As markets become saturated, how our brands appear online is becoming ever-more crucial. Images act as content for our social media posts, adverts for our services and convertors for our sales funnels so standing out from the crowd is just a teensy bit important. Unless you’ve already used a photographer for your own branding imagery, styled stock imagery may just not be on your radar. But what exactly are Styled Stock Images and are they just another fad?
Styled Stock photos are shots of tools and accessories used in your everyday life in business, that have been styled to create lifestyle based imagery that connects with and engages your target market. They might include images of working on-the-go represented by laptops, microphones and tripods, through to mind setting rituals featuring crystals, candles and journals. The photos help tie your brand together and successfully tell your story to your target market across any online platform.
So perhaps you’ve identified that you are in need of some lifestyle images that represent your brand or product. – How do you go about tracking down the perfect ones? It’s so easy to spend hours frantically searching for the best photo to represent your latest post. Whilst super inspirational and helpful, a few Social Media platforms have this amazing ability to whisk you into another creative vortex, and if you’re anything like me you end up with a phone full of images of the latest craze for lavender pant suits, rather than finding what you were actually searching for all those hours earlier. Before you know it a ten minute job has turned into a two hour one, and to top it off you’re not even convinced you’ve found ‘the one’. So just maybe you’ve not been swept away with photos of scrummy new dinner recipes, and you have managed to find the perfect image for your brand. But then you discover it’s not royalty free, and so can’t use it without paying a hefty license fee… Next comes that niggling feeling that every other business owner may already have got their hands on it, in which case you’re paying to use imagery that’s potentially already out there.
So, why not have a go at creating your own imagery? Here are some of my top tips to keep your styled stock branding imagery looking on point:
Select your backgrounds carefully. It’s a good idea to have a variety of options that all fit within your brand colour palette. Each background should represent a different context, for example, a floor, a table, a wall, a desk, a bed, etc.,
Spend time sourcing props that are right for your brand. For example, if your business is all about coaching people on how to achieve their ideal lifestyle, the quality of props need to reflect these values (so a budget prop shop may not fit the bill here!),
Stick to your brand palette. As a general rule of thumb, use no more than three colours together when styling your shots. Neutrals work really well as backgrounds and bases for colour,
Create a shoot plan. For consistency with lighting, it’s always best to try and style up and shoot as much content as you can at any one time,
Make it engaging. – Are there specific labels and accessories that you know your target market have? Use these to capture their attention,
Balance the reality with the ideal. Whilst you want to create as realistic a setting as possible, don’t forget that the main aim is to create imagery that represents your brand values. This may mean using props in a slightly more unrealistic way in order to achieve that aspirational vibe,
Have fun! Styling your stock imagery should be a highly creative and inspirational exercise.
Once the more difficult task of props sourcing and buying is done, try to enjoy the day of photography! Seeing styled stock imagery as an investment for your business will help you relax and create on brand content.
Happy Styling! x
If you’re interested in more hints and tips, including an IG crammed full of flat lays and styled stock imagery, follow Fi: @fi_campos_stylist.
About the Author:
Fi is a still life, product and interiors stylist with over a decade of commercial styling experience. She helps brands and businesses increase their profitability by styling captivating and original imagery that best represents them. Instagram: @fi_campos_stylist Website: www.number21.style