As a service based business that doesn’t sell any tangible products, I use images and colors to help brand The BOM and make it stand out in busy places like Pinterest and Facebook. Pop around my site and social media profiles and you’ll see that most of my images coordinate, without being too matchy-match. They have a similar style and similar shades of color that help give The Barefoot Office Mom a consistently clean and feminine look.
The images I choose for every blog post, article, social media graphic and printable products are carefully selected from a large collection of curated photos and graphics I’ve gathered over the years. Even though I love taking my own photos, 99% of the images I use for The BOM are stock images I either purchased or downloaded for free under a creative commons license.
Save Time With Stock Photography
The main reason that I use stock photos instead of taking my own is time. I enjoy taking photos, but the editing, uploading, filing and then posting quickly eats into the time I have set aside for my business. It’s far more efficient to use quality photos taken by other people.
Keep Your Stock Photography Organized
I organize my stock photos on my business laptop into categories by color or subject. I have files for Women (not to be confused with a binder full of women), Desks, Flowers, Mock ups, Magenta, Blush pink. I also have separate files for graphics, organized by artist and theme (flowers, holidays, colors etc…). This way when I’m putting together a piece of content such as a new article or blog post, or creating a free printable, I can easily select an image or graphic that best fits the content.
You may have a very different way to organize your files (if you do, please tell me! I love hearing about how others organize). That’s fine. The takeaway here is to keep your stock photography organized in a way that allows you to easily find what you are looking for. Looking for a way to organize your business? I use this tool and LOVE it!
How to Use One Image Multiple Times
Even though I have a pretty extensive collection of photos for my business, 90% of the time I use about 10% of my collection. These are some of my favorites, most of which are courtesy of Ivory Mix:
Depending on the type of photo I need, I will crop, rotate or add graphics to these stock photos to make new images. Here are a few examples of how I used one photo to make three unique images.
My Favorite Stock Photo Sites
There are many places to find good quality photos and graphics online. A few of my favorites photo and graphic sites include:
Pixabay - lots of free images and some free graphics
Canva - a free design resource perfect for newbies (side note, Pixabay and Canva often have the same images). Be sure to grab my free Canva Templates for Pinterest here
Ivory Mix - Kayla over at Ivory Mix give away free photos every month to her subscribers. You can also purchase membership and have access to hundreds of beautifully styled photos. I used many of her photos for The BOM and love the result!
Creative Market - also gives away freebies each Monday. You can also find hundreds of low cost photo bundles that come with a standard commercial license.
These sites all include commercial licenses and are all either free or low cost.
Do You Need a Monthly Stock Photo Membership?
Many stock photo sites offer monthly or yearly memberships at reduced rates. If you are using photos as a way to add interest to your business website, you probably only need ten or 12 photos which you can repurpose. If you’re starting a new business on a shoestring budget, I’d recommend skipping the yearly membership and instead purchasing a few images individually or purchasing a one time bundle of photos, like these at Creative Market.
Keep Your Images Legal
When looking for photos for your site, do not simply google a term and copy paste whatever image catches your fancy. Read one bloggers $7500 cautionary tale about unintended copyright infringement and why it is super important to only use commercially licensed photos for your business.
Photos are an important tool for branding a digitally based business. And there are tons of excellent, creative photos out there that will help your site stand out from the crowd. You can save a lot of money with free and inexpensive stock photo options, but be sure that you use them in accordance with their licenses.