Gone are the days of stock business people shaking hands—the world has entered a new era of authentic, fun portraits that let your brand’s personality shine through. Modern stock portraits are a great asset for any small business because they’re so versatile—you can use them alone, with text, or even make them into gifs. Better yet, stock portraits work well in a variety of placements, including social media ads, email blasts, and hero images. Below are some curated picks of portraits and a link to the full collection, but read on to learn how to use them to make your projects pop.
Now let’s take a look at how to use these portraits in your marketing initiatives. Graphic design newbies have no fear—these options are simple and you can modify them to fit your comfort level.
Use Portraits to Make Great Ads
When it comes to social media ads, less is more. Limiting the amount of text on images will produce better results. Facebook and Instagram even have policies that state that the reach of your ads will decrease as the proportion of text-to-image increases.
This is why portraits are a great option for social media ads. Portraits are more attention-grabbing than inanimate objects and can tell a story without the need for text overlay. In the example below, we created an ad for a small business loan company using a portrait of a young woman in front a bakery. The image conveys a sense of pride, contentedness, and accomplishment—all without using any text on the image. The woman’s open and friendly demeanor also makes the ad more engaging than a picture of an inanimate object (like a computer) would have.
Create Relatable Email Headers
Newsletters and email blasts are also great opportunities to use stock portraits. Email marketing is a tricky enough game, and once you get people to open your message you need to find ways to keep them engaged—stock portraits can help do just that.
There’s a lot more room to play with text overlays in emails, so take advantage of the opportunity! A catchy phrase paired with a fun portrait could mean the difference between a loyal customer and the archive button. If you’re not sure which image or wording to use, try conducting some A/B tests.
In the example below, we used a portrait of a woman wearing sunglasses to create a friendly, inviting design to encourage engagement. Again, less is more, so we kept the rest of the email pretty basic with a minimalist design.
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Make Your Hero Images Pop
While email headers and website hero images may seem similar (they’re both trying to sell something, right?), their tasks are actually very different. Email headers need to pique users’ interest and get them to click, but hero images are meant to motivate on-site conversions. So how do portraits fit in?
Portraits can be very effective as standalone images, but they also provide plenty of opportunities to experiment with design. Hero images are a great place to go the distance with your design efforts, so portraits pair extremely well with hero images.
In the example below, we used a portrait of a plus-size fashion model for a website hero image. The portrait by itself is cute, but we took it a few steps further by adding confetti, highlighting the model, and creating a gif in Photoshop. What was once a cute and fashionable portrait is now even better, creating an exciting and engaging on-site experience.
Note: to create this dancing gif, we just flipped the portrait! We outlined the model and created the confetti ahead of time. Then, after merging everything into a single layer, we duplicated that layer and flipped it horizontally. After that, all you have to do is follow this tutorial on how to create a gif in Photoshop.
Whether you’re new to design or a seasoned pro, stock portraits are an easy way to create engaging content for your brand. To get started, check out this gallery of hand-picked portraits that are sure to turn heads.