Stock photography websites offer a rich library of very diverse and artistic images but sometimes they could use a little customization to fit in with your brand style. Before you discard images, consider today’s tips on customizing stock photography to breathe aesthetics into your visuals. We look at 5 simple ways in which you can alter your stock photographs and make them work for your projects.

The best part about purchasing a stock photograph is that it comes in high quality and is scalable. This means you have the liberty of cropping and editing them without compromising in quality.

The most important thing you should remember is that you don’t have to use a photograph as it is when you buy it. You have the right to modify and customize your images which will help you make them more relevant to your content or publication. If anything, you’re encouraged to do so.

1. Black and white conversion

The most dramatic change you can bring to a picture is to convert it to black and white and play around with a few adjustments. Remember that not every image looks good when converted to black and white. To judge that, keep an eye out for contrasting elements in the picture. To convert an image, use a photo editor tool or go to ‘Image’, ‘Adjustments’, ‘Desaturate’ in Photoshop. Adjust for brightness and contrast and you’re done!

It takes about a second to determine which of the below pictures looks better in black and white. The one on the left has enough contrast and gradients so that the main subjects stand out. The image on the right is unfortunately lacking contrast which is why it wouldn’t make sense to convert it to black and white. Keep an eye on the lightest light and the darkest dark and judge your photographs on this scale to determine if you can convert them.

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2. Crop to make new images

Always purchase images in a large size. As we’ve covered earlier, with large formats, you can crop the image and make smaller ones without compromising in quality. To crop images in an appealing way, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic composition rules so that you can maintain the right aspect ratios.

Zoom in on details and give your photographs another chance to shine. This is easily done with any program and is probably one of the easier adjustments you can start experimenting with.

Original:

Depositphotos_130869232_l-2015

Cropped:

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3. Color overlays and filters

To take photo manipulation a notch further, you can incorporate your brand colors with a color overlay. This gives pictures a refreshing feel and is a great opportunity to add some harmony to compliment your existing visuals. Your brand color scheme can be subtly implied in individual images and with filters, you’re not limited to just one color.

There is also an abundance of different filters that you can modify for the desired effect. One simple tool is Fotor, which has been used to convert the photographs below.

Original:

Depositphotos_9045866_m-2015

Edited:

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4. Add text

Combining images with text can be an optimal solution for delivering a powerful message. Text on images can also be useful for aesthetic purposes and when your images need some context. It’s yet another technique that you can use to add an artistic touch to your images using different photo editors. Through experimentation and practice, you can use tools such as Crello and become a little bit of a graphic designer yourself.

Original:

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Edited:

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5. A combination of the 4

Once you feel comfortable with the abundance of tools online that can help you edit images, you can move on to Photoshop and learn some advanced techniques. The series below is a combination color alteration (created in Photoshop using the color substitute option), text and cropping to suit the featured image requirements for a blog post.

Original:

Depositphotos_115064658_m-2015

Edited:

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With a good editing eye, you can enhance an image and make it unrecognizable. You need a few tools and a little bit of background knowledge – the rest is up to you and your ambitions. By modifying and improving your photographs with these subtle changes, you edge closer to finding your signature look.

If you stay organized and keep all your photography in one place, you can always come back to your collection and alter images as we have discussed here to give them a complete makeover. Customizing stock photography can be fun if you’re not afraid to experiment.

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