You’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” If you’ve ever gasped at a beautiful image or imagined yourself in the picture, then you know what I mean. A well-thought out image can capture your prospect’s attention and encourage them to read (and even share) your post.
Images also help your prospect remember you. According to a Hubspot article on the importance of visual content, “When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”
Yes, images are important.
However, you don’t want just any old graphic. If you’re really going to stand out amidst the sea of competitors, you need impactful images that grab your prospective reader by the collar and shout, “I’m here! I’m the thing you’re looking for!”
So how do you do that?
You could go to a stock photo site and grab the first image you see, but most stock photo sites are filled with bland, generic photos. A group of models in business suits is neither relatable nor eye-catching. Plus, you may not even have the rights to use the photo! (No one needs to be slapped with a lawsuit!)
Here’s a better option.
5 Ways to Find Great Stock Photos (And Know That You Have the Legal Rights to Use Them)
First, let’s talk about what makes a great stock photo.
- Conveys Emotion – Good images help your prospect “feel” something. Whether that feeling is “beauty,” “trust” or something else, use images that cause your prospect to smile, inspire trust, or something other emotion that goes with your brand.
- Matches Your Brand – If you sell inspirational jewelry to city-dwelling millennials, you wouldn’t use stock photos of Welly wearing Baby Boomers throwing a fishing line into the sea. When choosing stock photos, keep in mind the lifestyle of your buyer and the look of your website. They should be cohesive.
- Relatable – You probably know that cheesy images of a gal wearing a headset won’t do much for your brand. But did you know that people prefer candid shots (or at least ones that appear that way?) Blogger Igor Ovsyannykov says “If you want people to relate better to what you’re trying to say to them, choose a visual aid that is relatable. Candid shots are more humanized than modeled shots.”
- Edit – With a little creativity – and the help of Photoshop or Canva.com – you may be able to edit a boring stock photo into something more interesting and unique for your brand. Bonus, you’ll know that no one else will be using the exact same image in the same way!
- Have the Rights! – You’ve probably heard the horror stories of companies receiving letters demanding thousands of dollars – all because they were using an image they didn’t have the rights to use.
The truth is, image copyright is an area fraught with confusion. Even reading the fine print doesn’t ensure you’ll understand the difference between royalty free images and rights-managed ones.
You probably already know that you can’t simply use graphics that appear on Google’s image search but you may not realize that you’re not necessarily covered just because you purchased the photo from a stock photo site.
Many stock photos cannot be used for commercial purposes, and if you’re running a blog with the intent to sell a product, you’re putting yourself at risk. That’s why it’s essential to use a free stock photo site that permits images for commercial use. Or, have a legal professional double check the license requirements if you’re unsure.
There’s no doubt that today’s visual-heavy web requires good images. How else will you attract your prospects attention? This is especially true when it comes to marketing your blog and goods on sites like Instagram and Pinterest.
Yes, it’s clear that stock photos have come a long way in recent years and there are some great options that go far beyond the cheesy staged photos of the past. However, make sure you do have the commercial rights to use them!
What’s your favorite way to use stock photos?