DIY, Inspiration

Death to Stock Photos!

No more stock pictures! Chant it with me! Not only do stock photos cost money but they are marginally relevant to your post. Who’s with me? Howrah! Before we charge off into battle together let’s get our gear in order so we can take down this photo monster with minimal damage to ourselves.

Get your gear:

  • A camera, smart phone, iPad- I don’t care. If it takes pictures you can work with it. Mostly I use my phone. And it’s not a super fancy one, just a basic smart phone. I know all the photographers out there just died a little on the inside but for a non-photo blog anything will do.
  • Editing software. If you want to pay for something like Photoshop go for it but it’s not necessary. I use apps like Avery, SketchUp, Over, & Pixler. All are FREE for the basic versions. Download them and see what you like working with.
  • Time. Yes this will take some time. At the start, it can be trial and error. Please be patient. How long is it taking you to find a decent stock photo? Forever, right. Why not invest that time in learning how to make your own pictures instead?

Moving on to the battle plan of picture taking:

I take pictures everywhere I go. If you think you live in a boring place, YOU ARE WRONG. Every place I have been has its own beauty. You just have to see it.

We all have unique places we go and things we see. Capture those moments at different angles. The way the windows are broken in that old building. How those marble stairs go up to the post office. The way the trees move in the wind today. Or how that dandelion grows out of the concrete even when it shouldn’t. The sunrise and sunset are visible to all of us. Take the extra few seconds to snap a picture of the beauty around you.

If you want to be more creative, stage something. Get a good flat background (I like to use a weathered board I have), put it in your yard on a bright day and set an object on it. I did this for my post Villainous Names with a piranha my husband owns. It fits with the theme of the post, and was not something you would ever find in the stock photo selection.

The key is to see things from a new perspective.

Here are some ideas to try out in your editing program:

  • Change the colors or remove them
  • Mess with the sharpness
  • Mix up the contrast
  • Add a quote, saying, or sticker.
  • Coat it with a whitewash and write your post title over top
  • The options are endless

Whatever look you love and want to use consistently–do it! It’s your blog and you can make it the way you want. If you see other pictures you like think about what effects you can layer over your photos to make it appear similar.

Try this! Charge off into the sunset with your camera and a world of new photos in your wake.

Comment if you have any questions about our pictures and how we achieve the looks we do. I like to use free apps and Amber is a Photoshop pro. For Photoshop, Amber recommends creating an action for your blog pictures. You can see some samples here. Between the two of us we can get you on the right track.

For Example: The photo for this post was taken in Raleigh, North Carolina at an old grain mill. Amber snapped it when I was taking in the beauty. I used my phone and the Aviary App ( Effect-Signature-Cruz and a sticker). That’s it. A free picture that took maybe 5 clicks to put together. We didn’t stag it or plan this photo out. We were having fun together and Amber saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. You CAN do this!

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