4 steps to create a visual brand on instagram With Stock Photos

The appeal of using stock photos for Instagram is so real.

Being able to download an image someone else perfectly captured and masterfully edited to then use in your own Instagram feed feels like a dream.

It is a dream, and it’s something you can take advantage of too!

Using royalty-free stock images on your Instagram account can mean you save time creating original content and spend more time engaging with your target audience on social media!

Now that you’re saving a ton of time by using stock photos, you might be asking yourself “How do I make Instagram stock photos look like I captured them?”

We get it!

You want to save time and money, but you also don’t want images that scream “I just downloaded this online and so did thousands of other people”. You want something that looks one-of-a-kind and fits within your feed.

That’s where we come in!

Today we’re going to be sharing some advice on how to make free stock photos for Instagram look like original content for your profile. There is a method to the madness, and we’re going to teach it to you today!

Firstly, Can You Use Stock Photos on Instagram?

Yes! You can totally use stock photos on your Instagram account!

Your commercial license will differ between stock photo sites and memberships but with free stock photos, for the most part, you can post them onto your Instagram feed.

Don’t be afraid of using stock photos on Instagram – especially after you follow our 4 steps to stock photo success!

Get Free Instagram Photos With Our Freebie Below!

Free Bundle of Stock Photos + Insta-captions

Get confident on your captions and content with this free bundle!

Define Your Instagram Account Vibe

If you’re not sure what your visual vibe is, we recommend creating a moodboard on Pinterest to help you discover your aesthetic. This is going to help you really define the look you are going for and find the best stock photos to use on Instagram.

The first step is to create a private board that only you can see. After you create the board, start searching for different images to fill your board with.

Instead of pinning text graphics and educational resources, focus on pinning lifestyle images. If you’re going for a relaxed and calm vibe, you may want to pin photos of the ocean or someone reading by the pool. If your vibe is more bright and vibrant, you may pin neon signs and colorful flower gardens.

Lifestyle images will also help your ideal clients emotionally connect to your brand, so it’s a great idea to pin them from the get-go. You’ll start to see your style and vibe come to life!

After you pin a few dozen images on your Pinterest board, scroll through the photos. Do you notice any similarities between them? Ask yourself:

  • Is the mood the same?
  • Do they have specific shapes, lines, or textures?
  • Are the props similar?

This will help you determine your visual vibe. Our founder Claire Dobson has even more information on how to find your Instagram aesthetic on her blog over here!

Choose Similar Colors For Your Instagram Account

After you find your aesthetic, notice the colors you see in your Pinterest board. Are you seeing lots of cool colors (like turquoise or organic greens) or warm colors (like maroon or mustard yellow)? Maybe you’re seeing shades from all sides of the color wheel.

The reason why color is important is because it evokes a certain emotion in your audience. For example, blue often gives readers a feeling of serenity and trust whereas red is a passionate and fiery color. Make sure that the mood of your color palette matches your personality and vibe!

You can learn more about color theory here but after you determine what colors fit your overall mood, you can visit our stock shop (or other stock photo sites) and start pulling photos that match those colors. This will help your photos have an overall consistent look. (Psst: you can grab a free trial of our stock photo membership if you sign up to our free Instagram course over here!)

Our founder Claire’s feed is a great example! Do you see the blush pinks, neutral tans, and pops of green? Claire’s personal brand has a modern bohemian vibe so these colors are a perfect for her audience and feed.

Start experimenting with your own brand and see what colors work well together. You’ll find your perfect blend in no time.

Find Stock Photos For Instagram Posts

Now you’ve got your visual vibe and color scheme, you’ll want to start looking for stock photos you can use in your Instagram feed.

You can download free Instagram photos on sites like Death To Stock Photos or Unsplash, or you can use a stock photo membership like Get Found Stock to create your own library of Instagram stock photos!

If you want a taste of Get Found, you can sign up to get our free stock photos and Instagram caption ideas below.

Free Bundle of Stock Photos + Insta-captions

Get confident on your captions and content with this free bundle!

Crop Your Instagram Stock Photos

Did you know that you can make multiple images out of a single stock photo?

It’s almost like magic! Instead of buying a stock photo for Instagram you only use once, you can crop it in different ways for a completely new look. (Especially if with high-quality images!)

You’ll want to start by downloading an image that ideally has multiple props. This allows you to zoom in and crop different corners or areas of your chosen stock photo for Instagram.

The photo is already beautiful on its own, but you can re-imagine it as new pieces of content after you have some fun with your cropping tool. (You don’t need Photoshop to do this! Canva, PicMonkey, or even an app like A Color Story will work just fine.)

After a few minutes, you now have multiple photos for Instagram that all look consistent and cohesive because they were taken from the same image! So cool, right?

(Psst: if you’re looking for free Instagram story templates, you can find them over here!)

Use Stock Photos For Instagram Amongst Original Content

Now that you know what your visual vibe is and you have a few techniques for using Instagram stock photos to the fullest, you can start weaving them into your feed.

Instead of making an entire Instagram feed of stock photos, think about using them in between photos you’ve already taken. This way, you are still able to have original content that isn’t seen anywhere else but you don’t get overwhelmed by having to always have an original photo.

Our copywriter, Kayla, recently did a fun Instagram Story where she took a screenshot of her feed and asked her followers to guess how many stock photos there were. Most people guessed two, but there was actually SIX in total (with four of them being from the Get Found Stock shop).

The good news is you don’t need to capture every photo on your Instagram feed for it to feel authentic to you (Instagram stock photos have your back!)

Use Instagram Stock Photos For Quote + Blog Post Graphics

You can also use your chosen stock photos on Instagram to create blog post graphics and quote graphics to share on your feed!

Take a look at the post below:

We used an image from Get Found Stock to create a square graphic about our newest blog post to share to our Instagram audience.

You can do this yourself by using graphic design software like Canva or Adobe Photoshop – or you can use an Instagram editing app on your phone!

Just make sure you are using your brand fonts and colors and that the graphic matches the visual vibe of your account that we spoke about earlier. It’s also worth ensuring the stock photo you choose is relevant to the theme of the quote or blog post!

Now, You’re A Pro At Using Instagram Stock Photos!

By keeping your aesthetic in mind and choosing images that match your visual branding, you can save hours of time on your Instagram content calendar and use a stock photo instead.

Are you ready to put these Instagram stock photo tips into action?

Join our stock photo membership for extra resources (like content prompts and editorial calendars that are sure to wow your audience) and next-level community support with accountability from our team and other members.

Let’s create awesome Instagram feeds together!

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