About 10 percent of a company’s operating budget goes to marketing efforts, according to a recent survey by Gartner. Your marketing dollars are pulled in many directions, from online ad spending and social media lead generation to printing marketing collateral. Producing these hard copy materials can be rather costly, and one way to cut costs is to use stock images instead of investing in a professional photographer. You can make stock images your own with a few innovative strategies and transformation tools.
Mix Stock Photography With What You Already Have
If you already have your own business photos, logos, etc. you want to incorporate into your marketing collateral, mix up the elements to create something professional and unique. Put your product photos into an existing stock photo, where appropriate, to create a complete scene. You may also choose to work your logo or other branding elements into an otherwise perfect stock photo to make it properly represent your company.
Use Stock Illustrations for Design Elements
Your website might have great coding, but if it’s got the visual appeal of a 1995 Geocities site, you may not have the professional image that you hope for. Look for vector stock illustrations for website design elements. Above all, go for a cohesive look for your brand. Most stock illustrations come with completely layered PSDs, so you won’t have a problem changing the color scheme or doing other alterations and making it perfect for your company. This also helps you save money on your overall Web design costs.
Experiment With Typography
Sometimes making a stock image your own is as simple as utilizing the power of typography. A unique font helps to set you apart from your competition and helps to create branding for your business. You want fonts that are distinctive while still remaining easy to read. Some popular font sites to explore includes Google Web Fonts, DaFont and Font Shop. They have thousands of fonts to choose from.
Use Masking Tools
Generally, you’ll find that stock photography is taken against a white background if it’s a single element photo. When you want to pull a piece of an image from the stock photo, or it’s not taken against a studio background, you need to incorporate some Photoshop magic to make it look smooth and natural against a different background. The tool for the job is called the masking tool, which allows you to isolate the element for use elsewhere without bringing along a color background or background design elements.
You can also replace the colors, adjust the contrast, work in a gradient or use the content aware tools. If you are just learning graphic design, or brushing up on your Photoshop skills you can find tutorials online.
However you decide to edit your images to compliment your business, brand, or product make sure you follow all appropriate licensing guidelines.
Have fun creating!