Why you should want to create your own stock images
Stock images are generic images that can be found online and reused for your own purposes such as social media content or to illustrate blog content.
Stock images can be downloaded for free from sites such as pixabay.com, or found within editing programs such as Canva. There are also many stock images available for purchase on sites such as depositphotos.com or dreamstime.com. Many photographers earn income by creating and selling stock images.
For those of use creating graphics on a tight budget, we are likely reaching for the freebies first. When we’re on a tight schedule, we’ll then choose an image from the top of our search. Am I right?
What you’ll find over time is that the stock images you’re using are also being used by many others doing this exact same thing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but for those seeking to be unique it’s not ideal.
The good news though is it’s easy to create your own stock images!
All you need to create your own stock images is a camera! Add in some creativity and editing and you’ll never need to download a stock image again.
For this article, we’re going to look at examples of how to create your own stock images specifically for inspiration social media content – think the highly sharable quotes that you see on the daily!
The above examples all have common design elements. A stock image, often faded or covered with a transparent overlay, with text and design elements in the foreground.
It’s super easy to hop onto Canva and use one of the stock photos available there, but you do risk ending up with an image that has been used before by many other users.
Grab your camera and start snapping!
The easiest way to get your collection of background photos started is to take a camera or your phone with you the next time you go outside for a walk. Look for pretty flowers, interesting textures, and beautiful landscapes.
Inside your home set up small displays of homewares or look for interesting textures in clothing and textiles that could make for a cool background photo.
Go through old photos and you might be surprised to find a few potential backgrounds waiting for a quote. Photos of family, selfies, and the many travel photos we all have sitting in our archives can all be repurposed.
It doesn’t have to be perfect!
The photos you’ll be taking for social media quotes will often be faded and have text written over the top, so don’t feel pressured to take the perfect pic. When it comes to editing you can crop the photo, add a filter, and change the opacity.
Ideas and Examples:
You don’t have to look far to find interesting textures to photograph! Fabric weave, tree bark, garden pebbles, a rusty garden ornament. Once you start realising how amazing these textures can look as background images, you’ll be snapping photos all day long.
I will often take impromptu snaps of my kids whenever we’re out and about, and with a little bit of creative tweaking, these can make great backgrounds for quotes.
If you have a photo you really adore and don’t want to cover it up, position the elements in a way that pleases you. Background photos don’t have to always faded, filtered, or covered!
How many photos do you take every time you travel? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have tens, maybe even hundreds of photos saved from any and every tourist destination you’ve visited. Each one has the potential to be repurposed into a background image!
The sky is constantly changing and there are plenty of opportunities to get some great cloud, sunset, or storm photos for backgrounds. Again, don’t worry if the snaps aren’t perfect because thanks to editing apps we can add some tweaks to make the most of our photos.
How many times have you taken a quick snap of a dish before tucking into a meal? Think outside the Instagram box and repurpose these images for other content.
Kid’s toys, particularly vintage ones, can make great photo props and background imagery.
These few examples show you how easily you can create new content for your social media accounts without relying on stock photos. Create your own background images!
Share the love
Once you start snapping some high quality stock images for yourself, consider uploading a few to free sites such as pixabay.com for other users to access. Think of it as a way to repay the community for the times you’ve accessed free stock photos!
People will pay for quality stock images. If you get really good at it, you might want to apply to have some of your photos included on the paid sites. You could just find yourself with a potential new income stream!
Do you already have a collection of your own stock images? I’d love to hear your favourite quotes or photo ideas! Please leave a comment below…
Looking for more tips on taking photos for social media content? Check out my blog, 6 tips for improving your photos for Social Media.
Note – I am NOT a professional photographer or graphic designer and will never pretend to be. The above tips aren’t gospel, just a few handy hints that I’ve picked up along the way in my journey as a content creator and social media manager.