Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make professional looking social media posts, design beautiful quotes that get shared by your followers, and have branded, cohesive imagery for your blog, website, emails, and social media pages? You absolutely can, you just need to know how to maximize the styled stock photos you’ve purchased using a little bit of graphic design!
Graphic design takes an enormous amount of talent, skill, and practice, however, you can create engaging content all by yourself using styled stock photos and Canva. I’ll walk you through the super simple steps to get started with this free tool and I guarantee you’ll be churning out some beautiful designs in no time at all!
What is Canva?
Canva is a graphic design tool that is very user-friendly and quick to learn! It utilizes drag and drop functionality that you can definitely master your first try, even if you’ve never done any graphic design before. Simply type Canva.com into your web browser and set up a free account to get started. Once you’ve mastered the web-based version, give their mobile app a try. It doesn’t have quite as much functionality, but it’s great for on-the-go designing!
Using Canva to Edit Styled Stock Photos
Once you log in to Canva, you’ll see that they have tons of templates that you can use to create everything from professional looking resumes to flyers, infographics, business cards, and brochures. What you will probably use most often (if you’re like me) is the templates for the social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
The sky’s the limit, and I encourage you to think about all of the ways you can use styled stock images and Canva to make your content look even more polished. Do you have a blog? Create consistent looking blog images that you can upload to Pinterest and convert a new stream of traffic over to your website. Are you collecting email addresses? Send them something pretty with an email header that’s already sized for that exact purpose! I could go on and on, but you’ll discover all the possibilities once you start playing around with it a little more.
Creating a Social Media Post
For the purposes of this blog post, I will walk you through creating an Instagram post using styled stock images. First, click the Instagram Post option on the Create a Design screen.
Next, click Uploads and select the green “Upload your own images” button. If you have multiple styled stock images downloaded, it’s really easy to upload them all at once to Canva. Select all of the image files you want to upload, or just drag and drop the photos from your computer into the Canva editor.
The Canva for Work version (the paid version) allows you to create folders for your images, which might be useful if you want to separate them by season, theme, or image type. The free version allows unlimited uploads, but you will just need to scroll through to find the image you want when you start a new project.
Once you upload your image, drag it over to the blank template. You can now resize it, move it around, add a filter, and layer text or other elements on top of the photo.
Customizing Your Styled Stock Photos
Let’s imagine you want to use your styled stock images to create some quotes you can post to your Instagram feed. Once you’ve chosen the stock image you’d like to use, position and resize it until you have the ideal background for your quote. You may want more white space, or you may want to zoom in on a certain section of the photo. It’s entirely up to you… play around with some different options and see what you like best.
Once you have the photo where you want it, you can decide to add a filter or an overlay. Click on the Elements option and then select Shapes to see various options. For example, you could add a smaller square on top of the styled stock image, and set the transparency to 50 so you can read the quote more clearly but still see the image underneath.
Next, click the Text option and select Add Heading. If there is a default font selected, you can choose a different one by clicking the dropdown menu. You can also adjust the font color and size, as well as the alignment, case, and spacing. Play around with it until you love how it looks!
Brand and Beautify
If you’re using Canva for Work, you have the option to upload your own fonts and create color palettes with your brand colors. This makes it really easy to customize your images with beautifully branded elements. If you’re not sure whether you want to commit to the paid upgrade, try their 30 day free trial. It’s a good amount of time for you to try out all the different features and decide if you’ll use them often enough.
Even if you decide not to go the paid route, you can still brand your images. Find a font that is similar to the ones you regularly use. After adding your text or other elements to your styled stock photos, you may want to include your website, logo, hashtag, or social media handle. This way, if someone shares your image and forgets to tag you, everyone will still know where it came from. Canva has a great resource that goes into branding in greater detail. Check it out here!
I hope this post inspires you to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to creating visual content for your business! It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming if you find the right tools, and utilizing styled stock photos is an excellent way to make sure everything you create looks flawless and engaging.