There are tons of ways to spice up your blog images. Stock photos, paid or free, are a popular option. In fact, most blogs you see today use photographs in some form, either standalone or incorporated into a design. What you may not realize is that you can find a wide array of other types of visuals for use in your images such as illustrations, icons, textures, vectors, patterns and fonts.
Creative Market is by far one of the best-known names for high-quality design assets. A wide selection of graphic artists set up pages here to showcase their offerings. You can find practically any type of asset you need at Creative Market, from fonts to photo filters. Each month, you can purchase a highly-discounted bundle of assets, as well. This is a great way to grow your library. Sign up for their mailing list, and you can even get free design goodies each Monday.
A significant portion of the graphic design assets and elements in my business, including the title header of this blog post has been provided through the amazing artists on Creative Market and I wouldn't be where I am today without them!
Design Cuts is like Creative Market in their offerings, along with the fact that they offer an affordable monthly bundle. However, this online retailer represents a select group of artists, meaning their inventory is smaller, but you know you’re always getting the best quality from extremely talented designers. What’s especially wonderful about Design Cuts is their discount program. The more you buy, the more you save.
The site is a fantastic free option for graphics like patterns, templates and icons. To get access to a larger selection of assets at a price that’s more affordable than purchasing individual items elsewhere, you can choose one of their paid membership options.
If you like designing with vectors due to their versatility in customization, you’ll want to check out Vecteezy. Here you’ll find a large assortment of vectors that can be resized and customized with your choice of colors. You must have a vector design software like Illustrator to make these changes, though. Vecteezy has a tremendous number of free offerings or you can upgrade to their paid premium package.
Font Squirrel is the place to go if you’re looking for quality free fonts. There are many unique choices here from well-known type foundries. Do take care to read the terms for each one, though. Some are only for use in personal projects.
While there are hundreds of other places online to find blog design assets, these are trusted sources. Even on a zero to small budget, you’ll have no problem finding fantastic graphics, fonts, patterns, photo actions and other elements to make your blog stand out.
Find Quality Stock Images for Free
Images serve several purposes in blog posts, but they won’t do you any good if the ones you choose are of less than stellar quality. Professional photos can be quite expensive, though, and the well-known stock photography sites have pricey membership fees. Don’t despair. You may be surprised to learn there are places you can find quality stock images for free. Keep reading to discover some of the best.
While there is a premium package that grants access to the more than 1500 photos in their library and extras such as videos, you can score some wonderful images for free. Sign up for the newsletter to receive free photo packs each month.
Unsplash is a photo lover’s dream. This site offers over 50,000 free images. You can subscribe to get an inspirational collection in your email each month or simply view by collection or search for a specific term.
With new pictures added every week, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your blog posts. Photographer, Ryan McGuire, generously offers his quality images free with no copyright restrictions.
Pixabay is a website that offers a little something more. Not only can you get photos of all kinds, there are also offerings of vectors, illustrations and videos. You can use it all at no cost. Better yet, the search capabilities allow you to filter by type, color, category, size and more.
Viktor Hanasek, a talented photographer, set up this site to share his photos back in 2013. You can search his vast library of free images, opt for premium membership or even purchase the All in One Pack of every image from the site. An email subscription will get a selection of new photos sent to your inbox weekly.
Lifeofpix sets itself apart from other free stock image sites. Not only can you choose amazing photos from a slew of skilled artists, you can also set up an account that lets you curate a portfolio of images and follow your favorite photographers.
This free photo site with the quirky name grants you access to tons of photos from a wide selection of topics. Easy to search by word or category, you can browse images for all your blogging needs.
Now Personalize All Of Your Free Stock Images To Match Your Brand & Blog
In the days when blogging first became popular, it was common for bloggers to simply choose an image they liked and plop it into their post, sometimes with a catchy caption. However, in today’s crowded and competitive market, a simple photo won’t do. Not only does customizing your blog graphics help you stand out, it also creates brand awareness and increases social sharing. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a designer to customize your stock photos. You just should know a few basics to get started. Follow these tips on how to personalize free stock images to create graphics that get noticed.
Create Your Brand
Yes, bloggers need a brand. Branding isn’t just for commercial or retail sites. No matter what the purpose of your blog may be, you likely want to set a certain tone or convey a certain type of message. That is the purpose of branding. You can use blog elements such as color, font, and image style to achieve the impact you desire. The key to increasing recognition is consistency. It’s important to use the same font, colors and style in everything you post. That means your blog images should always contain these elements.
For instance, using the same filter on your photos will create a recognizable look. You may also achieve a distinct style just by adding a transparent color overlay on top of your images. Use images that coordinate well with your blog’s color scheme. Add text in your blog’s font or font combination to further personalize each image, and always use your distinct colors in this text. You can also add a small watermark with your blog’s logo to boost your branding.
Edit Your Images
If you already use Photoshop and Illustrator, or have a desire to learn, these are the tools professional designers use. They also will give you the most versatility and features. However, there are platforms such as Canva and PicMonkey that have far less of a learning curve and can produce fine quality graphics. Such platforms allow you lots of time-saving options like pre-sized canvas, formatted templates and filtered overlays. The free versions have fewer selections from which to choose. You may wish to consider the premium options to determine if the cost is worthwhile for your needs.
There are many ways you can edit free stock images to make them unique. One easy way is by cropping the photo. Cropping lets you focus on one portion of the overall picture, which can create a cool effect. Softening, blurring or coloring an image by using a filter is another simple way to add your own unique touch. These programs all have ways of achieving the look you want; just be sure to use that same or similar filter in all your images for consistent branding. The way you incorporate your blog’s font through text also jazzes up your photos in a way that is brand-friendly. Find ways to present your text and consistently use them in every graphic. This can be through bold, chunky layouts or with a more sophisticated feel.
Creating a customized graphic for each blog post might seem a bit overwhelming. It can seem even more of a challenge when you consider that each social network requires its own specific sizing. For example, Instagram images must be square and Pinterest graphics work best when they are tall. A time-saving technique is to create and save templates in each size you need, then simply switch out the image and text when needed. Because optimal size requirements sometimes change for each platform and purpose, a quick Google search is recommended to determine the correct dimensions.
These are just the basics of how to personalize free stock images. You can design your own simple layouts for your blog images without being a designer. Start simply and learn as you go.
The most important thing is to just say "yes" and start with tiny steps that are digestible.