Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek /
1. Learn brand preferences.
2. Publish only what you're authorized to use.
Given the abundance of royalty-free stock photography sites, you shouldn't have to worry about finding the images you need.
But on the odd occasion that you can't find exactly what you're looking for, remember that you can't just take anything you find in Google image search and throw it into a social post. You need to get the photographer's permission, or you'll need to use a paid stock site to purchase the image that's right for you.
Because both of those options require extra effort or money, consider an alternative angle to finding the best image. We'll talk more about that below.
3. Use high-quality, attractive images.
Here's an explanation of image quality for non-designers: "A high-res image packs in thousands of pixels—each one a distinct unit of color information. A low-res image has much less density; so when it’s enlarged to be bigger on screen (or in print), your display or printer has to guess at most of that information, filling in the gaps with what it assumes are the right colors. The result is a blurry image with little detail."
The images you'll find in the free stock sites we mentioned will all be high resolution, so stick with those sites and you're covered. HubSpot compiled a list that includes 17 additional stock sites with high-resolution images too.
What constitutes an attractive image? Of course, that's a subjective opinion, but colorful, powerful images evoke emotion and will establish a connection with your prospects.
Use your gut when searching for the right image—does the photo elicit the response in you that you seek from buyers? Use it. If you still aren't sure, run the image by a colleague to get their gut reaction too.
4. Use photos relevant to your topic.
The images you select need to relate to the topic you're discussing. If not, you risk losing credibility or being perceived as an organization whose content is just click bait.
For topics that are theoretical, it can be a real challenge to find relevant images. Other times you'll know exactly what kind of image you want to use, but you won't be able to find it on a free stock site.
At times like these, consider using symbolism or analogy to convey your idea. For instance, if your social media post is about security breaches you could use an image of a broken fence or a safe with the door ajar.
5. Opt for natural composition.
Traditional stock photos look contrived. We avoid these types of images as we don't want to represent our brand that way.
Of course, there's an element of personal taste and judgment that goes into selecting images, but bad stock has been around long enough for most people to recognize it in a heartbeat.
We've all seen the pictures of a team "working together" that look purely staged. Or the professional model holding a briefcase or wearing a headset and grinning directly at the camera. HubSpot says these types of stock photos are "generic, impersonal, rooted in no realism of any sort, and as a result, are completely and utterly laughable." We agree.
For instance, we wouldn't use this image:
But we would use this image:
Summing it Up
You don't need a budget for photography to find beautiful, high-quality images to use in your marketing. Set yourself apart from the competition by using images that evoke emotion and convey a sense of thoughtfulness and professionalism. You'll increase engagement with your prospects and generate more leads.