Original photos and videos are cool, but not all brands can afford expensive production and invest quite a lot of money in shooting and editing. How do you find something good from a million photos with unnatural smiles, poses and retouching in stocks?

Original photos and videos are cool, but not all brands can afford expensive production and invest quite a lot of money in shooting and editing. How do you find something good from a million photos with unnatural smiles, poses and retouching in stocks? We have collected nine tips to make the search painless and the content itself responsive to the target audience.

 

1. Imagine looking for a photo for a blogger’s account

People on social media are more responsive to content from other people than from brands. This means that the closer your publications are to real life, there are more chances for the audience’s attention. You can see Nike and Gucci exploiting this strategy.

There is such an exercise: describe what emotions a photo evokes in a blogger’s account and figure out what techniques help to achieve this. For example, close-ups without retouching are often used to show openness and honesty.

Instagram of Scottish actor Sam Heughan from Outlander / Stock image which could fit the account

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2. Look for pictures that you want to think out

If the image evokes associations and forces the user to speculate on the scene, the brand wins. After all, this way it can be imprinted in the memory of a potential client.

To pick up a picture with a story inside, think about what good will not happen in other people lives without your product or service. For example, a person cannot relax with friends in the forest without your mosquito repellent.

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NoFrames Glasgow
NoFrames Glasgow

3. Take a closer look at the illustrations

A photo does not always work better than simplified and emphatically unrealistic graphics. Author’s illustrations, collages and animations highlight the ads in the feed, which is dominated by ordinary photos and videos.

In addition, illustrations are often more credible than retouched photographs of models – the graphics do not leave the impression that flaws are hiding from you.

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NoFrames Glasgow

4. Focus on trending palettes

Stock pictures can be output based on the latest downloaded files and predictions of the Pantone Color Institute. For example, here is a collection of pictures of lime, the trendiest colour of summer 2021.

If ready-made solutions are not for you, you can work out your seasonal palette yourself – and then just filter the results by colour.

Without filter by colour / With filter by colour

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NoFrames Glasgow

5. Don’t be afraid of stock videos

If the budget or time for the production of the original video is limited, you can take a closer look at the stock ones. These videos won’t replace product reviews, but they can illustrate less specific things. For example, show the prototype of the target audience in the video, so that the viewer thinks: “Oh, this product is really for me!”

Also, stock videos are good as references. With their help, you can show the client how the video will look approximately, clearly explain the idea, transitions and effects.

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6. Be afraid of stock smiles

A happy family from a mayonnaise advertisement, a hacker in a hoodie, overly active gestures or facial expressions – these are all “typical stock photos” that do not inspire confidence in the audience and are repulsive.

There will always be such pictures on microstocks, but you can catch others – more natural and lively.

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Glasgow NoFrames

7. Choose a calm colour scheme

Contrasting images look more noticeable, but this technique has been overused in design so much that people stop responding to colourful content. In addition, it is hard to look at bright pictures when you are already sitting at a laptop or phone all day. The user is more likely to scroll through the image or close the page.

But the restrained, natural palette is relaxing, so this kind of content is worth taking a closer look at. Of course, if it is related to the brand book.

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NoFrames Glasgow

8. Avoid aggressive retouching

Today, artificial intelligence draws perfect skin even before you have time to photograph a friend – and it looks natural. Therefore, if retouching is striking, the design will cause rejection, look unstable, and you may be accused of embellishment.

Try to avoid deep retouching when choosing visuals on stocks. Give preference to imperfect shots that are taken as if by accident.

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NoFrames Glasgow
NoFrames Glasgow

9. Think wider

A post about the principles of a successful business? The picture shows a man in a suit. A poster about a new promotion in the mall? We are already downloading a photo with girls with a bunch of coloured bags.

Yes, through a stereotypical picture, you can convey an idea unmistakably and the majority will definitely understand it. But they don’t grab your audience and make your ad campaign stand out from hundreds of others.

Before looking for another visual, think: who will see this ad? What problems and worries do they have in their heads now? What story will resonate and make you grab the attention?

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Glasgow NoFrames
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