As a graphic designer I spend a lot of time helping people create a range of images to use within their business online presence and promotion.

Often people will want to use free stock photo’s on websites and for social media promotion to keep costs down. The problem with that is in a visually over saturated world, it is likely you will see businesses in the same industry using the same stock photo, so it fails to visually represent YOUR BRAND AS UNIQUE.

There are some quick fixes for this, ways to infuse free stock photo’s with YOUR BRAND’s energy so that YOUR IMAGE will stand out and be recognised as part of your professional brand.
I have put together some examples of images I have edited for clients to show you simple ways to make a big difference.

1. Combine 2 Images.
In the simplest form this means taking the focal point from a stock photo you like and changing the background to make it more “on brand” for your business… so this could be putting your focal image on a coloured background that matches your logo or combining a few images to create something really unique. In this example I have cut out the diamond shape (you could even source an image that is already on a clear background to try this yourself) and I have put it on a universe background which is relevant to my client’s brand, also adding a light ray vector element and a sacred geometry flower of life image as subtle 15% white transparencies.

2. Add Your Logo.
You can add your logo or a brand element to a stock image to make it unique to your business. I don’t just mean stick your logo on top of an image so it looks like it doesn’t belong there… I mean incorporate it into the image. In this example I have put the logo onto the laptop screen. It’s also easy to add your logo to a stock image of a gift tag on a present, a package/parcel/box, a notebook, journal, paper, or post it notes that you can then write your quote or message on. In this example I have changed the colour of the cup from orange to pink to match the logo… see what else you could modify in the stock image to make it your own.

3. Black & White with a Splash of Brand Colour.
Black and white images with just a certain element coloured in are really eye catching and atmospheric. The stock photo will suddenly transform to reflect and emphasise the vibe you want to highlight when you just show a certain element in colour. This is a great style to use for a series of images that will be recognised for having just your brand colour standing out against the black and white. In this example I have coloured in the brown paper and added a rainbow effect 50% transparency gradient to match my client’s logo.

4. Segments.
You could combine two complimentary images in segments. It certainly makes a stock image unique to your business when you are using it in this way. You could over lay several brand theme elements to enhance the vibe you want to portray. It’s great style to use for adverts or banners. In this example I have used some creative colourful brand elements and added a gold butterfly 70% transparency to enhance the feeling of freedom portrayed by the stock image… I have also added a subtle pink transparency to modify the stock image a little too.

5. Changing Layout.
Move the elements about to make it different from the layout of the original stock photo. This creates a new image. You can remove any bits that don’t really match your brand theme and position elements within the photo to put more focus on portraying your business vibe. You could always combine this with changing the colour of something in the photo too. Note it is easiest to use this technique if the original image has a white or solid colour background. In this example I have removed a book and starfish and duplicated and placed more paperclips and a star decoration. I have added a subtle colour tone too.

6. Colour Transparencies.
You can change the feel of a stock image by adding a colour transparency. Whether that is one sold block with a tint of your brand colour or some carefully positioned overlapping gradient areas in a selection of colours that match your brand theme. A touch of the right colour can help you create a really unique image that truly represents your business and helps you stand out. In this example I have blended several colour transparency layers.

6. Add Text.
Adding your text to an image makes it unique to your brand. As well as the option of putting quotes and messages on an image of paper or a notebook and so on, as demonstrated in this example, you could incorporate your text into the photo so that it looks part of the image. So maybe you could have words stretching out along a road photo as if they are painted on… words to look as if they are drawn on the sand with a stick in a beach stock photo… or words on a parcel, vehicle, building, whatever is relevant to the message you want to share. In this example words have been put onto the instrument and a light effect used to give a touch of realism.

Have a play with your design software or with an app like pic-monkey or canva. I use adobe creative suite, mostly photoshop for editing images… if you need any photo customising help please get in touch! If you would like some ideas on images to use for promotion and ads then check out my free “Soulful Directions To Your Business” online course!

My Business, Inspired To Inspire Design has a powerful tag line that really says what working with me is like.
“More than a service, a DESIGN EXPERIENCE”… I say this with confidence because of my unique LIVE DESIGN sessions creating in real time over screen share and reacting instantly to feedback infusing your energy into designs you are guaranteed to love.
I also have a passion for supporting clients through the whole branding process and have many free courses and resources

Check out more examples of my work in the DESIGN SERVICES section now… “Be Inspired.”