How to Stock Your Library with Images
One of the most important elements to a successful social media campaign is making sure you have the right image connected to your post.
Think about how we connect with a social media post – first we see the image and that catches our attention, we read the headline. If both the image and the headline have grabbed us, we click on the link.
Your image is like a first impression in your social sites. And that makes it even more important to find the right image to use with your posts.
Let’s start out with the obvious – photo search sites. There are a ton of sites online, both free and paid out there for you to find images. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it could take you hours to sort through their options.
The biggest issue with several of these photo search sites is that you absolutely, positively must check the image credit requirements of the stock photo. If you’re not sure what to look for and how to determine if you have the rights to use the image, take a look at this post I wrote Image Resources to Create Your Social Media Shareables.
But the best way to make sure you don’t have any issues with your photos is to build your own stock library.
How do you start?
I’m not a professional photographer and I’ve never taken a photography class. Some of images I’ve used for my website were taken with nothing fancier than my camera phone.
Take a look at some photo examples that I’ve personally taken and turned into an image for my social media shareables:
It may sound strange to take a photo of something like the sky:
But take a look at how a photo of the clear blue sky turned into a visual marketing message:
Or how a photo of a kid’s chalk drawing that I found during one of my evening walks …
Can turn into an image to promote 3 ways to get creative with social media.
Take Stock of Your Image Library
Of course, you’ll want to get photos of your products for your social media images but how many times can you post up a photo of the stuff you sell? It’s going to take more than just your products to share your marketing message and connect with your audience.
Chances are, you already have some great images you can use for your next tweet. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a ton of pictures that you’ve taken with your camera phone.
I’m not talking about the ones you’ve taken of your family on vacation or celebrating someone’s birthday. The ones I’m talking about are the photos you took because something grabbed your attention.
The sun setting over the lake. The bright yellow flower you spotted on your morning walk. That moment, that look, that touch you caught when no one was paying attention to you standing there with your camera.
Think about the photos that you’ve taken with your camera phone and do a little brainstorming about what you already have that you can use for your social media images.
Write out some notes about photos that you have that fall under these categories: your products, behind the scenes in your office, outside (parks, beach, woods, garden or your backyard), inside (views outside from your window, something unique in your home) or someplace really cool that you caught from one of your trips like buildings, restaurants or the airport.
Growing Your Stock Image Library
Now that you’ve reviewed what you currently have in your camera gallery, let’s talk about how to grow your library of images.
I want you to have have a little fun and think about some ways to be a local tourist. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you take the time go outside your usual trips of driving to the grocery store and back home.
Getting yourself out of your usual schedule is a great way to find people interacting and enjoying life in your town. Go to your neighborhood farmer’s market or street festival and look around for some interesting people, places and things to add to your Stock Image Library. Take photos of people buying things, shaking hands or just talking.
Don’t think about how you’ll use these images. Just start clicking the button and fill up your photo gallery with everything that grabs your attention.
Farmer’s markets and street festivals are an excellent place to play with patterns. Practice your angles by filling up the frame with just fruits, vegetables or whatever they’re selling. Or look for how different objects are placed together in the vendors’ tables and see what kind of photos you can create.
Make a date with yourself, get out there and have some fun being a local tourist. You’ll never know what you’ll find that you can use for your social media shareables.
Organize Your Stock Image Library
So now you’re following all these ideas and taking photos like crazy. Your photos are quickly filling up your camera gallery.
Before you overload your camera, you need to decide how you’re going to remove these photos from your phone and keep them organized.
Creating a central place for your images will make the process of finding which one to use much easier.
And before you even ask, I’m going to tell you this – no, your computer is not the best place to organize your Stock Image Library. When your images get downloaded from your phone, they’re huge in data size which can easily start to fill up the storage space in your computer.
Plus, you can only access them when you’re on your laptop. You just never know where you’ll be when you need to view one of your photos.
My recommendation for you to organize your library is to upload your images to a cloud-based program. You’ll be able to access your photos from anywhere you can log into the program like your phone, your computer or even another person’s laptop.
These are all free programs with a limited amount of storage. But I can tell you, I’ve been using Dropbox for years and have yet to come close to my maximum storage limit for a free account.
Once you’ve decided which program to use, it’s time to organize your photos. To do this, you’ll need to think about how you use your images.
Do you create blog post images and then re-size them for your social sites? Or do you create separate images for Facebook and others for Twitter?
Understanding how you use your images is the best place to start to create a Stock Image Library organizational plan.
To upload my images to my Dropbox account, I created different folders for my photos based on where I’ll use them. I even created different folders for my clients who go through my Image Design Coaching program so I don’t mix up their images with the ones I’m going to use for my blog posts.
Spend a little time setting up this part of your Stock Image Library organization structure. The folders and the categories of everything you set up should make sense to you and how you work. The most important thing you want to think about during this process is how you to make your photos quicker and easier for you to find.
The next (and one of the most important steps!) you’ll do is change the name of the image when you save it to your storage program. Photos from your camera usually have some sort of numbering system and if you just hit save and upload, you’ll have a whole bunch of photos in a folder called IMG604.
I find the best way to save my photos is change their names to something that can help me easily identify them. Something like “shaking hands festival” would cue me to know that photo is one that I took at an outdoor festival of two people shaking hands.
Your Images, No Problems
As you start to grow your Stock Image Library, you’ll find that you have more options to use in your social media sites. More images to use for your Facebook quotes, Pinterest pins and even unique images to upload with your tweets.
And since you took these photos, you know that you don’t have any issues with photo credits or making sure that you have the right to change the image to add in your website. When you use your own images, there’s no problems.
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