Gather around, friends — it’s time for our first Ask Alexia entry!
These unique posts will answer questions that you submit via Instagram or email. The questions you submitted this time were all about one topic (can you guess it?): brand design. Here’s today’s Q…
Do you take your own photos for your brand designs or are they from the Internet? And how does that work with copyright?
This is a really important question to answer, especially for anyone who’s looking to become a designer or any designers wanting to elevate their brand identities (client work or passion projects), because imagery is KEY. It can literally make or break a project. Your designs may be beautiful, but putting them over the right photos can help that beauty shine even brighter.
The thing is… not every photo you find on the Internet is fair game for you to use in your designs. In fact, you can even get in trouble if you aren’t properly checking your sources. And no, you can’t just take photos from Pinterest either — we’ve all been there, but we can do better!
My favorite two sites to source imagery from are Unsplash and Pexels. These two royalty-free sites provide you with photos taken by real photographers that are completely free and legal to use in any projects (as long as you aren’t passing them off as your own photography). Pro tip: Pexels also has a huge library of stock videos that you can use in Reels, since we all know Instagram is obsessed with video content right now. Sometimes I even browse the Unsplash library just to gain inspiration for a project. So these resources can definitely serve you in a multitude of ways!
My favorite way to find the right photos for my projects is to search by keyword. For example: when I was designing for Blume, I simply searched words like “flower,” “bouquet,” “florals,” or even something like “girls with flowers” for the project’s photos. Then I download them, save them to a folder, and simply drag and drop them into the project!
Of course, when you’re working with clients, there’s a really good chance they already have professional imagery done for them, so be sure to ask them if that’s the case because this is the most ideal situation! But some clients may not have the budget to hire a photographer yet, so sometimes it can be a good thing to source some imagery for them to use and include that in your deliverables! I usually just throw this in at no charge if I’m getting it from an easy-access place like Unsplash, but if you’re putting in a ton of extra work for it or even taking the photos for them, you can definitely charge for this service.
Moral of the story: we’re visual people, and we like pretty pictures. Not all of us are photographers — but thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of photos out there that you can use with total peace of mind. Be sure to bookmark both Unsplash and Pexels so you can go back to it frequently. They’ve been total life-savers for my designs!
Tiny plug incoming… if this topic sparked your imagination and you’ve thought of another question to submit for the next Ask Alexia entry of the Studio Alexia Journal, don’t hesitate to ask it via our Instagram or send me an email!
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