social media imagery
If I could provide small business owners with only one tip for their social media it would be to invest in high-quality imagery; Whether that is professional photography, stock imagery or creating your own branded memes and quotes, having your own content provides a unique opportunity to brand yourself and to share your story. I know that there’s a trend towards being “real” online which is great - however, let that “realness” shine through in your post captions and videos - not in the form of dark, grainy/blurry photos. Yuck! If it’s not good enough for your website, don’t share it on your socials.
The very best thing you can do for your business is to book a brand photography shoot. Having great shots of yourself will make it more likely that you show your gorgeous mug on your feed - allowing people to get to know you and the person (or persons) behind the brand. A brand shoot costs you surprisingly little compared to the value you'll receive and, because they are your own images, there are no restrictions to how and where you publish your own images (unlike some stock photos). Speaking from personal experience, when I share my own photos those posts perform better than almost all other posts (except for my *hilarious* memes).
Leah Ladson Photography (responsible for most of the images you see of me on this website)
Jess Worrall Photography (mention Shall We Social for $50 off)
Lauren from Me and My Girl
I have also heard great things about Sophie from Sister Scout Studio
Kate from Hello Urban Safari
Nikki at Heist Creative comes highly recommended from another social media agency I know.
Amanda Campeanu does beautiful brand photography and flatlays plus she provides fantastic advice about posing for photos.
If you really don’t have the budget for a professional photography, or you want to supplement your brand images with lifestyle content, stock images provide a great source of content. There are so many great free and cost-effective stock image websites out there. Here are a few of my go-to sites:
Styled Stock Society
For a small fee, you can gain access to a library of stock images, with new additions each month. Collections include a variety of styled desktops, florals, lifestyle images, and mockups. Find out more about becoming a Styled Stock Society member.
The good folks at Canva have an abundant stock library that is bursting with literally every kind of image you can think of. I especially love the search function that allows you to find “Dogs wearing clothes“, and other such photographic treasures, with ease. They have a number of free images available and paid images are only $1USD each.
New on the scene, Stockify Digital is an Australian-based stock library offering high-quality photography with a whole new aesthetic. If you’re after something different from the usual white/bright desktop stills that now saturate other sites (and my own Instagram feed!), this is the site for you. I’ve had the privilege of chatting with the owner, Sam, and her go-get-’em attitude is infectious! She’s passionate about creating a unique product that suits the Australian market. Check them out on Instagram.
Sign up to the Creative Market mailing list and each Monday you’ll receive a range of ready-to-use design assets such as fonts, images, templates – some free and some highly discounted. Not only is this a good way to populate your image library, but you’ll also be supporting independent creatives. Win-win.
Wellness stock shop
If you’re in the natural health space and are looking for images of crystals, doTERRA oils and lithe ladies mid-yoga pose, the Wellness Stock Shop may be just the remedy you’re after. This would also be a great stock image site for anyone working in the nutrition space.
There are so many free stock libraries out there. It’s important to check the attribution requirements and permissions around the use of the images. Here are some of my go-to accounts that provide free photos for commercial use:
In addition, some of the paid stock libraries release 4-5 free images each month to their email subscribers. This is a good way to test the waters and see if you like their style before you commit.
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