Stock photography is a bit of a boon for medium-sized brands that can’t yet invest in custom images. But it can be difficult to create a sense of cohesion or ownership of images from different photographers across different scenarios.
With stock image sites, you can easily select images that illustrate your point, blog post, brochure or web page from a vast library of photos taken by a huge cohort of photographers. A drawback to this freedom is though images may be related in their subject, their stylistic tone can be vastly different. When you place your images side by side, the differences become apparent. You can see that each is taken by a different photographer in a different location or even country under different lighting and using varied photographic styles.
Own-able images are important in supporting the wider brand and helping your products stand out from the crowd!
Experience and wisdom can help define your selections and begin to remove some of the issues. For example, perhaps you decide that the coffee shop stock photos you’re looking for will always contain people. Maybe you decide those people should not be looking at the camera, but should be captured in a reportage style, busy chatting to friends, working on their laptops or brewing coffee as if the camera didn’t exist.
Such curation will give you a huge increase of cohesion. You may still be struggling to rationalise the lighting or photographic style. In this case you could lean on some photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Applying a “brand style” or simply making colour or depth of field adjustments to each image that align them together will improve the cohesion by another level.
In the example above I applied an impactful styling technique to the images that allow the brand to own the images more uniquely and effectively.