Get Creative with FREE Stock Photos… PLUS where to get them

Get Creative with FREE Stock Photos… PLUS where to get them

Did you know that visually appealing content is likely to get more interaction than content that doesn’t have great images attached to it?

Of course you do!

We are great believers in using images as part of your branding strategy and wherever possible you should use authentic & genuine images (taken by a professional) to showcase yourself, your products and your services but we also understand that this is not always possible.

Using stock photos can be a great way to supplement the lack of images you have for your brand. Especially if you aren’t a photographer and you can’t invest in a full branded photoshoot yet. 

Even if you ARE a photographer or have great images from past projects, you can use stock photography to spice up your image library and get some great on-brand images that you don’t have to take yourself.

By mixing stock photography with your own images (and a little bit of creativity!), you can create a unique look that no one can copy.

So in this article we will show you how we create great images that you can use in your marketing, website & social media content as well as show you how you can get access to thousands of FREE stock photos to get started right away!


 

Stock Photo Ideas

FREE STOCK IMAGE (ORIGINAL)

This is the image before we photoshopped it to match the branding of SWIMZ.

Image sourced from: www.pexels.com 

ALTERED STOCK IMAGE (AFTER)

This is the image after we photoshopped it to match the branding of SWIMZ.

Original image sourced from: www.pexels.com 

As you can see from the Before & After examples above, the second image that includes the logo of the business packs way more weight in building up the brand awareness and will look so much better when used on social media and marketing materials for this particular brand.

This is the perfect example of when using stock photography is useful. Just imagine how hard it would have been to recreate this image of a lady swimming laps in the pool and have the logo on her cap showing as perfectly as it is here with all that water flying around and it would have cost a small fortune to hire a photographer to create this image.


 

With images being one of the most effective ways to attract people to your content it’s important to use high quality images. Unless you are a photographer, compiling a large library of photos that you can use on your website, blog & social media might feel like a task of epic proportions!


 

Stock Photo Ideas

FREE STOCK IMAGE (ORIGINAL)

This is the image before we photoshopped it to match the Click Kreative brand.

ALTERED STOCK IMAGE (AFTER)

This is the image after we added a logo and changed the colour of the chair to match our brand.

In this example I was looking for a simple image to use for a blog post, I really liked this one but the yellow was completely off for my brand and it looked a little drab with a blank screen and picture hanging on the wall. With a little bit of tweaking I was able to make this image look more cohesive with my brand and blend in nicely with the colours on my website. 

This is another example of how you can take an ordinary photo that doesn’t quite fit with your brand and tweak it to suit the purpose.


 

Here I’ve compiled a list of creative ways you can take everyday stock photos and turn them into something unique for your business. A tip for you, would be to put a few hours aside one day and go through the list of FREE Stock photo sites I’ve listed later on in this post and set the goal to save approximately 30 – 50 images to your computer for future use.

** Tip: Look for images that have a look & feel cohesive with your brand, your products & content. Now, don’t get too hung up on this in the beginning, just get to work saving as many images as you can then cull them later. 

** IMPORTANT LEGAL STUFF: You will also need to check whether the stock photo you have picked is allowed to be used in the manner you intent to use it for. Each photographer and website will have different guidelines and restrictions, so make sure you double check the usage rights so you won’t run into legal problems or copyright issues in the future. 

You will also need to keep in mind what types of edits you can make to the images you are choosing (such as cropping, adding overlays, adding your own products, or changing or removing items) and where you might be using them (social media, website, opt-ins, webinar slides, etc.).

Then over the next few days or weeks get to work manipulating them to work with your brand. For some of the harder manipulations you might want to hire a graphic designer who can do this for you in photoshop (especially if it’s an important image.. like one you intend on using on your website!)

Ways you can get creative with Stock Photos to have them match your brand style:

  1. Add your logo (note: you will need to have your logo file in .png format with a transparent background to this effectively)
  2. Change the colour of certain elements in the photo to match you brand palette (see example above) – You can also try refreshing old profile pictures of yourself by changing the colour of your clothes to match your brand.
  3. Remove distracting backgrounds or elements of the photo to allow space for copy.
  4. Find stock images that enhance your brand & that you can use on social media or that make great backgrounds for your promotions.
  5. Add an overlay in a brand color.
  6. Add text, quotes or tips to create fun graphics or pinnable images.
  7. Crop your image in a variety of ways & sizes to get maximum uses out of it.
  8. Add your own products or service images to the image to show off your work. These are called Mock-Ups.

My TOP 10 websites for sourcing NON-CHEESY stock photography:

My TOP 10 websites for sourcing NON-CHEESY stock photography:

1: Pexels – Suitable for everyone

2: Pixabay – Suitable for everyone

3: Unsplash – Suitable for everyone

4: Start Up Stock Photos – Great for Start Ups (duh!)

5: StockSnap – New photos added weekly

6: All The FREE Stock – This one is a goldmine and includes Mockups, Videos, Sound Effects, Icons & Fonts as well!

7: Flickr –  A site often overlooked as it’s not dedicated to public domain images, but there is an extensive library of high-quality public domain images.

8: Ivory Mix – I have to mention this site here. Kayla makes gorgeous stock photos for women. Her photos are just divine and when you sign up new ones get delivered to your inbox regularly! Not only that, her blog is inspirational too 🙂

9: Picography – Very hipster but a good resource if you are looking for something a bit different.

10: Foodies Feed – As the title suggests this one is great for anyone in the food realm!

Of course there are plenty of other free stock photography sites out there but these are by far the ones I use the most and have the biggest libraries to choose from.

And there you have it! I hope you now have a better idea of how to choose and use stock photography on your website to create a beautiful online presence that supports your growing business. HAPPY HUNTING!

BRANDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS

BRANDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS

BRANDING

Branding For Your Business

Kerry Schultz, Owner, Click Kreative

22 March 2016

What exactly does “branding” mean? How do you go about it and how does it affect a small business like yours?

To put it simply, your brand differentiates your business from your competitors. It is symbolic of what you promise to your customer and it is derived from who you are, what your company does and the experience you want your customers to have and at the same time establishes trust and credibility. It tells people what they can expect from you, your products or services.

Branding is one of the critical aspects of launching any business, of any size, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a competitive edge in whatever industry you are in. 

We believe there are two major steps to building an effective brand for your business. Defining your brand and developing a brand development strategy.

Branding is not ‘just’ having a cool logo.

Project photo courtesy of Click Kreative

STEP ONE: DEFINING YOUR BRAND

The first step and one of the most important aspects of any business. Defining your brand can be likened to a journey of self discovery. It can be uncomfortable, difficult and for most business owners this phase can be time consuming.

The foundation of your brand is your logo but it’s not just that. Your website, packaging and promotional materials should be uniform in nature, integrating your logo and company colours to communicate your brand.

Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

At the very least, defining your brand requires you to dig deep and answer some very specific questions such as:

  • What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?
  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What thoughts do your customers and prospects currently think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company in future?
  • What are the key values you want to communicate about your brand?

Following on from this journey of self discovery, it’s time to make it something tangible:

• GET A GREAT LOGO: Yes, it’s true this is the foundation of your brand. Place it on everything!

• KEY VALUES: Every piece of marketing material and contact with your customers should have this underlying message.

• DEVELOP A TAGLINE:  A meaningful, concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. This should be one sentence that shoots an arrow straight to heart of your customer.

• VOICE: Create the voice of your brand. Is your brand friendly & conversational or is it ritzy & formal? The voice of your brand should be applied to everything you put out into the marketplace.

• STYLE SHEET: Create brand standards for your company. This is the colour scheme, logo placement & fonts for everything you produce. Use this when you create templates & marketing materials. It defines the overall look and feel of your brand. Be consistent with this. 

• INTEGRATION. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, signage, everything.

 

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.

Steve Forbes.

Brainstorming is another great way to nut out your brand.

Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

STEP TWO: BRAND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (GETTING THE WORD OUT)

Once you’ve defined your brand, how will you get the word out? In your brand development strategy you can map out the specific of how you want to communicate your brand out in the marketplace. The great thing about having a brand development strategy is that you can share this with your employees and contractors so it is very clear to them how you expect your company to be portrayed in their dealings with the public.

• MARKETING MATERIALS. Place it everywhere. The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

• BRAND VALUES. What are the key values you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes and every piece of marketing material and contact with your customers should have this underlying message.

• PUBLIC CONTACT. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.

• PUBLIC IMAGE: Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.

• STATIONERY: Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same colour scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.

• DELIVER: Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.

• FOLLOW UP: Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.

• Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

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