When it comes to stock images, the last thing you want to use in your marketing material is that cliche posed family with their stupid white teeth and their perfect hairlines. That is just SO LAME, and believe me, your audience thinks so too.
It’s interesting, we’ve worked with a lot of brands, especially a few big players, and it always surprises us when they choose these images. They aren’t relatable, they’re so posed and there’s no authenticity to them whatsoever. You’ll find there are a few mainstream stock image sites that are littered with images just like this. It’s so so so important to choose the right imagery when you’re communicating because if your audience doesn’t relate to the visual, you bet they won’t bother with the rest either. Your content, image and messaging should go hand in hand (read our other blog ft Neon Moose on The Guide to Giving Good Copy), so it’s up to you to decipher what you think works best with not only the message going to market, but your overall brand message and reputation. The wrong images can tell a different story, so make sure you pick the right ones.
Images should be used to evoke an emotion, to make people familiarise themselves with what you’re communicating. Think about how a nice sunset makes you feel (we’re big fans of a sunset shot), the ambience in the image just creates a feeling of warmth and comfort.
So, after many years of countless hours scrolling through stock sites, we thought we’d share our favourite ones with you.
This one seems to be a popular one these days and there’s no surprise as to why. The photos are free to use and they’re damn well impressive! A quick search through their library and you’ll notice these guys have their image selection process on point. From flat lays to office spaces, to people and landscapes, all of the images seem to have a really good tone.
The images are pretty big in file size too, last time we checked you could print them at an A3 size without it pixelating. Though if you were looking for large format prints, you’d probably need to get in touch to purchase a higher quality shot.
Like Unsplash, Pixabay is free for commercial use. There’s a good mix of images in this lot, though there are a few of those stereotypical stocky shots popping up on the odd occasion, so you may need to have a bit of a dig. With that aside, we find this site has quite a large library and pulls in images from an array of other sites. They also have free vector and illustration files, as well as video. Which makes this site perfect for social media use!
Another free one for you, although a smaller library than the past 2 sites, Kaboompics has good quality shots! They’re also definitely on the way to building an extensive library too. We stumbled across this one a couple of years ago and it just keeps getting better and better. They definitely have a photographic style and the hues are deep and moody. We really like the way that they categorise their photos, especially pairing them together based on colour palette. This is ideal for those who love to create a colour cohesive Instagram feed.
Stocksy is a paid stock image site, though the prices are pretty good! They have a great library of images too. Sometimes, you’ll notice an image doing the rounds in a lot of different marketing campaigns, and that’s generally because people are looking in the same places (the free sites). Paid stock sites are a great way to at least limit the possibility of having the same image popping up in another brands campaign. It also goes much deeper with the filtering in terms of dimensions, ethnicity, age etc. They also have a great library of video you can check out too. We’ve used Stocksy a lot and can say they’re definitely a leap above a lot of other paid sites in terms of the authentic factor.
So, they’re our 4! We’re big on making sure we nail the right imagery to the message we are communicating to market. It just helps to tell an overall story.
If you have any fave sites, add them to the comments below!
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