The complete guide to using stock photos in your marketing

It’s time to stock up

Using stock photos on social media has plenty of benefits, but keeping your brand in mind is essential and ensuring everything is above board.

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or paid advertising on other social media platforms, stock photos are a valuable tool you should keep in your social media arsenal.

Back in the day, the term ‘stock photo’ would be all it takes to make any marketer cringe. However, that’s simply no longer the case. The quantity and quality of images has increased so much in recent years that you have to go out of your way now to find the bad ones. 

But before you start pulling a photo off the internet and using it in your next post, we have some valuable tips to read that will make your imagery stand out.

Let’s take a look at how to use stock photos on social media. 

Why Use Stock Photos on Social Media 

At #SMPerth, we use high-quality stock photos regularly. Here’s why:

  • They’re cheap (and by cheap, we mean free!)
  • They can enhance your brand and can create beautiful content.
  • Ease of access (you can find just about any photo you’re looking for in seconds).

Save money

How much does it cost to commission a photographer? It isn’t cheap. Stock photos don’t offer the same level of customisation as a tailored photoshoot. However, if you ask us, the pros outweigh the cons.   

Save money

If you’ve been thinking about using stock photos on social media, you probably have a few questions about cost. And yes, while online resources offer subscriptions and paid stock photos, there are plenty of free websites with fantastic stock photos. 

Variety and ease of use 

To put it simply, stock photos are easy to use, and there’s so much variety. You may not find the exact image in your mind, but you’ll undoubtedly find something close enough.  

How do you know if you can legally use an image?

stock photos

It is essential to know what licenses the image you are sourcing is protected by. This information can easily be found under licensing information on stock photo websites.

If you are unsure or can’t find any information that explicitly states that you can use an image, move on and find something else. is an excellent place to source high-quality images. They are clear about the use of their photos in their license description;

“All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.”

Most free-stock photos are covered under the creative commons license, which allows them to be used and edited for free.

Keep your branding in mind

While stock photos are an excellent option for social media, keeping your brand’s branding and image in mind is essential. What colours do you use? What colours do you stay away from?

Most stock photography websites, worth their weight, will offer the ability to search for images based on colour and a whole bunch of other filters.

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If you want to go a step further, you can always take your stock photos into a platform like Canva or Photoshop and edit them to align with your brand’s design language.  

Have you used stock photos on social media? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!