The sample images or photos you use can make or break your designs; there are times when choosing stock photos that really match the overall theme of the designs is important. This is especially true when you’re designing visuals for a client because their perception of the design depends on the photos you use too.

Royalty Free Photo

Finding great photos that compliment your design is a lot easier to do today. Even better, these next stock photo tips and tricks will help you find the best photos and use them effectively.

Search for Tags

Top stock photo sites usually offer an advanced search feature to help designers find the photos they need. What you need to remember is that the search functionality isn’t designed to search for the content of photos. It is geared more towards titles, descriptions, and other text-based elements added to the photos.

To be a master in searching great photos to use, you need to search for tags. Think about the tags that photographers might add to their photos and tailor your search to those potential tags. You’ll be surprised by how much altering your approach can help you discover more great photos to use in your designs.

Know Where to Look

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of sites that offer royalty-free photos for various usages. Some photos are even available for free. You can find a wealth of resources such as the thousands of free images available from Shopify.

The more you browse through different sources of stock photos, the more you will notice some interesting characteristics. Some sites, for example, are known for their landscape and nature photos. Others offer urban-themed photos that have been edited to match a more modern style or colors.

Once you know where to look, you can find the right type of photos you need more effectively. This saves a lot of time and money while allowing you to maintain a consistent mood or theme throughout your designs.

Use Samples

Don’t hesitate to use samples of premium stock photos when creating mockups or drafting designs for clients. Sample photos have watermarks on them, but you don’t have to pay to use them. Once the client approves your design, you can purchase the photos you use.

Samples are also used for testing ideas. From personal experience, I know that it takes some getting used to before you start looking past the watermarks and gaining the ability to use samples as part of your design workflow.

Using samples is a simple trick to keep in mind, but it is a trick that will also save you a lot of money. Even royalty-free stock photo sites have download limits that you must adhere to; why download photos that you cannot use when you can test your ideas using samples instead?

These tips and tricks are simple and easy to implement, but they are useful for designers who use stock photos frequently. The next time you need some photos for your design, you know how to search the right stock photo sites effectively.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.