Spruce Up Your Stock Photos

How to Spruce Up Your Stock Photos to Make Them Look Unique


The images posted on your website or social media profile can have an incredible effect on the overall look and feel of your site. Sometimes, just a simple, beautiful photo or image can tell the whole story. There are images such as those from the Grand Canyon, as an example, that are compelling and majestic, which adds glamor to a webpage or social media feed..

Most of the web pages or social media pages use stock photos, and you can see those repeatedly in various locations. The good news is, with a few simple tricks anyone can turn standard stock photos into a compelling visual display, that will not only complement you and your company, but enhance it.

Here’s a few tips you can follow that will spruce up your pics and images:

Adjust the Coloring

Did you know the color and tone in your images is one of the biggest giveaways to a trained eye that you are using stock photography? It is, and here is why. It is because the images most likely originate from a host of photographers who each have different styles, and shoot using a variety of lighting conditions.

Spending a little bit of time using software such as Photoshop or Lightroom to standardize the overall tone of your images can do wonders for your pics.

Adjust the Coloring

Make It Black and White

Another way to adjust the color is to make the images black and white. This does a couple of things to the pic:

1. If you remove the tone/color, you immediately make the images more consistent. It can also make head shots feel interconnected, even if, for example, they are just photos of employees which were taken in uneven light conditions.

2. Black and white images also create a great contrast to everything else on the screen. On the other hand, full-on color inundates designs, interfaces and other images, so by removing this, you instantly make each of your images distinct.

Make a Collage

Sometimes, a single image doesn’t tell the whole story the way a group of images can. By assembling a collage rather than including multiple images in your page, you have complete control over their alignment and spacing. You will also have an image that is calling out to be pinned on Pinterest.

Tip: Using online tools like Canva or PicMonkey makes it easy to create diptychs/triptychs and free-form collages by simply dragging and dropping your files into their interfaces. There are even sites where you can buy collage templates for Photoshop, Lightroom and more.

Make a Collage

Add Text and Change the Texture

Some creative manipulation can go a long way to help your images feel integrated into your site, and an integral part of your overall visual language. Google cannot read the text in images, but viewers can. So, the text will not help your SEO, but it will grab a visitor’s eye.

Remember that because the text is invisible to Google and screen readers, you will need to include that copy/title elsewhere on your page. That is why many times you will see descriptions posted beneath pics. Images with text tend to be successful on social sites like Pinterest, where the copy makes your image unique.

Change the Shape

Make your photo a circle or a hexagon and have an image that stands out simply because it isn’t a rectangle. If circles are present in your branding or logo, round images are a great way to integrate that shape into your design. And when you crop an image to a circle, you are highlighting the best part of the image and making the photo work for you in ways it doesn’t appear on other websites.

Add Text and Change the Texture

Tip: Circles have been a trend in web design for a while and are often made using CSS, but you can get the same effect with inline images by using shapes and masks in Photoshop or tools like Pixelmator.

Stretch Out the Background

How many times have you found a nearly perfect stock photo but the subject is in the wrong place in the image? Or the image is great but you need a bit more space so the subject doesn’t get cut off when you crop it to the necessary dimensions? This only works for images with blurred or simple backgrounds, but it does make it possible to take an almost perfect image and make it perfect.

When the subject or focal point of the image is right where you needs it, the image feels made for your site rather than something that you picked because you needed to fill a space on your site.

Stretch Out the Background

By implementing one or two of these tips, you can take ownership of your stock photography and post images that stand head and shoulders over those of your competition.




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