Smart Search Skills Make Stock Photo Selection Stellar!

Stock photos suck! Or do they?

Maybe you just suck at seeking out the right stock photos. Ever thought of that?

No, no, no … I’m not picking on you. Yes, I might have said your stock photo search tactics are currently on the sucky side, but I promise – cross my heart and hope to die – that it was said with love and with your best interests at heart.

Search Smarter and Select Stellar Stock Photos!

Let me say, first and foremost, that when I discuss stock photo searches, I’m NOT talking about the Google search bar. Don’t do it! Don’t grab an image off the Internet and think you’re good to go. You’re NOT. You’re actually stealing.

Numerous marketing and design bloggers have compiled lengthy lists of places you can grab legal-to-use stock photos for your marketing and design needs. Here are links to a few of them:

Best Places To Find Free Images & Photos Online

30 Kick-Ass Websites To Find Free High Quality Stock Photos

It’s easy to find a site to make your go-to home for all things hubba hubba when it comes to stock photos that don’t suck!

Now what?

Search Synonyms!

Much like you create a focus keyword or key phrase for your post’s SEO, you need to carefully consider the keyword or phrase for your stock photo search.

If you seek stock photos that haven’t been used and abused over and over again, your focus keyword is going to have to stretch some boundaries.

One of my favorite writing tools is also a really great resource when you’re trying to up the ante on your image search.

I’m talking about good old thesaurus.com, one of my go-to sites. I’d guess I visit it at least five times per week.

[clickToTweet tweet=”That’s right, thesaurus.com is a great image search tool too! #graphicdesign” quote=”That’s right, thesaurus.com is a great image search tool too!” theme=”style4″]

Feel like a search term might yield overly used stock photos, pop that search phrase into the site and see what comes up.

For example, this post is about searching for stock photos, right? So I popped “search” into the site and came up with this:

(insert screen cap)

And here’s the full list of synonyms (and antonyms) that make for detailed and diverse searches!

Stream of Consciousness Search …

When I was helping Sara Nickleberry with the creation of her branded social media graphic templates, she also looked to me to help her seek out the best stock photo selections to be used within her templates.

Because I don’t want to be too obvious when selecting my stock photos – as this is a tried and true way to repeat the same selections of your peers and competitors, I engage in what I call stream of consciousness searches.

I’ll use this post as an example, again. As stated above, the keyword focus for my featured and social media images is “search.” But a quick search with “search” will garner you a stream of photos showing browser windows, magnifying glasses and other obvious choices.

It’s always my goal to seek the less obvious and more suitably styled photos for my posts.

So I started ruminating and rambling (out loud in this instance, but you can also do it in your notepad – I’ll be sharing mine in a future publish) about the different ways and times we search.

Eventually my ramblings came to hide and seek and this image was the result!

Color Me Search Savvy!

If you want your photos to play nice with your brand, you’ve got to search, seek and select with color in mind.

So, color me confused when it came to my attention that my peeps weren’t searching with color included!

Say you’ve decided that a steaming cup of joe best suits the style of your latest publish. Searching coffee might leave you feeling a wee bit overwhelmed, and it will probably pull up plenty of photos that don’t suit your specific needs.

Searching coffee cup will eliminate photos of busy baristas building the perfect foam topping, as well as piles of beans artfully arrayed.

BUT! To match your brand you might want to call on your color scheme. Seems so simple, but when’s the last time you searched RED coffee cup, or BLUE bird, or even ORANGE octopus (okay, that one might be just a little bit out there!)?

And get SPECIFIC with those colors, party peeps. Think beyond simple ROYGBIV. Let’s talk teal. Maybe call on some coral. Seek out some scarlet, even!

Search smarter and your stock photos will go from sucky to stellar. Seriously! It’s not always simple, and I certainly won’t say it’s easy, but you can take it up a notch and create some beautiful branded visuals with affordable stock photos!

Smart Search Skills Make Stock Photo Selection Stellar!
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