13 Creative Uses for Stock Photos

Do you know that stock photos can be used for a lot more creative uses that you might have assumed? When it comes to purchasing stock photos, you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to the possibilities.

Not only can stock photos make your creative projects more interesting, they also can work to engage more of your audience. People respond to words better when high-quality photos draw in their attention. If you need some new ideas about how to use stock photos, we hope the following 13 can offer you some creative inspiration.


Social Media Posts

If you’re looking to get more engagement on Facebook or other social networks, a great way to make your posts stand out from the crowd is with a well-chosen stock photo. People will be a lot more likely to click on your post or even just stop to read it. With so many options of what to look at online, your social media posts can really shine through with the right stock photo.


Cover Photos

Whether you need a cover photo for your Facebook page or for your YouTube channel, stock photos will give you the perfect mix of professional and creative. When it comes to a business page, it’s better to opt for the stock photo in order to preserve the professional image rather than one you’ve snapped yourself. But even for a personal page, stock photos can make people really notice what you’re doing. When you find a stock photo that you like for your cover, you can edit it and put your own personal touch on it.


Email Marketing

Have you ever noticed those email marketing campaigns that are loaded with text? I don’t know about you, but I notice myself losing focus on many of them. When relevant photographs are placed tactfully throughout the message, the reader can stay focused longer and engage more deeply. By simply spending a few minutes to find a stock photo that fits your purpose, you may notice more people are responding to your emails or even buying your products. Injecting a little creative stock photo usage into your emails can really increase results.


Blog Posts

An excellent place for stock photos is on your blog posts. If you’re already using photos as a featured image on these posts, that’s great! We also want to let you know there are more ways to get use out of them. Placing photos throughout the blog content can also engage readers in a similar way as they do in the email marketing. When people stare down a block of text, their eyes can glaze over and boredom might set in. Strategically placing stock photos throughout the blog post can help break up the content into more manageable chunks and keep reader’s attention engaged.


Pay Per Click Ads

Whether you buy ads from Google Adwords, Facebook, or LinkedIn, using a high quality photo is pretty much a requirement. Studies have shown that people respond to ads with photos in them better than without. And photos of people, tend to perform better than those of objects or landscapes. People can more easily identify with a photo of a person. When it comes to getting clicks on your ads, you want them to identify with it. Using appropriate stock photos can help you get there. As with any ad, always test a few different options to see what gets best results. Perhaps, you’ll want to try a few different stock photos to see which works best for your ad.



Does your business need to get the word out locally? Fliers can be a great way to connect with the population by targeting specific hubs of activity. Perhaps, a local coffee shop or community center attracts a lot of people in your business’s target audience. Fliers that include great photos are going to attract more attention than those that have just text. Experiment with different color schemes and photo types. Once again, you might want to consider a photo that pictures people. Also, you can choose a photo based on your target audience. For example, if your business’s ideal client is a woman in her early 20s, you should include a picture of such a woman on your flier.


Business Cards

Often one of the most overlooked types of marketing collateral, business cards can actually be one of the most effective. When you meet someone face-to-face and trade business cards, the exchange of information can solidify the interaction in the other person’s mind. For example, if you attend a networking event and collect business cards, you know that you need to make sure yours stands out. Having a great photo on your card that makes sense for your industry and business might be a great way for you to differentiate yourself. It’s certainly a creative way to use stock photos and can get your business a little more attention.



As we’ve discussed, photos make content a lot more engaging. But if you are able to use photos to create content, you are definitely going to put them to good use. An infographic allows you to share pertinent information in a highly engaging way. It includes images and illustrations that enhance the written information. You can find these vectors, illustrations, and photos on any stock photo site. When you compile them in an infographic, you have used them in a creative way that is going to deliver results. Infographics are a piece of content that people love to share so just by creating one with your stock photos, your business’s name will likely spread.



If you’re feeling really creative, you can gather together a collection of stock photos and compile them in a collage. Doing something unique like this could be a great way to highlight a message for your company or just to make a fun project for yourself. If you’re planning on making a collage for your business, you will probably want to choose a theme that can apply to the work you do. Perhaps, you run an organic food store and are having a spring sale. You could create a collage of all the seasonal produce and place some text on top. You could make this into a flier or even just an engaging post on social media.



If you’re sharing content on YouTube or want to create video content, you can use stock photos to enhance its creativity. Many YouTubers have the camera fixed on their face throughout the video. While there is nothing wrong with this, splicing in some stock photos can add an awesome creative touch. You can also use stock photos in a video as an entire slide show. You could narrate over the photos or play a song. There are so many creative uses for stock photos in your video content.


Book Covers

Whether you plan to publish a book or eBook, you can use stock photos to enhance the appeal of the book cover. Similarly you can use them on CD or DVD covers too. A photo on a cover can make your product stand out and be more attractive than similar products. While we all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we almost always do. So when you are designing the cover for your next product, invest some time in finding the perfect stock photo that not only fits that content but engages the potential reader.


Promotional Materials

If you need to create a brochure or product packaging, finding the right stock photo is pertinent. People will lose interest in these materials if there are no photos. Make sure the stock photos you pick for your printed promotional materials are relevant to what you’re selling and are professional. There may be restrictions on the licensing of your stock photos, so always check with the stock photo agency before using stock photos you’ve purchased for these printed materials.


Print Ads

Perhaps one of the most creative uses for stock photos is finding the perfect photo that can help you sell more products and services. This is no easy task but can be extremely rewarding work especially when it delivers results. Do some research on your competitors’ print ads and see what is working for them. Brainstorm your own ideas and then try a few tests. Print ads that utilize photos are going to be much more engaging then those that do not.

When it comes to using stock photos, there is virtually no limit to what you can do with them. While you need to always make sure you are not violating any license agreements before printing or modifying a stock photo you purchased, you should try using your photos creatively.

We hope these 13 creative uses for stock photos has given you some new ideas. Which do you think you’ll try next? Please let us know in the comments.

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