Let me start by saying, I’m obsessed with styled stock photos. I am always on Creative Market and I see the mock ups and photos of desk space and desk accessories laid out so perfectly and I can’t get enough. Styled stock photos allow you to create blog post images, use as an image in an ebook, use on your website, allow you to showcase a product, etc. The price range on these styled stocks can range usually from $10-$60 for one photo. So I want to share with you different ways how to use styled stock photos so you can get the most out of one picture. The other bonus is that if you are using the same photo in different ways it helps make all your design elements cohesive.
How to Choose Your Styled Stock Photos
When you are buying photos there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Select an image that correlates with your brand. If your branding colors are blue and green, don’t use an image that has pink and purple objects.
- Make sure the image that you will be receiving/downloading is a large photo, at least 2000px but hopefully larger. If you want to crop images and use it in different forms, you are going to want to make sure that you can crop sections out of the photo but still make sure they are large enough so they don’t become pixelated.
- Choose an image that you can crop different sections of the photo and it will look like a different background (More on this later – Option #2)
I’m going to use a hi-res photo that I took to show you how, and you can download it from Pxl PLace for free and use it for your blog posts, Instagram, or website.
1 // Use your styled stock image as a blog post image.
If you are going to create a blog post image and pin it to Pinterest, you are going to want to use a vertical image and add your title.
- In Photoshop, create a new document around 735px x 1100px (This is the ideal size for Pinterest images) and place your image. Most styled ttock photos are usually horizontal all you have to do is rotate your photo by 90 degrees and resize to the size of the artboard.
- Once you have your background setup, use the rectangle tool to draw a white rectangle over the image, leaving a space so the background photo can be seen. When you have the rectangle placed where you want it, you can go to the layers panel reduce the opacity (I reduced it to 65%)
- All you have to do now is add your text. Make sure to use the fonts that correlate with your brand.
2 // Only Use Parts of the Photo
Instead of using the whole photo as a background just use parts of the photo. This was the reason that you want to choose an image that will allow you to crop other sections of the photo. Even though its the same photo, if you change the perspective of the photo, it will look like a different image. Below are four other ways that same blog post image was created just by rotating and sizing other parts of the photo. These are just four other ways, but there are plenty of possibilities!
So now you have blog post images that look similar and are cohesive with your brand without having to use the same exact background on all your blog post graphics.
3 // Use your photo for your Instagram feed by cropping it into a square
In Photoshop, create a new document that is square in size, so you can choose something like 800px x 800px and then place your image, rotate, or resize it until you get the background that you want. If you want to add text, or the title to the blog post you’re promoting just create a new layer and add your text.
BONUS TIP: You can also save your stock image to your phone and use an app such as Camera+ to square crop your photo and to edit on the go.
4 // Use your styled stock photo to display one of your products.
Do you sell a product like an art print or stationary and want to create an appealing graphic for it so you can share it on social media? Just use your styled stock image. All you have to do is place your product into the styled stock photo and then adjust it to make sure it looks like it belongs in the photo.
For my art prints, I just copy and paste the artwork into the styled stock photo and then add a slight drop shadow so that it shows dimension and doesn’t look like the art print is blending into the background.
5 // Use your photo in your collateral pieces, such as an ebook or business card.
Don’t forget that you can use these same images to extend your brand into your print collateral. Here is a quick way to use the image as part of your business card or as an ebook cover.
I hope you find these helpful. There are plenty of ways to use Styled Stock Images. Don’t forget to download your free image and try it out for yourself. As always, if you don’t have Photoshop, Canva is a great alternative.