When I re-branded my business, I decided to hire a photographer to get new professional headshots. As I’m sure you can tell by looking at my website, I had a pretty clear vision in mind for my branding scheme and the style of photographs I wanted.
But…I also wanted my own personal stock photo library, which is an idea I had after browsing through some of Melyssa Griffin’s blog posts.
Although I have a great friend from back home who’s a photographer, I decided to hire a friend’s mom, who’s local to my current area, to do my photo shoot. Obviously, since I live halfway across the country, I couldn’t schedule the shoot with my friend. (Sad face.) However, I knew that Patti is a photographer, so after checking out her website, I reached out to her.
(Side note: If you’re in Central Texas, then be sure to check out PAW Prints by Patti Wojtowecz. I’m sure she’d love to talk with you about your photo shoot! My husband and I also hired Patti to take our engagement photos a few weeks after we got engaged.)
Patti was really great. She understood the style I wanted and had her own ideas and suggestions of locations and other poses I hadn’t found on my own. (Yes, I sure did create secret Pinterest boards for sample photos and outfits.) Patti was also on board with taking some extra photos during my shoot that would function as stock photos, which was perfect.
When we got to Picnik Austin for my photo shoot, we were delighted to learn that we had access to pretty much every guest area of the restaurant for taking photos–and you better believe we took photos in most of those areas. After getting permission from Picnik’s management, we scheduled our shoot for a Wednesday afternoon, when the restaurant was likely to be slow. This enabled us to have few people to potentially end up in the background of photos and to disturb the shoot itself.
One reason I wanted to have the shoot at Picnik was that I knew they had bookshelves with books, succulent plants, and other knickknacks that we could use in our photos. These came in handy as props not only in my headshots but also in the stock photos. We used a combination of those items and my MacBook Pro, a notepad and pen, and a (delicious) drink from Picnik to set up the shots.
After I made my selections from what Patti sent me and received the final edited versions, I went to work. I took all of my selections of the “stock” photos, and I used Canva to fit them to all of the recommended graphic sizes for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. After that, I cropped them in different ways, shifting them left, right, up, and down to showcase different sections of the photo. I was able to take single photographs and make several similar but slightly different stock photos out of them. Then, I used PicMonkey (but I probably could’ve done it in Canva) to set opaque overlays over all of these photos. I created frames optimized for each recommend size of social media graphic, and I created the “footer” that you see on all of my images (that says LeslieAuman.com). Now it’s a breeze to make graphics for my posts: I choose a stock photo, I overlay the frame and the footer, and I add text. Voila!
One last thing: Why did I do this? Well, now my brand is consistently and cohesively represented in my graphics. They’re made with photographs from my photo shoot, and some of them even have me in them. Plus, it saves me money by allowing me to avoid downloading stock photos from expensive websites. I can reuse these over and over–for free!
Would you do this for your website? Let me know in the comments!
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This post was most recently updated in March 2019.