for example, when you search “cannabis”, you might get different photos than if you were to search “hemp”. Try searching several different words and look at image tags to get ideas of additional words to search.

5. Build a narrative

What’s the story you’re telling? Is there a story behind the photo or is it just for show? If you have multiple images, are they playing off of one another? Do the images and text tell the same story or are they contrasting? Was that your intention?

Consider all of this and you’ll be a stock photo professional in NO TIME! Want to be the first to get notified when we release new blog posts like this one? Sign up for exclusive content!

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This post was written by Zach Santarsiero, CMO at CannaPlanners.

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