Everything you need to know about choosing stock photography for your brand

March 5, 2020

Filed in: Branding

A lot of business owners underestimate the power of stock photography! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a huge library of branded photos and the perfect shot we need is always in that photo library? Sounds dreamy, right?! Well, unless you have a branded photo session this doesn’t always happen. Whether you’re creating social media posts, adding imagery to your website, creating an eBook, or just looking for imagery for your blog posts, stock photography can really come in handy to convey the visual aesthetic of your brand.

Using Stock Photography for Your Business | J. Alexandria Creative

Stock photography can really elevate our brand when the photos we currently have don’t look like the quality we want. You can customize stock photography to fit the needs of your brand through the editing style, color overlays, or using them as backgrounds when creating graphics. 

So how do we make sure the stock photos we are choosing are on-brand and fit within the overall look and feel we have established?

Color and lighting

When selecting your photos for your brand, you want to be super selective about the images you’re pulling. The number one thing to look for is the colors used in the image, and the lighting. For example, my brand colors are pinks, golds, whites, black, grey. If I’m looking for a photo of a desk scene, and I see a photo with lots of red desk accessories like red notebooks and desk accessories, that is NOT going to fit within my brand aesthetic. Look for photos that incorporate your brand color palette, or photos that will at least compliment it well. Highly recommend creating a mood board for your brand, so that when you are looking at stock photos, you can compare it to your mood board, and you’ll know if it looks like it fits within the vibe you’re creating for your brand. If you are a super moody and dramatic brand, using lots of blacks and rich colors, you will want the photos you choose to convey the richness of your brand’s color palette. You might choose photos that have golden hour lighting or darker, moodier tones in the image. You may like a more studio look to your photo choices that incorporate lots of shadows and dark backgrounds. 

While photos can be edited and tweaked with presets and editing software like Lightroom, it’s important that you still choose photos that are shot in a similar style in order for everything to look really cohesive. 

Consistency in angles and subject matter

What does this mean? When you’re looking at all the different types of photos, you want to be selective of what angles of photos you are choosing. Choose a few and alternate between those. For example, our brand focuses on images that are shot from above (like a flat lay style image) and straight on. I also am particular about the types of subject matter we share. We love tropical vibes like palm trees or interiors. I also love sharing images that feel very girly and have a pink aesthetic. I don’t share a lot of photos of people unless they are details like the hand or the back of a head. I like to make sure that my headshots are filling the need for having a human element, so I share a photo of my face every few photos to break up the feed and make sure there is a picture of our face in in the top 9 of our feed, if possible!

So, where do I find stock photos? 

There are a ton of free resources out there for free stock photos! That’s right! Free-99. Our absolute favorite places to look for free imagery is 

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pexels
  3. Pixabay

Unsplash is our absolute favorite, but sometimes depending on the types of images you need, one resource might be better than others. We like to mix it up! 

There also are a lot of paid resources for stock photography when you’re looking for a very specific type of photo or subject matter.


Here’s a few paid stock sites that we love or would recommend: 

  1. Adobe Stock
  2. Shutterstock
  3. Styled Stock Society
  4. Haute Stock
  5. Social Squares
  6. SC Stock Shop
  7. Creative Market

There’s so many more paid stock houses and great subscription services out there! Definitely look into this as a way to upgrade your website and social media. 

Until next time!


Everything you need to know about using stock photography for your brand | J. Alexandria Creative

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