A vibrant graphic that says “How To Make Stock Photography Your Own”

How to make stock photography your own

Take your stock game from “Seen it, next!” to “Wait, where’d you get that photo?”

Projector
Projector
Sep 22 · 4 min read

Some stock photos are born beautiful. Others need a little extra love to shine. Last week, we shared our best tips for selecting stock photos that feel less….stale. This week, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to remix and edit those stock photos — and make them entirely your own.

Here’s how you can use Projector to make clever tweaks so that no one will ever know it’s stock photography.

Fill new space

Have you ever found the perfect stock photo and thought, “Why does it look like I just dragged a random picture on top of my design”?

In Projector your stock photo can be incorporated into a whole visual mise-en-scène without dominating the entire canvas. Draw any shape you want with the Pen Tool and then fill it with your stock media. You can add some depth to any shape with that one stock photo that will round out your design narrative. Stock photos, but make them unique.

A GIF showing the Media Fill feature in Projector.
Use the Media Fill feature in Projector to fill shapes, text, and custom drawings with stock photography.

Add a tint

An easy way to make common stock photos more “ownable” is to add tinted color overlay. If you’re designing for a brand, this is an opportunity to use brand colors in a subtle and effective way. In Projector, consider using the halftone or color halftone effects to lend your photo some throwback energy. As we all know from Instagram in 2013, a filter always helps.

Apply tints to any stock photo (a great way to incorporate your brand palette).

Blur it out

Sometimes the best stock strategy is about obscuring rather than drawing more attention to it. With the Blur Tool, you can soften any stock photo image to serve as a usable element of your visual context without making it the primary focus. Don’t limit yourself to one stock photo either. Consider creating a mosaic of blurred images for a more diverse effect.

Use the Blur tool to soften your photos.

Bulge, pinch, and swirl

When in doubt, just start pulling at creative straws. And by creative straws, we mean to check out the Graphic Effects Library in Projector. The Bulge and Pinch effects can bring some dynamism and motion to your still stock photo, while the Swirl effect sends everything into a whole new dimension. (They’re very fun to play with, so even if you revert back to your original photo, we recommend giving them a whirl).

Choose an effect from Projector’s Graphic Effects Library to give your photos a whole new vibe.

Add some Giphy stickers

Liven up a flat-feeling image by adding some much-needed motion to the mix. In Projector you have unlimited (free) access to millions of GIFs and stickers from Giphy. Add them to any design, helping to bring more energy and playfulness to whatever you create.

Layer GIFs and stickers from Giphy on your photos.

Set as background

We search for a stock photo imagining that we’ll plop it right into our design and all will be well — but some stock photos were born to be background players. In Projector you can set your photo as a background with the click of a button, providing a whole new perspective to (what you thought) your design would be.

Set your image to the background in one click.

Ready to make some stock photo magic in Projector? Sign up for free here.

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