How to Choose the Best Images for Your Brand

branding Nov 08, 2020

“Brand Imagery” - the photos and graphics used to represent your brand through your website, blog posts, newsletter articles, social media graphics, and marketing materials.

Brand imagery is an important part of building a brand that's professional, cohesive, and credible; but unfortunately it’s something that many fempreneurs don't get right.

They choose cheesy stock images that lower the quality of their brand, or they get lazy and slop together images that don’t have a cohesive look and feel.

How to Choose the Best Images for Your Brand:

When choosing your brand images consider 4 things…

1. Your Brand’s Look and Feel

First you need to know your brand’s look and feel, which is inspired by your personal style. Once you know this choosing images will be much easier.

For example, my personal style is elegant, edgy and nature-inspired. When I choose images to represent my brand, I always make sure they align with these words.

I wouldn’t choose a picture of a punk rocker chick wearing fluorescent pink because that wouldn’t align with my brand’s look and feel.

2. Your Brand’s Color Palette

When you choose images to represent your brand, you want them to align with your color palette.

For example, my brand’s color palette is black, gold and red with accents of green and beige neutrals.

I choose images, for the most part, that match this color palette. You don’t have to be a total perfectionist about this, but in general, it's good to follow your color palette for a consistent look and feel.

Tip: Create a Pinterest Board of images that represent your brand’s style and color palette. You can search for images on Pinterest by color, and also by key words like “nature,” “edgy,” or “elegant.” 

3. Your Brand’s Metaphors

Including metaphors in your brand imagery is a secret way to brilliantly pull your brand together and give it a consistent look and feel.

For example, I use the metaphors of "Paths", "Mountains",  "Trees" and "Shining Light"  in my imagery.

The Path represents the journey that we're always on as Fempreneurs and my belief that we need to appreciate the lessons along the journey, just as much as the final destination.

Mountains represent the challenges we overcome as Fempreneurs and the new perspectives we gain from looking down on our situation from a mountain-top view.

Trees represent the strong women in our community, but how we never stand alone - how we grow stronger together.⁠ Trees are also a metaphor for my signature branding process.

Shining Light represents the brilliance each of us has inside and how we need to let that light out so others can benefit.

Here are some ideas for other metaphors that you could explore in your brand imagery:

  • Doorways – representing walking through a threshold into a new phase of life.
  • Flower buds – representing “blooming” into one’s full potential.
  • Birds – representing a bird’s eye view.

4. Filters

Image filters alter the colors, shading and other characteristics of an image to create a particular look and feel.

For example, with filters, you can create images that look moody, soft, crisp or bright ... just to name a few options.

Choosing a filter that goes with your brand's look and feel, and using it on all of your images, is a great way to give them a cohesive look.

You may be familiar with filters from Instagram, but did you know there are thousands of gorgeous filters you can purchase online (for cheap!) from places like Creative Market and Etsy? And if you're savvy, you can even create your own!

If you look at my Instagram profile or website, you can see my images all have a consistent look and feel that make the greens and reds pop. This is because of my filter!

How to Find Images:

Now that you know these basics for how to choose images that represent your brand, you’ll need to actually find images!

Here’s what NOT to do: do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use images that you find by searching Google.

You can get in big trouble for doing this and end up getting sued for lots of money! I know because it happened to me in my first year of business. I thought that if a Google image wasn’t watermarked then it was up for grabs. WRONG!

I received a notice from one of the big stock image companies informing me that I owed $5,000 for two images that I used on my blog “illegally.” I soon discovered that this company had bots trolling the internet, looking for unassuming people to fine for using their photos.

Luckily, my husband is a lawyer and he got me out of it, but not without lots of letters back and forth and lots of wasted time.

So where do you find stock photos for your brand? 

Well, the best option is to use your own photos. You could take them yourself (just make sure you have good lighting) or have a Brand Photographer take them for you.

This is the best way to avoid your images looking looking cheesy and cliché. My clients know that I have an eye for cheesy/cliché images and will call them out at first glance!

But if you must use stock photos that you find online, there are a few free and paid options to check out.

Check out this list of 42 free stock photo websites from my blog.

Or if you'd like higher-quality options that may be less overused online, check out:

(There are MANY options out there which you can find by doing a quick Google search for "authentic stock photography")

Want to Take This Deeper?

Join me every Friday at 10 am Mountain Time, inside The Daring Fempreneur Facebook group, for a free brand-booming training. Bring your questions for on-the-spot coaching!

Watch the replay that goes with this blog post here.


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