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Have you ever searched through Pinterest and seen the same image multiple times?
Sometimes the photos aren’t exactly the same, but they all look so similar you can’t distinguish one from the other. So how do you create your own stock images so your brand will stand out?
Images are super important when it comes to branding. Let’s face it, the majority of social platforms and online marketing are done with images. People are naturally drawn to imagery. That’s why it has been used in marketing since the very beginning. Continue reading and I will show you exactly how you can create your own amazing stock photos and get your brand noticed.
First steps- You really need to know a few basics about photography, but don’t worry, I’ll fill you in here!
Most phones will give you pretty incredible images. However, I highly recommend getting yourself a basic DSLR. You don’t need a professional camera. A starter DSLR will produce the images you want. The difference between your phone and a real camera is the lens options you get with a camera. Using a macro lens gives you the ability to take close ups far better than a phone can. You can also adjust your aperture, ISO, and shutter speeds in order to create soft, blurred backgrounds, and other dreamy effects. The cost of a starter DSLR is very reasonable and the results will be professional looking photos.
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If you already own a DSLR (or plan to get one), but haven’t yet learned how to take photos in manual mode, I would love to teach you. You can sign up here for this FREE e-course that will teach you everything you need to know.
Here are the basics of taking great photos
- You need a good light source, preferably natural light. Find a good space in your house where you can use natural light from a window or if it is nice outside, set yourself up in a shaded area outside. Choose a shady spot so your colors will be even, without any harsh shadows from the sun.
- Think about your composition. The most basic composition technique is the rule of thirds. Imagine you have a grid drawn on your photos, like the one below. Place your object so the main focus points line up on one or more of the vertical or horizontal lines. This will create a more visually appealing photograph. You can do this when doing a flat lay image or a standard image. The next important compositional technique is filling the frame. This is where you let your objects leave the sides of the frame and create blank space in the middle of your image. This works best if you use at least two edges of your frame. For Pinterest images you want to leave enough white space for adding text.
Branding and colors
Knowing what to take pictures of is just as important as knowing how to take a great image. If you haven’t already, put together a color palette for your brand. Try to stick to 3-4 main colors that really capture your brand. You will use these colors to show who you are on your website, social media, and anywhere else your brand is located. If you have a brick and mortar store, colors are just as important. They set the mood for your business and brand, so choose carefully.
You also need to decide what types of images you want to use. My brand is highly focused on families and kids so I use a lot of people in my photos. I want my audience to feel connected and relatable to my content and business. This may not be the same feelings you want to get from your audience, but you do want to get some kind of feeling when they come across your images. Maybe you run an interior design business and want people to be drawn to your simple yet elegant furniture. If you use images that make people “want their house to look like your images”, they will be drawn to your business immediately.
Take a minute to do these two exercises to figure out your brand and colors.
First, go to your Pinterest account and create a mood board for your brand.
As you search through pinterest, you are just looking at images. Don’t worry about the text. Look at the colors, the mood, and the objects in each image. Find several images that would describe what you want your brand to be and save them to your mood board. This will give you a great point of reference when you start taking photos. You do not want to simply copy what you see, but it is good to have visuals that will help you formalize your own ideas.
Next, Answer these questions;
What objects/subjects will showcase my brand in my niche?
Examples: kids/parenting niche: Baby items, toys, portraits, dishes, laundry, moms, kids, etc.
Blogging niche: desk, office supplies, books, computer, person working, etc.
Lifestyle niche: fashion, makeup, women, household items, coffee, out to lunch, etc.
Make a quick list so you have a starting point.
What kinds of images will best showcase my brand?
Portraits, flatlays, close ups, landscapes, etc.
Once you have that nailed down, you are ready to take your photos.
How to set up your Images
You must keep your color scheme consistent. Think about your backgrounds, subjects, and other items in your image to remain consistent.
If you shoot portraits or landscapes:
- Use your background, scenery, and outfits to keep your color palette consistent.
- Use the background, such as a white brick wall or bright blue sky, or whatever might match your brand colors to stand out.
For example, if your font/accent colors on your website are cream, peach, and other vintage tones, try taking images with soft colors in the background, and think about using the light to get a golden glow on your images.
If your brand is bold and bright, you might use a graffitied wall with vivid colors and bold lines in your images.
- If it is hard to capture your images in the color palette you desire, you can always edit them with a filter during post processing. Similar to an Instagram feed, add a filter to your image. Choose the same filter every time and you will get a cohesive look to each of your images. You can use a post processing software such as adobe lightroom (the free version has everything you will need).
If you shoot flatlays and still life images:
- Use objects and the background color to create your cohesive look.
Here’s what you will want to do.
- Purchase 3-4 2x2 sheets of fiberboard and 2-4 colors of paint. (You can also use cardboard or foam board, but fiberboard is inexpensive and will last way longer.) The fiberboard is easy to store and costs about $3.75 a piece at our local Home Depot.
- Choose which color you will paint each side. Paint each side of each board a different color. Use all of your colors. You now have several different ways you can combine your colors.
- Then, use your list from above and begin to gather items you may want to use for your photos. Think about your color theme and mood as you are choosing your items. As you write a blog post or take photos for an advertisement, you can gather more items as needed. Having a small stockpile will give you a place to grab from when you need a quick image. The great thing is, you can mix and match a few items and come away with multiple images each time.
- Now, find your great picture taking spot with enough natural light to keep shadows away. I have a big window in my house that I use. For flatlays, I choose the color I want and lay my board flat on the ground in front of the window. Then I start positioning my items so that I will be able to capture them in my photograph. This is the fun part! Position yourself above them, a chair or bed work great, and photograph looking straight down, being careful not to cast any shadows. Stand behind the light source and try not to use over head lighting.
- You may also want to have photos that aren’t so two dimensional. In this case, you can place one board flat and lean the other board against something to get the background color. You may want to have the same color for the bottom and the background or you may want to mix and match your colors. No matter what positioning you choose, you will have your branded colors in your photos. Now you can arrange your items as you wish and take your photos from the level that will work best for your image.
So, here is a recap because I know I got a bit wordy in that tutorial.
- Think about a few photography basics. Sign up for Photography Masterclass here!
- Nail down your brand.
- Buy wood, foam board, or cardboard and paint it with your brand colors.
- Start collecting items that will work for your stock photos.
- Find your perfect photo taking location.
- Play around with flat lays and other photos.
This can be addicting once you start so don’t be surprised if you start taking so many stock photos that you can’t use them all. In fact, you may decide to create a stock photo library as a way to monetize your site. This can be a great source of passive income. Maybe there will be a later post on how to set that up!
For now, I hope you enjoy taking your own photos and this will be one step in getting your brand noticed! If I can be of any other assistance for you as you grow your business and your photography skills, please reach out to me! I am happy to help you with anything you need! If you are just starting out or feel like you are running in every direction, download my free One Year to a Successful Blog Workbook. It will get you on your way to having the blog that you want!
You can do this!
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Get signed up in the FREE Foundations of Pinterest Course today!
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase a product through one of my links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Pinterest is probably something you have a love/hate relationship with at...
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