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How to Use Stock Photos in Your Wellness Ads

wellness entrepreneur sitting next to a plant

This is a guest post for the Aventive Studio blog written by Ivy Attie.

You may have come across many blogs promising you the best ways to use stock photos for advertising your business, blog, eCommerce store, etc. But when it comes to promoting your skincare or cosmetics brand, adding stock photos to your advertising campaign can be daunting.


Why? Particularly because stock photos are known for being cliché and generic. And the images you use for your wellness brand need to personify originality and perfection!


While stock photos are a cheap and quick alternative to original photos, finding unique stock photos to perfectly represent your brand can be tricky. But fret not! I will share some great tips on using stock photos in your wellness ads to help you grow your business and attract more customers.


1.  Be Sure Not to Get Sued!

The first and most important thing to ensure when using stock photos (and any photos, for that matter) in your wellness ads is not to attract lawsuits.


There are numerous stock image websites that provide high-quality content, but you have to pay attention while choosing images for your cosmetics and skincare ads. If you are careful not to use anything that can lead to copyright violations, that will save your brand’s reputation in the long run.


To make sure you don’t end up using stock photos you are not supposed to, you must be familiar with the following types of stock photography:


  • Public Domain (PD): Stock photos that belong to the PD category are free to use and often don’t require any attribution. Check out the details under the pictures you want to use for your wellness ads to avoid future legal issues.


  • Royalty-Free: You will find many royalty-free pictures while shopping on different stock photos websites. These images can be bought at a specific price, and then you can use them as much you want on several mediums without having to repurchase the license. Royalty-free images are comparatively cheap and come with more liberties of usage.


  • Rights Managed: Stock images that come under the right managed license allow the users to use them for one time only. If you wish to use the same image again, you may have to repurchase the license. This feature makes rights-managed images less flexible than other licenses, but the exclusivity that comes with this category allows you to stand out.

smiling girl wearing flower cosmetics

2.  Understand Your Audience

Promoting your wellness brand through ads starts with deciding who you are aiming the ads at. How will you know which stock photos to use without understanding your audience and what they want to see?


If you want to make a strong impression brand on your audience, you need them to connect with your images. For this, you will need to micro-select your audience based on different demographics like age, gender, marital status, etc. Since yours is a wellness brand, you may want to consider psychographics to be more precise in your target.


For example, if you are a yoga studio and are selling your services to older women and men who have been using other meditation protocols, the stock images you choose for your ads should help them make a connection with your brand.


Understanding your audience’s tastes and demands will take time and effort. Once you establish that, you can select stock photos that can serve their preferences well.


3.  Find Relevant Images

Stock photo sites host millions of images, so finding relevant stock photos for your cosmetics and skincare ads can be challenging. You can ease your job by using the search feature of stock photo websites more effectively.


Let’s say you run a skincare brand. To find pictures for your ads, search using relevant keywords like “facial hair problems” or “facial acne” instead of going through a plethora of pictures of women or men with various skin problems.


Using a relevant picture will help your audience understand your content before even reading the description or title of the ad.

woman washing her face

4.  Popular is Not Always the Best!

When it comes to choosing stock photos for your skincare ads, using the most popular ones might not be the way to go. Why? When we mention stock photography, popular is often seen as synonymous with cliche.


Imagine using a stock picture of a woman eating healthy food for your nutritionist business ads and later finding out that your competitor used the exact image for their brand too. That could be disastrous for your brand’s credibility.


While you are not investing money in getting original photos captured, you may want to invest more time and effort in searching for unique pictures.


Free tip: You can use handy tools like TinEye to help you know where and how many times a stock image has been used before. This way, you can be sure about the uniqueness of the stock pictures you choose for your wellness ads.

branding book available on Amazon

5.  Check Out Multiple Stock Photo Websites

Relying on one stock photos website may not be a wise choice. Using stock photos in your wellness ads will require a lot of research.


Find multiple stock photos platforms and do thorough research. You will be astonished at the amazing visual content you will find on certain stock photo websites.


While some websites offer commonplace and typical images, others provide a different angle to the same subject. They may seem quirky or untraditional, but going by the rules is not always the best way. Experimenting with unconventional stock pictures might land your wellness ads where typical pictures failed!

bath products on a table

6.  Take the “Stock” Out of Your Stock Photos

Even if you have found the best stock pictures to use in your cosmetics and skincare ads, you may still feel the content is a little “stocky.”


Don’t worry; you can remove the stockiness out of your stock photos and make them look almost original. How? Let’s look at some useful tips for adding your own originality to the stock photos you have finalized:


  • Adding text to your images: The easiest way to make stock photos seem less stocky is to add text in them. You can add your wellness brand’s message or motto to the image to make it more relevant to your business.


  • Cropping the photo: While you can still use full images in your ads, cropping them can change their emphasis – making it more personalized and well-suited to your wellness brand.


  • Using color overlays: This is another smart idea. We know that every brand has its signature colors. Your skincare business’s visual content will revolve around those colors, as they help set a certain mood and feeling about that brand. To pull the “stock” out of your stock photos, you can push in a color overlay on the pictures. This will help the stock photos seem more aligned to your brand and make them fit your wellness ads.


  • Blurring the backdrop: This is one of my favorite ways of kicking the stockiness out of stock pictures. By blurring the background, you make the images more unique and render them more aesthetically appealing.


  • Doing a full-fledged editing job: Many online tools can help you edit your stock photos and make them more distinctive and unique. Some stock photos websites offer their own online editing tools so you can edit the stock pictures according to your brand’s requirements. Merging two or more cropped images together and making a creative collage with some fancy text about your brand is one idea. Another idea is to place your brand’s logo on the edited pictures.


Using stock photos is a great idea, but don’t be afraid of being creative. Think outside the box! Adding your own touch to the stock photos in your wellness ads can help maintain your originality while using pre-existing images.

woman drinking tea

7.  Mix and Match

When you are using stock photos to boost your wellness ads game, it would be wise not to rely solely on stock imagery. Most stock images have that “stocky” aura that can easily be felt.


To ward it off, you can mix and match! Spruce up your stock photos collection by adding a couple of original ones to the collection. Sprinkling in those edited stock photos we just talked about will also do you good.


Photomontages are a great way to mix and match different categories of photos and make them all look original. By combining stock imagery with a few original pictures, you can beautify your wellness ads.

photo collage

Final Words

Creating the best and most effective wellness ads using stock photos is not an easy task. It will require a lot of effort and research —  and, of course, creativity too. While these tips may seem simple, the results will not emerge overnight.


If you want to beat the pack and stay ahead of your peers, you will have to experiment with these tips and test what works for your type of business. For example, while a strategy may prove perfectly fit for a nutritionist business, you might have to alter its ingredients for a meditation service.


But essentially, it all boils down to the same components. You just have to test and be patient for the successful results to show!


About the Author

 ivy attie headshot

Ivy Attie is a researcher, content manager, and author at various visual media oriented publications. She is passionate about visual imagery and digital marketing. Her background is in communication and journalism, and she also loves literature and performing arts.

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