Now that you know where to find the best stock photography, lets explore how you can use those awesome photos best.
If you decide to use stock photos within your brand, my biggest piece of advice would be to not forget that it's still important to have a very focused aesthetic that reflects your brand to your audience. One of the best ways to stay consistent is to create a style guide. This will help you to set some rules to make sure that the stock photography you do use still makes sense for your brand. Instead of just browsing site to site trying to find nice photos, if you have a clear visual approach already in place you will be able to develop a visual aesthetic that is recognisable and unique to you.
Outline the specific type of stock photos you will use. What will be the consistent features running throughout? Is there a certain colour palette you want to embrace?
There's way more to using stock photos than just picking out a visual and uploading it. My biggest piece of advice would be to edit and modify each stock photo you use so that you really start to develop a clear and concise visual brand. Whether you opt for hand lettering, or graphic overlays, or even just something as simple as your logo in the corner, make sure you keep things consistent and on-brand each and every single time.
You can build this step into your Style Guide. Include examples of the core visual branding you want to include throughout the visuals, as this way you can stay on brand and focused at all times.
The biggest draw back to using stock photos is that you won't be the only one using them. Any and everyone will also have access to the same sites that you use, so it's important that you embrace being a little different so that your visual brand can stand out and represent your blog and/or business in the best way.
Instead of just doing what everyone else in your niche is with their visuals, push yourself to try something a little differently. Developing your own visual approach means that your visuals have a better chance of standing out and being recognisable across social media platforms, so try and avoid the trap of just doing what everyone else is doing.
If you're building a brand that you hope can have some serious impact and reach with your ideal readers, and maybe even be profitable in the long run, it's key that your website is full of personality and your personal brand. Stock photos make it easy for us to have high quality visuals on our site, however don't let that distract you from still having some personal touches throughout.
Headshots, photos of you, and even behind the scenes of your business and brand are key in developing trust and your own personal brand. When you're using stock photography, make sure it doesn't drown out your own brand in the process. Finding balance is key.