Caroline Mercurio

A Quick Guide to Resizing Images in Adobe Lightroom

by Caroline Mercurio on August 14, 2017 No comments

Looking for a way to resize your images with a minimum of hassle but a maximum amount of control over export quality or in large batches? Then Adobe Lightroom may be just the photo editing you’re looking for.

There’s a lot that goes into photo editing, and no two images are ever quite alike. But whether you’ve just finished a great photoshoot or you’re putting together a batch of stock photos for a social media campaign, one thing’s for certain: you’re going to have to resize your images if you want them to look their best in your finished product.

Most websites won’t accept large images, and if your photo is too high-res, it might even look weird on some browser screens. Now, we all know the tried-and-true Photoshop method—and that’s great if you want to resize your images one by one—but really, who has that kind of time? Enter Adobe Lightroom.

See, the clever folks over at Adobe knew that photographers—and everyone else who works with images—needed a way to batch upload, resize, organize, and export their images all at once. We’re talking seconds here, people. Yet many people still see Lightroom as “baby Photoshop” or, alternatively, as too confusing or advanced for the casual user. Not so! This program pairs beautifully with Photoshop to streamline your editing process and improve efficiency, and it’s great all on its own if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to do some basic editing and organize your photos.

To get you started, we put together this simple tutorial to teach you how to resize your images in Adobe Lightroom. We promise—after a time or two this process will take you mere moments.


Step One: Import Images into Lightroom

Go ahead and open up Adobe Lightroom. It should open up to the Library module along the top navigation bar. Once the screen pops up, click the button on the bottom left that reads “Import.”
Adobe Lightroom

A new screen will open, and often the easiest way to batch import your images is simply to drag and drop them into the center. Once they load, all your images will be visible as thumbnails, as you can see below. For this project, we decided to use images from this romantic stock wedding photoshoot.
Adobe Lightroom


Step Two: Export the image

Still working in the Library Module, select the images you want to export. To select all of them at once, simply click the first image, hold down SHIFT, and then click the last image. All of your photos should now be selected.
Adobe Lightroom

As you can see, the images will highlight and new thumbnails representing each selected image will appear along the bottom of the screen.

Now it’s time to get busy. Click the Export button (or Ctrl+Shift+E) at the bottom left of the Library module. A new window will pop up, and this is where the magic happens.
Adobe Lightroom


Step Three: Define Your Parameters

Export Location: At the top of the pop up window is a box saying “Export Location.” within this box you will see “Export to” with a drop down beside it. This is where your edited photos will end up, so go ahead and specify the folder your want to use. For our purposes, we’re using the Desktop.

The next drop-down under “Export Locations” is “Existing Files.” This option determines what happens to existing files already in your destination folder with the same name to avoid confusing duplications. In our experience, ”Ask what to do” is the safest bet.
Adobe Lightroom

File Naming: The next box is the “File Naming” box. “Rename To” gives you the option to have your files renamed something different than the existing file name you uploaded. For this project, we put a custom name in the custom text box with the date and the name of the project, and selected “Custom Name – Sequence” as my our naming convention. This means that the first image will be named “08_10_17_Jones Wedding” and the subsequent images will have a number added, for example “08_10_17_Jones Wedding-1”
Adobe Lightroom

If you select filename, your edited images will have the same filename as the original images. You can also create your own file naming template by selecting Edit from the dropdown list.

File Settings: Now let’s scroll down to the “File Settings” box. Here’s where we can manage the quality of our final images. First off, we’re going to want to select “JPEG” as the file format, because this is the most commonly used format for web images. We also want to set the Color Space to sRGB, because it’s the color mode most monitors see best.

Now it’s time to think about image quality. Sliding the quality bar all the way to the right might seem like a good idea because it will give you the highest quality, but it will also leave you with giant image sizes, which can slow down your page load speed or even crash your site. For digital images, it’s a safe bet to set your slider to 65-80.

Don’t check “Limit file size to,” because we don’t want Lightroom to override your selections later on.
Adobe Lightroom

Image Sizing: The first thing we’re going to do is check “Resize to Fit.” The dropdown will now give you several options to choose from. What you are essentially doing is selecting which edge you are sizing by—whether it’s the long or short edge, or both—from the dropdown next to the checkbox.
Adobe Lightroom

Each option has it’s own specifications and nuances, so we’ve broken them down below:

  • If you select “Dimensions,” Lightroom will size the images as closely to the selected pixel dimensions as possible within their current aspect ratio (their width to height), and one measurement will match the specified length. For example, if we specify 1200 x 800 pixels as the dimensions, some images may be 1200 x 600 or 800 x 800. The images will not be larger than 1200 x 800
  • If you select “Width & Height” you can set the longest dimensions in both directions, therefore depending on the aspect ratio of the image, it is possible that both dimensions will differ from your specifications. The image will be sized so that the width and height are no larger than the value you set.
  • “Long Edge” and “Short Edge” are both pretty self-explanatory. The images will be sized so that the edge you specify will match the dimensions you choose, and the other dimension will vary according to the image’s aspect ratio. It’s worth noting that Lightroom will apply these changes to images regardless of their orientation. For example, if you limit only the width of the image, your portrait-oriented images will likely come out much larger than your landscape images.
  • Megapixels are the measurement system used by camera companies and combines both width and height into one number. Basically, if you’re primarily concerned about actual file size, this setting may be for you. It’s particularly useful in stock photography because these images are often priced according to image size. Downsizing an image can also help salvage an image that isn’t the best quality or one with noise issues.
  • Percentage is the newest option for resizing in Adobe Ligtroom, and it allows you to—you guessed it—resize by a certain percentage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you select “Do Not Enlarge,” your images may end up smaller than intended if the original photo is smaller than your specified sizing.

We’ve decided to limit only the long edge of these images to make sure they fit properly on a specific blog page, which is 800 pixels wide with a sidebar. Your pixel size may differ according to your needs. For example, Facebook and most other social media platforms have specific sizes that work best for them.

Now select your resolution. Resolution is mostly for printing purposes and doesn’t really matter for web, provided that you are measuring your image size above in pixels instead of inches. That being said, 72 ppi is pretty standard for screen display. However, if you are looking to print your images, standard ppi ranges from 240 to 300ppi+.

If you are measuring your image size in inches, suddenly ppi matters quite a lot, but this is generally only done when working with print materials.
Adobe Lightroom

Sharpening, Metadata and More: Everything else is pretty optional and doesn’t have anything to do with image resizing, but it’s amazing how much post processing you can do in this simple “Export” box. Output sharpening allows you to sharpen your images, and there are a ton of great resources on the web that go into the various settings you can use here. For now, we’re happy with the sharpness of our images so we’re going to go ahead and move on.

You’ll also see that you have the option to add metadata, and it’s a good idea to remove your personal and location info from the image embeds. Removing unnecessary data also reduces image size.

Watermarking: If you want to watermark your images, go ahead and click the “Watermark” box, and select your watermark from the drop down. To add or edit your watermarks, select “Edit Watermark” from the drop down. If this is the first time you’re adding a unique watermark to Lightroom such as a logo, select “Graphic” where it says “Watermark Style” and upload it using the “Choose” button under “Image Options.”
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom

Finally, you want to make sure “Do Nothing” is selected from the drop down under “Post-Processing”—unless you want the images to immediately open up in Photoshop, Finder, or another application after they export.

Step Four: Save Your Settings
We know it seemed like a lot, but the good news is that this process takes only seconds once you’re used to it—especially if you save your settings! If you want to use these settings again, save them by clicking the “Add” button at the bottom left of the Export Window, under the Preset list. Give your new preset a name and select a folder (or just leave it set to “User Presets”). Click Create.
Adobe Lightroom

Now, the next time you want to use the preset, just open to the Export dialogue box and choose your setting.

Step Five: It’s Time to Export!
Just click that beautiful blue Export button in the Export dialogue box and that’s it! Your images will appear in your specified folder—in this case, the desktop—resized and ready for all your web projects.
Adobe Lightroom

There you have it, folks! What used to take an hour can be done in five seconds, leaving you more time to focus on what really matters—like binge watching Game of Thrones on your DVR. Or, you know, working.

Save even more time—and money—with royalty-free stock graphics. We can’t be everywhere at once, and honestly, some shots are just better left to—well, other people.


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Caroline MercurioA Quick Guide to Resizing Images in Adobe Lightroom

Get Ready for the Marketplace Launch

by Caroline Mercurio on August 14, 2017 No comments

Mark your calendars. The image Marketplace will make its official debut to all on September 18, 2017. We’re excited to hit this milestone and you should be too! Your content will be available for sale to our entire growing base of members. So now is the time to make sure your content is uploaded, tagged, and ready for primetime.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Skinny

The Marketplace will graduate from Beta and go live to all on September 18. We will be making a big announcement to the entire community, and generating buzz through a special promotional campaign. We’re making sure all 180,000 of our current members know about it, plus potential new customers.

How You Should Prep

If you haven’t yet, make sure you upload and tag your content soon so it will be live on the site for the launch. The exposure associated with the promotional campaign will bring some serious attention to the Marketplace and we don’t want you or your content to miss out!

Get Down to Business

So what happens when the sales start to roll in? If you visit the Finance tab within your account, you will see a page set up for your Sales History. There you will be able to see any purchases made and the associated date. We have a minimum payment threshold of $25 for each site in order to help you save money on transaction fees. Earnings under the threshold will accumulate and carry over. Once you reach that balance, you’ll be eligible to receive your payout in the next cycle.

If you already have content live in the Marketplace, you may have earned a few sales through our Beta stage. If that’s the case, the first payout will be issued on September 15 and we will follow our normal monthly payment schedule from that point forward. Please remember to complete your payment and tax information under your Account tab in order to qualify for payouts.

Didn’t make any sales during Beta? Not to worry! The audience that was exposed to the Beta version of the Marketplace was small and sales were comparable. We expect sales volume to pick up after the official launch. As always, if you need more detail on sales and payment, visit our FAQ under “Questions About Payment.”

Hopefully that answered most of your questions about the image Marketplace. If not, feel free to reach out to us at Happy uploading!


Prepare Your Content


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Caroline MercurioGet Ready for the Marketplace Launch

The Hottest Photography Trends of 2017

by Caroline Mercurio on July 7, 2017 No comments

The Summer of ‘17 is well underway, and as stock photographers we’ve already set our sights on Fall and Winter. Between those mid-summer blowout sales, back-to-school promos, and all that pre-holiday mania, the coming months are critical for reaching our goals. Q4 is coming and we’re all getting ready—whether you’re a freelance photographer or part of a big creative team. As we gather our wits—and out toolkits—it’s a good idea to start looking into the world of design to see what photography trends are driving sales this year.

We’ve been dreaming and imagining how we can incorporate stock photos into new and exciting design themes. While we saw some great trends over last year, 2017 is taking stock photography to a fresher, bolder level.


Bold Photography and Sleek Text



This has been the year of brave designers. Bold photography in coordination with sleek text is gaining momentum as a trend. This combination is often found in advertisements for brands that embrace adventure. Some examples include activewear brands like Nike or fashion brands like Everlane, amongst many others. (Have you seen our tutorial on how to create striking text portraits?)

This combination exudes both class and excitement. It communicates a clear message but doesn’t bore the audience. “Bold and sleek” works well for an audience with a short attention span, and it gets straight to the point. This combination works great for display ads, social media promotions, and graphics where a small amount of information needs to be conveyed instantly. Incorporate bold borders to better emphasize your information and draw greater attention.



It’s no big secret that stock photography hasn’t always been praised for it’s diversity and inclusion, but thankfully that’s quickly changing. Marketers are learning the importance of reaching out to a wider demographic, while vocal consumers are rightfully demanding better representation in the media. Supply the rising voices with images that celebrate diversity and inclusion, and leave that saccharine “blonde woman eating salad” photo in the past.

photography trends



But authenticity is more than just a choice of model. Experiment with less-than-perfect lighting, gritty textures, and real-world scenarios. Play with your narrative. You never know what potential buyers are looking for, but it isn’t always in line with traditional media’s definition of “perfect.”

photography trends


Saturated Colors

photography trends

As you know, Pantone leads the way with seasonal color trends. In 2017, we saw vibrant and bold colors that are incredibly true to their dominant hue. This trend started to sneak its way into a variety of design elements back in 2016, but has been picking up steam in the warm weather months. Look for colors found in nature and intensify them—be bold and up the saturation of your images.

photography trends

Choose loud and deep colors—not necessarily neon. Look for colors that are heavy on the hue rather than brighter in lightness. Utilize contrasting colors in a way that is similar to what is suggested in material design. Allow each color to fearlessly draw attention to specific areas of your design.


Or Completely Desaturated Colors



Sometimes, simplicity is key. With it’s high contrast and elegant, retro-vibe, black-and-white photography has seen a major resurgence in 2017. But wait, didn’t we just tell you to supersaturate your colors? Yes—yes, we did. But there’s more than one way to be bold. 2017 is not the year to be afraid; it’s the year to push boundaries. If you’re looking for some photos that can really set your designs apart, try going old school with crisp, timeless black and white.


Because these images don’t compete with colors, they make an excellent backdrop for graphic posters, social media, and event promotions—really any project that you’d like to give an edge to. They also work for almost any brand, because designers don’t have to worry about color schemes clashing. Want to add a touch of 90s texture to these works of art? Try adding a grunge overlay to roughen them up a bit.


Organic Design

Organic design may just be the biggest change we’ve seen in recent trends. A far cry from the graphic, edgy style we’ve seen (and continue to see) in digital media, this emerging style features textures and patterns drawn from nature. This breezy style may continue to gain traction over tech-driven designs as we continue to move away from the sharp-edged compositions of yesteryear.



What does all that mean for us as photographers? The visual aesthetic must communicate clearly with your user while creating a calming, natural ambiance. Draw inspiration from real-world materials to keep your photographs grounded in reality, yet lightweight and minimalistic. Create with those principles in mind and think about how you’re weaving together the fabric of the Internet.



Hygge may be taking a break for the summer months, but this cozy Danish trend (pronounced hoo-gah) reigned supreme this winter and is sure to make a comeback for the Fall and Winter seasons. Hygge is all about getting cozy—whether it’s with a big fluffy blanket, a convivial dinner party, or a cup of hot cocoa, it’s basically cold-weather marketing gold. Capture that sense of comfort and joy in your photos to capitalize on hygge’s feel-good vibes.

photography trends

photography trends

photography trends

photography trends


Social Media Madness

photography trends

Instagram and Snapchat took over in 2016 and new social media apps are keeping the momentum going. However, one thing is for sure: social media is more powerful than ever for business. And it’s really not as simple as it seems.

It can be hard to nail down what sort of content will perform successfully, and social media posts are often worthless without captivating photos. Stock photography can provide the perfect backdrop for any variety of social media content. One of our favorite combos? A stunning landscape with a motivational quote to accompany high-performing hashtags such as #motivationmonday, #thursdaythoughts, and #fridayfeeling. Need some help finding your inspiration Explore our 50 favorite picks for social.

Are you ready to start selling? Try your hand at capturing these trends in your photography and keep uploading fresh content to the Marketplace.


Start Selling Now


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Caroline MercurioThe Hottest Photography Trends of 2017

Back to School Toolkit: Photos, Charts, and Graphic Templates for Resourceful Teachers

by Caroline Mercurio on July 6, 2017 No comments

The first day of school might be a distant thought to many, but it’s practically around the corner for teachers. Summer is prime planning time for the school year—classes don’t plan themselves, after all! So we’re kicking off the Back to School season early with our educational toolkit.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and teachers are certainly old pros at inventing. Every summer they wear many hats, whipping up classroom decorations and outlining projects as part of the school year preparations. And while we can’t help plan the curriculum, our graphics library is full of visual resources perfect for educators.

We’ve hand picked this toolkit of teaching resources featuring customizable graphs and chart templates, imaginative icons, and backgrounds for classroom subjects—plus stock educational photos suited to most scholastic projects.

Here’s a quick preview of the toolkit—or explore the full Back to School toolkit in our library.


Customizable Graphs and Charts

stock images

Download this ecology infographic template.

Chemistry? Check.
Geography? Check.
Ecology? Check.

With colorful and fun charts adaptable to any number of different subjects, these eye catching graphics are the perfect way to capture your students’ attention and keep it. As visual literacy gains as one of the most important skills for students in the digital era, information and data visualizations are also becoming key components to curriculum planning—even in non-STEM subjects. Just download these vector templates into Adobe Illustrator (or your favorite graphics editor) to start customizing them and make them your own.


Imaginative Icons


stock images

Download these retro educational web icons.

We could write odes to the understated icon—or channel our inner William Carlos Williams: So much depends upon the small icons. While it might seem like high praise, icons do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to visual literacy and multimodal learning. Perhaps most importantly, they’re short and to the point while still being fun.

So whether they’re accenting presentations and class discussion blogs—or being incorporated into larger infographic designs with our graphs and charts—these icons will help you convey complex ideas quickly and imaginatively for your students.


Back to School Photos


stock images

Download this photo of colored pencils.

Not to be confused with the often dreaded school portraits or yearbook photos, these school photos are hand picked to inspire students in their work. Running the gamut from K to 12+ and from math to art, we picked these photos for their versatility and adaptability. So whether you’re designing your own motivational posters or putting together an email newsletter for students and parents, these photos are the perfect jumping off point.

You’ll discover all these graphics and more in the full toolkit—just don’t wait to be saved by the bell!


Explore the Toolkit


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Caroline MercurioBack to School Toolkit: Photos, Charts, and Graphic Templates for Resourceful Teachers

Why Do Infographics Work So Well?

by Caroline Mercurio on June 27, 2017 No comments

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in a fast-paced world full of data analytics and research, infographics are the perfect way to explain your data. We’re all strapped for time, and most people would prefer to see colorful graphs, charts, and icons broken down into easily digestible snippets rather than countless spreadsheets and paragraphs describing them. But besides efficiently displaying information and reducing the number of spreadsheets in our lives, why exactly do infographics work? Let’s explore the factors behind the success of an infographic.


What Is the Science Behind the Success of Infographics?

royalty-free stock vector library

Download this infographic template.

For starters, 50% of the human brain is dedicated to visual processing, and a majority of the world’s population is made up of visual learners. You might ask, “Well, what about the rest of the population—the ones who aren’t visual learners?” They still process an image much faster than they process text. They also engage more with images, and therefore remember visual information much better than stand-alone text.

Infographics are easy to digest, which not only makes them easier to read and remember, but you can also be sure that your audience—regardless of training or background—will understand them too. Better visuals, higher engagement levels, and increased ability to understand make infographics the perfect content to share on social media. More sharing means more eyes consuming your branded content.


How Should Infographics Be Used?

royalty-free stock vector library

Download this infographic template.

The primary use case for infographics is in content marketing. Let’s pretend you own a brewery, and you are pushing content on your blog to increase your online presence and customer engagement. A lot of your customers (as well as other beer enthusiasts) may be interested in learning about what exactly goes into beer, and what each ingredient contributes to the delicious beer that they enjoy. Rather than droning on and on about where hops comes from and how certain percentages affect the taste of a beer, make the information more easily digestible in specific snippets dedicated to each ingredient. Your customers will be much more likely to share a beautiful and engaging infographic with their friends, and as more of their friends see it, you’ll get more customers. You can thank us for this advice later with a nice, cold brewski.  

Infographics are commonly used in content marketing, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be used elsewhere. Include them in your packaging to explain where your product came from, what went into your product, and who you should contact if you need help with your product. Make your presentation infographic-like to keep your audience engaged. Really, you can use infographics whenever you have a lot of information that you need to slim down for an easy read.


How Do You Make an Infographic?

royalty-free stock vector library

Download this infographic template.

You can make infographics from scratch using various programs including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, but much like everything else in life, it’s easier to start with a template. Our royalty-free stock vector library is full of infographic elements and templates. Explore the possibilities of engaging content!


Discover Infographic Icons


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Caroline MercurioWhy Do Infographics Work So Well?

How to Convert Photos to Black and White or Monochrome

by Caroline Mercurio on June 22, 2017 No comments

To capture a client’s attention, get them hooked right off the bat by setting the right mood in your advertisement. Using a black and white stock photo in advertising—or converting one to a bright yet monochromatic color scheme—can have a hypnotic effect that your audience won’t be able to turn away from. The contrasting lack of color compared to our highly saturated daily lives can make a lasting impact, add gravity or weight to your message, and simplify the visual noise audiences deal with in a cluttered consumer world.


How to Convert Color Photos to Black and White

While there are several ways to take your photographs and make them black and white, one of the easiest and least complicated ways is to desaturate them.

  1. Open your photo in a photo editing program.
  2. Navigate to the “Saturation” menu. (In Photoshop this is Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation).
  3. Take the saturation slider or percentage to -100%—this will completely desaturate your image and make it greyscale.


How to Convert Photos to Monochrome

Using the steps above to change your photo to black and white, you can add extra oomph to your project by introducing a monochromatic color scheme.
1) Take your black and white image and open the Photo Filter menu. (In Photoshop this is Image > Photo Filter.)
2. Choose the color you want for you monochrome scheme. Most photo editing programs will allow you to preview what the image will look like.
Note for Photoshop Pros: The photo filter menu is not usually intended for monochromatic conversions–filters are traditionally used for adjusting photos taken in varied light settings, such as underwater or under fluorescent lights—but the menu is a quick way to add on overall monochromatic color scheme to your image in just two steps.
Et voila! You have a gorgeous black and white or monochromatic image!
There are a million ways to use color, or lack of color, to compliment your ad. To help you find your muse, we’ve rounded up some of our best stock photos that are waiting to be converted to beautiful monochromatic creative for your advertising campaigns. Check out our favorites below.


Serious Photos

By lowering the lighting and focusing on the important parts of your ad, clients will want to know more about your story. Here are a few perfect muted photos you’ll be dying to use in your advertising.

Side View of Meditating Woman Sitting in Pose of Lotus Against Blue Sky Outdoors Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Lotus Pose image


Festival Candles Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Candles image


Pensive Businessman of African Ethnicity Thinking of Something Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Thinking image


Luxury Photos

A black and white filter on your photos helps your audience appreciate the finer things in life. Make use of simple colors to feature the beautiful sandy beaches of your resort, complete with relaxing waves and zero distractions.


Portrait of Young Female Enjoying the Procedure of Facial Massage Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Massage image


Hands Holding the Glasses of Champagne and Wine Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Champagne and Wine image


Maldives Beach and Island Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Maldives Beach image


Happy Photos

Bright colors aren’t always needed to convey happiness. By removing color from jubilant photos, clients can get a glimpse of the simple joys that your product can bring to their lives.


Crowd of People with Raised Arms Dancing in Night Club Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Dancing image


Ecstatic Friends with Raised Arms Looking at Camera Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Ecstatic Friends image


Happy Adventurous Woman Hiking

black and white stock photoDownload this Happy Hiker

Nostalgic Photos

Bring back the past when you add a sepia tone to the following photos.


Rustic Silverware Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Rustic Silverware image


Close up of a Cup of Tea with Roses and Chocolate Candies on Wooden Table Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Cup of Tea image


Christmas Cookies Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Christmas Cookies image


Productive Photos

Showcase the best of what you do with gripping black and white photos. Put your business’ productivity and sincerity on display with these attractive shots.


Businessperson Studying Electronic Data in Digital Tablet Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Electronic Data image


Image of Business Partners Handshaking Over Business Objects On Workplace Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Handshaking image


Laptop Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Laptop image


Atmospheric Photos

If you need to scare up some excitement for your Zombie Appreciation Festival, wildlife rescue campaign, or Halloween Emporium, try using the black and white versions of the stock photos below to give your audience a desolate and terrifying taste of what’s to come.


Field in the Morning During Fall Season Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Field image


A North Forest in Fog

black and white stock photoDownload this North Forest image


Spider Web in Close Up. Stock Image

black and white stock photoDownload this Spider Web image

Looking for more inspiration for your advertising campaign? Start by browsing thousands of our stock photos—we’re sure to have just the right one.


Discover More Black and White Photos


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Caroline MercurioHow to Convert Photos to Black and White or Monochrome

Trending This Week: Creating Paper Textures in Photoshop

by Caroline Mercurio on May 26, 2017 1 comment

Do you ever find a design that really catches your eye and think to yourself, “How can I make that?” Yup—we do it too. So which trend won our hearts this week? Striking paper textures that could be used in just about any form of graphic design, from posters to social media graphics. Though the Strathmore paper mockups of the Mad Men ad-age have given way to sharp digital prints, the traditional pulpy texture of parchment is here to stay.

Check our our dimensional design below. If you’re not incredibly familiar with blend modes and texture layering, the design may seem a little intimidating at first. That’s why we broke it down piece by piece using royalty-free stock photos, so you can see just how simple it is to build a similar design.

royalty-free stock photos

Download the royalty-free stock images used in this design.

We started with a strong, capital letter “I” with this paper texture masked onto it. Then we isolated the woman in this royalty-free image before adding a bold yellow circle.

We created our dripping paint effect with a few different brushes, and masked a striped paper texture on-top with the Color Burn blend mode. Finally, we added our black and white skyline, and for added depth we used a few different paper textures that added warmth and the bold creased paper effect. For the top layers, we find it works best to use the Multiply blend mode and adjust the opacities so they don’t detract too much from the design.

Ready to go? Just dig into our library and select a few key elements that make for a visually striking look—then start playing! It’s a lot like painting—adjust the composition and the various combination of textures until you feel like you’ve reached a stopping point. You add a layer and stand back. Add another layer and re-evaluate. And remember, the beauty about Photoshop is that you can always hit undo!

So now we pass the baton on to you. What designs will you create with our plethora of stock paper textures?


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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Creating Paper Textures in Photoshop

Bye Bye, Clipart: 3 Tips and Tools for Avoiding the Biggest Mistakes in Slide Design

by Caroline Mercurio on May 21, 2017 No comments

Have you upgraded your slide decks recently? Though that question might earn a few eye rolls from Google Slides and Powerpoint veterans, in today’s high-def, high-res world of slick, minimalist designs and supersaturated color blocking, it’s important to take a step back and truly ask: What decade are your slide decks living in?

If the answer is anything other than right now, it might be time to step away from the clipart and rethink your approach. To help, we’ve put together this quick and simple guide using stock vectors to avoid the three biggest mistakes in slide design.

And if you like the graphics and motifs in these slide designs, don’t forget to explore more graphical elements from our royalty-free library.

slide decks

Tip #1 – Stay Fresh and Cohesive—But Avoid Canned Themes!

slide decks
If there’s one cardinal rule in slide design, it’s that you must have a unifying theme. Without visual cohesion in a deck, ideas and thoughts appear disconnected and give audiences the impression that the presenter doesn’t care whether the slides are professional and polished—definitely not something anyone wants! So it’s understandable that the vast majority of the working world relies on preset themes for their decks: it’s just easier.

Unfortunately, this is also a huge mistake. Most of the themes included in slide design programs feature fonts, styles, and motifs that are years—if not decades—out of style. And even if a theme is au courant, it’s not unique—thousands of other companies and presenters could be using the exact same theme, making it far from the best way to distinguish a business or brand.

Instead, forge your own path and create your own template that’s both unique and contemporary! (Which leads us to our second tip.)

Tip #2 – Keep It Simple and Be Yourself

 slide decks
Whether you’re a veteran slide designer or this is your first time putting together a deck, remember that simplicity is your best friend. The purpose of a slide theme is to create cohesion as well as build or evoke brand identity—not overwhelm the viewer or upstage the information being presented.

So don’t overcomplicate it and keep to this simple rule of three: palette, font, motif.
Palette – Start with the dominant colors or palette you want for your slides, and decide if you want those colors to pop as part of the background or through the motifs. These colors might be determined by your own brand guidelines, or you can pick them for yourself. If doing the latter, make sure they resonate with what you’re representing, whether that’s your own personal brand or your company’s new product.

(And if you’re not certain which colors to pick—there are almost 10 million in the visible spectrum, after all—you can learn more about color palettes in our Guide to Color Theory.)

For our example, we’ve picked a muted palette of neutrals (white and slate gray) with a single pop of Millennial Pink for highlights and motifs.

slide decks

Font – Next up, pick your font(s)—as with palette choices, these should reflect both your brand and your personal style. For cohesive purposes, limit yourself to just one or two fonts. Any more than two fonts is too many cooks in the kitchen.

The advantage of picking two fonts is that they will allow you to introduce additional visual hierarchy on your slides, with one font working as the headliner (or H1) while the other font does the heavy lifting in the body copy or supporting descriptions. This can be helpful for slides with a lot of information, making it easier for viewers to read. On the other hand, if you choose a single font, you further cement the visual cohesion of the deck.

For our slide example, we choose two commonly used fonts available through Google or Adobe Typekit: Great Vibes and Proxima Nova.
Motif – This is the final yet perhaps most important element when creating your own slide deck theme. A motif is a visual image or style that you pick to repeat on each slide to create further cohesion. For some decks, this means using the same color blocks or highlights on each slide, while for others it means reusing the same design element through.

For our example, we chose close-cropped color blocking for our color highlight, which we can pull through from the title slide to all supporting detail slides.

slide decks
A word to the wise: If you’re working on a branded deck, avoid putting your logo on every slide—it’s so 2000s. While it’s important to stamp your brand identity on each slide, this can often be done more subtly than simply copying and pasting your logo. Instead, consider pulling the palette, fonts, or design elements of your brand into your deck’s theme for a softer, more subtle approach.


#3 – Don’t Say It, Show It

Now that you’ve got the foundations of your deck established, make sure your content shines! Nothing gets an audience to tune out faster than a slide that looks like word soup.

slide decks

Overwhelming viewers with too much information too quickly—usually by using too many words or data points and not enough visualizations—is a common but completely avoidable mistake. Think about the most effective presentations you’ve seen, whether on Shark Tank or in your favorite TED talks. What’s the one thing they all have in common? Less is more.

slide decks
Slide decks should anchor an audience’s attention, punctuating key takeaways or questions—and what better way to do that than with visuals? We recommend using vector infographics and flat icons to help you visualize your points while engaging your audience.

slide decks


Download the contemporary flat icons in this slide.

slide decks


Download the contemporary flat icons in this slide.


So how about it? Are you ready to design your own slide deck? With these tips—plus a well-stocked arsenal of royalty-free design elements and graphics—it’s time to bid a fond farewell to clipart that’s straight out of the 90s!


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Caroline MercurioBye Bye, Clipart: 3 Tips and Tools for Avoiding the Biggest Mistakes in Slide Design

5 Summer Design Trends That Are Blowing Up Social Media

by Caroline Mercurio on May 15, 2017 1 comment

Whether you’re a Millennial or not, everyone is trying to market to them—and if you’re not, maybe you should be. From traditional mainstays like Suave shampoo to newer kids on the block like TOMS, brands the world over are tailoring their marketing creative to match the passions and tastes that define the Millennial market. More than just a buzzword, this social media savvy generation is a consumer force to be reckoned with—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this young, vibrant demographic now outnumbers the Baby Boomers and makes up more than a quarter of America’s population.

So how do you catch the eye of that relevant, hip consumer this summer? We’ve combed social media for five of the hottest up-and-coming design trends that Millennials just can’t seem to get enough of—and we’re certain we’ll be seeing a lot of them this season. To help inspire you, we’ve outlined each of the influences behind these trends and added some examples of how to use them with our very own stock images.


#1 – Embrace Millennial Pink

stock images

Download the seamless floral vector used in this design.

NYMag caught onto this trend of a color that couldn’t quite be pinned down—and it’s called Millennial Pink. Millennial Pink isn’t just a single color per se. It’s range of colors that are indeed in the pink family, but the point is not what it is, but rather what it’s not. It’s not Barbie pink. Nor is it acid washed neon pink. And it certainly isn’t riddled with domesticity and gender exclusion—Millennial pink is for men, too.

More precisely, it includes a range of pinks that lack the blue tint of our beloved Barbie doll’s iconic look. It can range from a beige with only a hint of pink (think Pantone’s Pale Dogwood) all the way to a bold and decisive salmon with a strong presence of orange. It’s everywhere and let’s just say—Millennial Pink sells. This movement took a color that became a pillar of femininity—for better or worse—and stripped away its power. What can we say? Millennials have strong voices and opinions. So now pink is for everyone. And it’s here to stay.

Use it in your web design, packaging, apparel, advertisements, and more. The possibilities are nearly limitless because that’s the point of this color—stripping away limits.


#2 – Nature Found Patterns

stock images

Download the stock images used in this design.

As summer rolls around, it’s as if the design world remembers that greenery and nature become alive again, because every year we see a resurgence of patterns found outdoors. From palm fronds to marble slabs, the motifs of re-emerging nature comes back into play. However, let’s get a little more macro—as if you were to zoom in with a microscope.

We all know by now that nature is a strong advocate and supporter of geometry. The golden ratio is clear in many forms from the human form to the seashells we collect from the sandy beaches. These are the patterns that make for a summery, yet artistic feel. They can be implemented in apparel design, in contrast with more drastic and man-made linear patterns, or as an excellent backdrop to web designs.

Millennials may be hooked on social media and community connectedness, but it doesn’t mean they don’t still feel a strong connection with their surroundings.


#3 – Their Kind of Retro

stock images

Download the abstract wave element stock vector used in this design.

We have some scary news for you. The 70s and 80s are considered retro. (And maybe even the 90s.) Before you run away screaming in horror, keep in mind Millennials were born between the years of 1977 and 2000. So while some of them may remember the 80s, they certainly weren’t in the know of the popular graphic design styles.

What does that mean for design? Think Tron. Bold neon colors on top of dark grey and black backgrounds. The look is a powerful and punchy one. It’s nostalgia and futurism all-together in one.


#4 – Hygge Like A Hug

stock images

Download the abstract stock images used in this design.

Pronounced “hoo-guh,” hygge is a Danish word that cannot be directly translated to English without a full sentence, but generally describes a place or design that’s warm, cozy, and inviting—three strong emotional motivators when buying a product. Quite literally, it’s defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” So, how does a mouthful like that that translate into graphic design? And how can we replicate comfort in our pixels and JPGs?

Think gentle. Think soothing. Times are stressful lately, so how can we distill the chaos and anxiety that surrounds us into visually pleasing interpretations? Natural materials such as unbleached paper, soothing flesh-tones, and designs that recall a simpler time. Imagine browsing a selection of packaged goods down the aisles of your grocery store and feeling like you can breathe and pause once you come across a product that allows a visual sanctuary in your loud surroundings.

Allow for plenty of negative space, clear visual hierarchy, contrast for the sake of legibility, but not too much that it jolts the senses. It’s minimalism and warmth all in one that creates a sense of ultimate balance and comfort.


#5 – Modern Serifs

stock images

Download the photo of a misty countryside at sunset used in this design.

How long has the design world been touting future-forward and modern, sans-serif fonts—like say, Helvetica and Futura? Apparently too long. Serif fonts and typefaces have been experiencing a renaissance of sorts, but that doesn’t mean you can whip out your trusty, old Times New Roman just yet. With access to a plethora of fonts with resources like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit, Millennial designers are putting their trust into the old-faithful fonts—but with a modern refresh.

We’re particularly fans of classics like Bookmania and Georgia, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t partial to newer renditions like a sturdy slab-serif or two. Here’s the deal though. You can’t go just go crazy into the style of lithographs and copy-heavy advertisements. Serifs are a statement. They should be used with modern and simplistic designs. They must take the center-stage and are not meant to be used in competition with other design elements. Make them bold, the H1. And allow a more subtle sans-serif to play the supporting role this time around.

The best thing about these trends is that they may already feel a little familiar to you—they’ve slowly been gaining traction on social media and in mainstream marketing over the past several months, but they’re guaranteed to be out en force this summer. And now we pass the baton on to you. With a library full of royalty-free stock graphics, the opportunities to create are limitless. How will you pass on your message?


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Caroline Mercurio5 Summer Design Trends That Are Blowing Up Social Media

25 Mother’s Day Images That Say “I Love You”

by Caroline Mercurio on May 10, 2017 No comments

How do you thank the person who did everything for you? From scraped knees to scratched cars, monsters under the bed to monstrous student debt, our moms have been there for it all. They’ve thought about us, worried about us, and sacrificed for us every day since we were born. But one day each year, we turn things around—we get together and celebrate all the things our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, and friends do each and every day in the name of motherhood.

So with Mother’s Day just around the corner, show the mom’s in your life just how much you care with images that celebrate everything they mean to you. From customizable cards to touching social media posts and customizable gifts, we’ve got you covered with 25 of our favorite Mother’s Day images.


Get Animated

Mother's Day images

Download this cartoon family background vector.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day image.

Mother's Day images

Download this cartoon background with family illustration.

Animated 4

Download this Summer background vector illustration.

Animated 5

Download this sketch of mom and baby.


Very Vintage

Mother's Day images

Download this vintage frame silhouette stock image.

Mother's Day images

Download this vintage Mother’s Day background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this vintage Mother’s Day card.

Mother's Day images

Download this vintage floral frame vector.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day card stock image.


Flower Delivery

Mother's Day images

Download this roses, chocolate, and coffee beans stock image.

Mother's Day images

Download this stock photo of a colorful rose at sunrise.

Mother's Day images

Download this Rose background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this tulip blackboard stock image.

Mother's Day images

Download this retro flower background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day image.


Baby Love

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day image.

Mother's Day images

Download this new baby vector design.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day image.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day background image.

Mother's Day images

Download this Happy Mother’s Day image.

Mother's Day images

Download this baby shoes stock image.


Thanks, Mom!

We bet there’s an old banker’s box full of your childhood drawings, craft projects, and cards buried in your mom’s closet—but personalized gifts don’t have to end with middle school graduation. Show her how much your crafting skills have improved with a floral background, a family photo, and a little Photoshop magic. Or use these images to create a one-of-a-kind coffee mug, calendar, photo book, or collage. There are so many ways to tell mom you love her this year—so why not show her she’s one of a kind with a gift only you can give her. We promise, it won’t end up in “the box.”

Mother's Day images

Download this Mother’s Day image.


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Caroline Mercurio25 Mother’s Day Images That Say “I Love You”