How to use Styled Stock Photos in your Black Friday Campaign

Alrighty y'all - it's about to be that time of year.

Black Friday weekend is upon us! Are you ready?

If you're a designer or shop owner, you may be finalizing last-minute graphics that you hope will totally wow your potential customers and make them decide that they need to purchase our products/services versus the countless others on sale this upcoming weekend.

How do you do so? 

Aside from ah-mazing products and services (which I know you have to offer!) and charming copy - photos are what will really sell your designs. 

They're what is going to help your potential customer envision your product in their life, and feel confident in the quality even before they receive that holiday cheer filled package in the mail.

My not-so-secret weapon? SC Stockshop styled stock photos.

And lucky us - they're on sale through Friday!

SC Stockshop Semi Annual Sale.png

sc stockshop semi-annual sale

coupon code: FALL40 for 40% off!

I truly believe that my Black Friday Weekend sales have been so successful over the past few years because of the beautiful SC Stockshop photos I used to showcase them in my shop, in the banners on my home page, in my newsletter emails, and on social media.

Today, I want to share my top tips for using styled stock photos for shop owners with you, so that you can love using them just as much as I do!

Shay is having a HUGE 40% off sale in her shop with code FALL40 at checkout. She only has this sale twice a year, and once the images in her shop sell out, she won't be adding them back in! So if you see some pretties that would be perfect for your brand and shop, make sure to snag them today!

TIP #1 | SELECT STYLED STOCK IMAGES THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR BRAND'S AESTHETIC AND COLOR PALETTE

This one might seem like a given, but it’s so important! Shay has such a variety of gorgeous images in the SC Stockshop, all with unique personalities and color palettes.

I believe that your imagery should always be as consistent as possible - especially the photos you use on social media. Your instagram feed should look like it is a direct extension of your website and shop, so using photos with props in your color palette is key!

There's hardly a better compliment to receive than, "I knew that was your photo before even seeing your username - your images are always so recognizable!"

That my friend is brand awareness at its best, and using cohesive color palettes with your styled stock images is a great way to start!

TIP #2 | ZOOM IN & CROP SECTIONS OF YOUR PHOTO TO GET EXTRA USE FROM ONE IMAGE

One of my favorite features of Shay's photos is their high quality. The resolution of her images is so crisp, which allows you to zoom in and use portions of one image at a tighter crop - which is perfect for detail photos of your shop products!

Zooming in and cropping the use of one photo in different spots of the image allows you to also get more for your money, as you are technically getting multiple images from one overall photo!

Shay styles her photos so strategically with beautifully placed props throughout the image, so often you can get up to five different cropped sections depending on the layout!

When determining which portion of an image to use for which products - think through the aesthetic that best matches the story of that particular product.

For instance, my Clara design is much more delicate and feminine, so I wanted to use primarily dainty props in this image, focusing on the golds, hints of greens, and lots of white. The Nutcracker design is much more vibrant and has a slightly more masculine undertone to it, so the bold black and white gift wrap portion of the design balanced with softer whites and golds was ideal to visually tell the story of his character!

The Nutcracker Tea Towels by Simply Jessica Marie

TIP #3 | LAYER DESIGNS AND USE ANGLES

While Shay's images are gorgeous, it is important to know how to use them with your designs to make your end result images look realistic! One of my favorite tips for doing so is to layer your designs and use angles.

Stacking products on top of one another adds depth and interest to your photo. It is one of the best ways in my opinion to make your images pop and look lifelike! It takes the "flatness" out of a flat lay, and helps to tell the story of your product better.

Using angles when orienting your designs layered on top of one another is just the icing on top of the cake when it comes to adding interest and a lifelike nature! In real life if you are writing a holiday card or baking cookies, everything won't be picture perfect and straight. So, you don't want to have everything at a perfect upright or horizontal angle in your imagery, either!

Green Watercolor Buffalo Check Wrapping Paper by Simply Jessica Marie

TIP #4 | USE DROP SHADOWS

Once you have layered your designs and added angles to certain elements, it is important to follow that up by adding drop shadows to your products! Drop shadows are the little shadows you see underneath my gift boxes.

Without these shadows, the products would look flat and lifeless - and would blend into the white background of the desktop. Adding the drop shadows gives them more dimension, and helps them to fit into the image better! 

But, you don't just want to add a drop shadow that is from the preset of Illustrator or Photoshop. You want to ensure that the angle and spread/blur of the shadow matches the other shadows in the styled stock image!

It is much easier to explain using drop shadows visually - so take a peek at the video tutorial above for my exact steps about how to use them!

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TIP #5 | INTEGRATE STOCK IMAGES WITH IPHONE IMAGES AND PROFESSIONAL IMAGES IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Remember back in Tip #1 when I shared the importance of your Instagram feed looking like a direct extension of your website and brand? Well, here's a snapshot of mine!

How do I achieve a good balance of my brand colors and visual storytelling? By integrating and mixing styled stock images with iPhone images and professional images!

Having a mixture of a few different types of images throughout your feed creates interest. If you were to use 100% styled stock images in your feed, it would definitely be gorgeous, but would start to get pretty repetitive unless you owned all of Shay's images!

In order to make sure that your styled stock images blend in realistically with your overall feed, sprinkling them in between other photos breaks up the repetition and encourages your followers to look at all of your images individually.

Using different layflat desktop images, upright desk images, and frame images together also makes it a bit less obvious that you are using a styled stock image - yet again making the designs and images appear more lifelike in your feed!

I hope these top five tips for using SC Stockshop photos for your online shop have been helpful!!

If you have any other questions about how I use Shay's photos to elevate my brand, shop, and social media, let me know! I'll either answer your question in the comments below!

Thank you so much Shay for providing such incredible images for us to use, and to allow us to do business beautifully, as you would say! 

Please note: There are affiliate links in this blog post. However, I would still share this same post and recommend the SC Stockshop without being an affiliate - I truly believe in the business-changing power of her images!