Tips for Choosing the Best Stock Images for Your Video

Whether you’re creating a promotional video for your business or a client, choosing the best images to use in that video can be challenging. Here are some tips for selecting photos and other stock images that will save you some time and money.

Take Inventory

Before you dive into an image search for your video, it’s a good idea to check what you might already have at your fingertips. Go through your existing library of licensed stock images and see if anything could work for this project. Depending on your budget, it may help to think conceptually as well. Light bulb images, for example, can often be used in more ways than their obvious meaning, from ideation themes to eco-friendly objectives. Reviewing your existing stock photo collection is also a great way to understand your brand’s current style (and to determine if that style needs a little tweaking). Once you take stock of the images you need, it’s then time to get stock images.

Know The Brand’s Style

Consider your company’s (or client’s) tone in every image selection for your video. Keep in mind that your company’s brand has nothing to do with your own personal sense of style. Images must reflect your company’s brand identity. Is the brand serious or playful? Is the company’s copy straightforward or a little cheeky? If you’re stumped, take a look at your company’s website, or at previous marketing materials. Look at the word choices and tone of how the company communicates to its customers (its ‘brand voice’). It’s important that there’s a connective thread in the company’s communication style across all channels, from emails to video. And, yes, it’s easy to fall in love with an awesome image, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that your style may not necessarily be the brand’s.

Search Far & Wide, Then Narrow Down

A common mistake image seekers make is that they start their search with too much specificity. Don’t miss out on cool images on stock sites by searching overly specific or limiting terms. A golden retriever puppy drinking from a blue water bowl under an old oak tree is rather specific, and will most likely result in too few images to choose from. Your best bet is to start with general words or themes, like dog under tree, before narrowing it down to types, colors, and settings. Sometimes the larger assortment can even be inspiring, and can open up your ideas for the imagery you use in the video.

Stay Clear & Connected

Look for clear, simple imagery that highlights the message of your video. Don’t use complicated photos with different subjects, because your audience will only have a few seconds within the context of the video to interpret what they’re looking at. Keeping things easy on the eyes will also help your video tell a more-connected story. Images should share a related “feeling” as if each photo or illustration came from the same source. Even if that connection is the same shade of blue, curating a consistent flowing look is key.

Remember To Give Your Audience A Break

As you select images for your video, have an idea of how that image will help you tell your story. Is the image visually appealing enough to be used as a transition? Transitional imagery can provide both mental and visual relief for your audience. The same can be said for when you need to emphasize a particular point. Is the image an illustration that could help your audience visualize the information the video is detailing? There are plenty of simple stock illustrations that feature charts, graphs, and other infographic elements designed for this. Illustrations help provide the necessary backup to your narrative, and can really take your video to the next level.

Choosing stock photos and images for your video project can be easy with a bit of research and a clear idea of what you’re looking for. With just a little bit of prep, and a keen eye, you’ll have a video that you (and your client) will love. Good luck.

Brian Masefield is a copywriter and community manager for Bigstock, a marketplace for high quality, royalty-free stock imagery. Bigstock is currently offering a 7-day Free Trial of their most popular subscription, for a limited time. The Free Trial allows you to download up to 35 royalty-free images, for free.