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How to Choose the Right Stock Photos for Your Blog Posts

How to Choose the Right Stock Photos for Your Blog Posts

Blogging is a crucial aspect of content marketing—but all words, no visuals don’t manage to hook readers to the screen. 

You need some great images that complement the content your audience wants and make the blog more interactive.

Humans are visual beings and can relate to textual content much better with aesthetically pleasing yet relevant visuals. That’s probably why 88% of marketers back up their blogs with some graphics.

But choosing the right stock photos is no cakewalk.

With generic photos on the rise, there’s only one rule to stand out—be authentic.

Multiple factors come into play, from theme and orientation to color profile and quality while picking unique stock photos. 

This article will walk you through the six key aspects you should consider when choosing stock photos for your blog posts.

1. Choose only relevant and high-quality images

If you put a picture of a college classroom for a post on employee engagement, you’re helping nobody. Similarly, a grainy shot of a cup of coffee will not help a blog on productivity.

The relevance and resolution of your photos matter a lot, without which the images will fail to serve their purpose—to add more context to your content.

If there’s one thing that drives readers away, it’s a pixelated photo that doesn’t make sense. So, source some good stock photos for relevant keywords from photo libraries like Unsplash and Pexels.

Here’s a checklist to find photos that fit the bill:

  • Unique and lesser-used
  • High-quality resolution
  • Relevant to the idea of the article

Image source

2. Ensure it aligns with the core message

One way to escape the trap of generic photos is to pick photos not exactly related to your topic. Choosing a descriptive image for the blog is never a compulsion. So, be creative with your image selection approach and find something unique.

For example, a blog on achieving a higher Google ranking through on-page SEO, can have pictures of climbing a hill. It creatively presents the idea of scaling till you reach the top.

Always ensure your image puts across the intended message and enhances understanding.

At the same time, don’t pay so much attention to the symbolic imagery that it ends up distracting the readers. It’s best to find some tangible objects or scenarios that can convey the topic’s core message.

3. Select images with good lighting and color contrasts

Not all stock images are perfect. You have to keep an eye on the color contrasts for the photos you pick.

A dark and dull photo or an overly bright one will naturally bring down your blog’s appeal. Make sure you pay special attention to the lighting and colors in your photos.

Evaluate your images on these fronts:

  • Color scheme-refreshing and appealing
  • Elements-vectors or humans that fit the context
  • Backdrop-perfectly complements your blog’s theme

Pro Tip: Georgia Tech studied over a million Pinterest photos and concluded that the colors pink, purple, and red tend to encourage sharing while black, blue, green, and yellow promote the opposite.

Image source 

Try to understand the idea behind colors, use the ones that add to your brand’s personality, and give out a feeling that aligns with the blog’s core message

4. Pick images with human faces

SEO expert Neil Patel says, “people sell.”

Human photos help in building the readers’ trust. They create a connection with the audience and humanize your blog to make it much more engaging.

The choice of such photos, however, involves multiple factors. There are many common patterns to choose from—individual or group photos, human(s) looking into the camera or away from the camera, captured from the front or the back.

So, make sure you pick the right image that aligns with the message and adds more value to the content.

Here’s a list of websites to help your search for pictures with human faces:

  • iStock
  • Shutterstock
  • Pixabay
  • Gratisography

Image source

5. Edit and rebrand stock images

Free or premium stock photos are available for public use. This means you’re adding images to your blog that might already exist on twenty different blogs.

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So, how do you ensure some level of originality? Customization.

Editing a stock image with some relevant text and adding your logo are two good ways to customize it. The image-editing tool Pablo by Buffer does this brilliantly. 

You get multiple stock photos from Unsplash on the platform itself, and you can simply resize, add text, reformat, and edit it further as per your preference. It’ll also help align images with your brand strategy to make them stand out.

Customization can also involve optimizing it for the search engines. This way, you are not only making the image your own but also ensuring it loads faster. Use tools like Optimizilla to ensure your images are optimized for the search engines

6. Consider image usage rights

Not all stock images are free.

There are free, freemium, and premium stock libraries online. Some stock images are purchasable at a fee because they belong to a business or individual. This means the owner has a legal claim over the images.

So, you can use them only after purchasing them from the owner. Even if you go for a free image, always give credit where it’s due. 

A few key terms to note when considering image usage rights are:

  • Royalty-free: You can use these images but not edit them.
  • Public domain: You can use these images without any restrictions.
  • Rights managed: You can use these images only once with a single-user license.
  • Creative commons: You have the creator’s permission to use the image.


Stock photos are equally important to your blog as the written content. They convey the post’s message, draw in the readers’ attention, and hook them to read till the end—maybe, even share it.

This justifies the time you spend searching for the right images and editing them to align with your brand strategy.

So, follow these tips to choose the best stock photos to pack your blogs, videos, social media posts, and other content types with even more value. Use the ones that match your criteria and can enhance your blog even further.

Remember that the key lies in picking images of high-definition that convey the blog’s idea clearly, and creatively.

Author Bio

Adela Belin is an independent content strategist and marketer with a love for the written word. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

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