Choosing imagery is a business decision. The right picture is the difference between communication success and failure.
Every time you choose an image to accompany published content, it’s a business consideration. In terms of the Web, whether for social media, a web page, or as part of an article, the images you choose certainly matter. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram not only represent your brand, but they have the power to spur sales and bring in new business, a lot like a web landing page. However, all of these platforms need carefully selected impactful images to bolster your content and help achieve business success.
Stock imagery, for example, is your friend and foe. Steer clear of cross-armed models and DIY-whitened grins. Any smartphone wielding millennial can sniff out a bad stock image before her Twitter feed even loads. And you know what comes next? #Unfollow. The issue is we are usually behind our desks searching for images online as opposed to photographing a perfect picture to match the content. In this instance, stock imagery is your ally. Stock images are absolutely necessary at times and can work wonders for a brand when handled well.
To help take your visual communication to the next level, follow these tips and tricks:
What to Look For
Even before you begin the search for an image to accompany your content, consider what it is you want to represent. This will help drive your search terms. Depending on the content you are publishing, a number of factors could come into play such as the brand’s color palette or the messaging of a specific article. Ensuring the image is closely tied with your content is a great start for successful visual marketing.
Also consider how and where the image may be used. Will you add text to this image later? If so, you will want to be sure to find a text friendly image.
Where to Search
Now that you are focused on choosing a relevant image that works with your usage, you need to know where to look. There are plenty of places out there in the World Wide Web where you can score quality stock images, and many of them are free. There are so many image sites it can actually be overwhelming, so we have selected a few of the most reliable resources:
Unsplash has tons of high quality, crisp photos, and the site adds 10 new photos every 10 days. This is one of the best sites for images of landscapes and nature. The only problem with Upsplash is it might make you want to take those vacation days you’ve been saving.
Splitshire is the place to go for lifestyle and miscellaneous shots. Need an amazing tablescape? Splitshire. Or that time you happen to be writing an article about a snail and need a great photograph of a snail crawling across a log? Splitshire has got you covered. Oh and did we mention, the images are all free.
Life of Pix is another place to find great (read free) stock images that are added to every week. The site features many outdoor scenes.
Business stock photos that don’t fall into the generic “best meeting ever” category are difficult to find. IM Free has a business dedicated section on their site.
How to Search with the Right Parameters
When looking for an image, it’s important to find one with the correct properties to suit your needs. For instance, you wouldn’t want a pixelated photo to appear on the home page of your website, or anywhere for that matter. Including factors such as size and transparency when you conduct your search will make finding a good image easy.
A Note on Licensing
Another aspect to keep in mind during the search is licensing. Photography is an art, and it is essential to credit photographers for their work. Many stock photo sites allow you to search by license type. The absolutely safest way to search is by any label that ends in “reuse with modification.” This means you can use the picture and adjust it. Cool, we like that.
A Note on Using Good Old Google
Sometimes you just need to snag a picture straight from Google Images. There are still some techniques to elevate a simple Google search to the next level. When searching in Google Images, click “Search Tools.” This opens a whole menu of options, including size, colors, and license types. Make your selections here based on what you need, and you will never have a pixelated picture.
Following these tips will have you well on your way to becoming a visual communicator. Always keep in mind the importance of choosing images based on the messages you want to convey to your audience. The goal is to marry content and imagery to create an impactful message.