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Trending This Week: Designing With Purple

by Caroline Mercurio on March 2, 2017 No comments

Purple is one of the most interesting colors to work with, and it appears that the rest of the design world agrees. As the meeting point between warm red and cool blue, purple plays between the two tonalities to create countless colors in-between. You can mix a cool indigo by using a stronger dose of blue, or you can warm things up with a heavy dose of red. Even better, use several shades of purple together to keep your designs fresh and modern. No matter what hue you choose, this royal color always makes a bold statement.

Mustering up our courage, we decided to create our own eggplant-hued designs with stock images and an easy to achieve color overlay.

 
Stock Images

Download the stock images used in this design.

 

First we pulled our quote from one of our favorites by designer Sam Winston, “Design teaches you to study the voice rather than what to say.” Then to create this inspirational poster design, we simply downloaded our stock image of choice, added a shade of purple on top, and switched the color layer blend mode to multiply—play around with a variety of other blend modes like overlay, hue, color, etc. when creating your own design!

This season, designers are being fearlessly bold and not shying away from strong use of bright colors. We hope this post has inspired you to embrace the same level of bravery—and if you want to learn more about designing with color, check out our Color Theory 101 and our Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors.

 

Be Bold with Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Designing With Purple

21 Mesmerizing Stock Nature Photos Worth Sharing

by Jordan McElwain on March 1, 2017 No comments

One of the amazing things about stock nature photos is that they allow us to appreciate the beauty of the world through the eyes—and lens—of an artist. Sometimes all we need to think positively and feel inspired is a different perspective, so we’ve gathered 21 mesmerizing nature photos for you to share with your friends, family, and followers to give them a few friendly reminders from Mother Nature herself.

Pair these photos with cute quotes and inspirational advice to raise engagement levels on social media, download them and share them with friends and family when they need a pick me up, or choose some to create your own personalized stationery.

These beautiful nature photos are just a few of our favorites from the our stock images library. Download this set, then check out all of the awesome stock photos and graphics we have to offer.
 

1. This delightful frog will inspire you and your running buddy to hop back into your training.

tree-frog-nature-photo
Download and share this image.
 

2. This photo will help you remember that there is beauty in life even when you can’t see it clearly.

stock nature image - foggy photo
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3. These frost-fighting leaves will remind you that anything is possible.

Stock nature photos - frosty leaves
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4. Sometimes you have to visit some place remarkable to enjoy things you may not normally enjoy.

Nature Stock Photos - iceberg in greenland
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5. This beautiful night sky is enough to make anyone want to go on a camping trip in the mountains to go stargazing.

Stock nature photos - space photos
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6. This serious clownfish can help you remember to just keep swimming through life because that anemone “Can’t touch this.”

nature photos - clownfish
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7. Sometimes if you are struggling with achieving your goals, you just need to “Let it go” like Elsa.

nature stock image - photo of cold frosty weather
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8. Try to visit new places and see new things.

stock nature photos - red rocks in southwest US
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9. Whether it’s going on a cruise or just staring at this beautiful photo of a sunset, find a way to escape when life gets stressful.

stock nature photo of sunset on the ocean
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10. Remember to stop and take things in every once in a while—like this amazing view.

nature stock photos - landscape images
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11. No matter how dark (and cold) things may seem, there is brightness just around the corner.

nature stock photos - sunflower field
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12. The more you explore, the more hidden gems you’ll find.

nature stock photo of a natural waterfall
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13.Learn to appreciate things even if you don’t understand them—like how a boat can float on water.

nature stock photo of a boat on foggy water
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14. There is something to enjoy in every season.

nature photos of fall leaves
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15. You have to get through the rocky times to enjoy the smooth ones.

nature stock photo - rocks on a beach
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16. Enjoy the company of others.

stock nature photo trees in a forest
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17. But remember to spend some time alone as well.

nature stock photo of a tree
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18. Each day is a new beginning–-don’t let the past hold you back.

nature stock photo of a sunrise on the beach
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19. Yellow isn’t just for gender neutral baby gifts.

nature stock photos - yellow flowers
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20. Remember that being different is what makes us beautiful.

nature stock photos - shells on a beach
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21.Remind your followers to get lost every once in awhile.

nature stock photos for wanderlust
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Nature is beautiful, and taking the time to stop and appreciate it will help you stay relaxed and inspired. Share these photos with your friends to brighten up their days.

 

Start Sharing

 

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Jordan McElwain21 Mesmerizing Stock Nature Photos Worth Sharing

Get Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

by Caroline Mercurio on February 14, 2017 No comments

T-shirts, hats, mugs, bags, pens, or socks—if you can think of it, you can put your logo on it. Swag is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If it’s wearable or useful, you can guarantee great swag will get your brand in front of new eyes and help create lasting awareness. To spark your inspiration, we’ve outlined three ways companies can use swag to show off the strengths of their business and values—whether you’re a small business owner or Mark Zuckerberg himself, these top swag tricks will help you elevate your brand to the next level.

Keep in mind, you can’t just slap your logo on a coffee mug and call it a day, not if you want to make a significant impact—you don’t want to devalue your brand with common promotional products. Push the design of your swag to the next level and incorporate stock graphics, vectors and photos to help the inner spirit of your brand shine.

Your company’s brand is more than just the logo and colors—it’s a personality and a vision. Highlight your brand’s internal values that don’t always get to shine so brightly to the world outside your office. Swag is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also an important way to create a strong working community among coworkers and teammates.

 

#1 Swag for Facebook

Consider Facebook, for instance. They have five core values that drive their inner company workings and their hiring process. While they aren’t always advertised to the external world, it’s a huge part of their company culture and brand. As an example, we created a quick swag design encapsulating one of their values—in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “Move fast and break things.”

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock image of a blur speed effect used in this design.

 

#2 Swag for Google

Google is another company with strong internal values. They are innovative, creative, and they push boundaries. One of their ten core values is, “You can be serious without a suit.” They believe work should be challenging—but also fun. To reflect that playful attitude and boundary pushing mentality, we imagined a fun baseball cap that proudly boasts the value.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock illustration of an astronaut used in this design.

 

#3 Swag for Slack

Slack is another company with strong internal values that don’t always see the light of day. They focus on three keywords: diligence, curiosity, and empathy. Slack’s brand always portrays a fun and playful attitude—similar to Google—but with a little more youth and edginess due to their bright, saturated, and hip brand colors. We imagine that their swag should be playful and maybe even downright silly—like this bag.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the cat vector illustration used in this design.

 
There are so many possibilities when it comes to designing swag—especially when you have unlimited downloads from our library of royalty-free stock images. Try not to limit your designs to a simple logo. Think edgier, more fun, more creative. Whether the swag you’re designing is for your customers or your employees, the more unique the design, the more effective your swag will be in spreading your brand’s message and increasing awareness.

Ready to take your company’s swag to the next level? Explore our library of stock images, or check our Top 30 Favorite Label Vectors for Branding for more swag inspiration.

 

Start Designing

 

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Caroline MercurioGet Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

Stock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous

by Caroline Mercurio on February 10, 2017 No comments

Sometimes it’s hip to be “stock-y.” Music videos used to cost thousands of dollars and required high-tech hardware and editing programs. But now in the age of low-budget DIY creativity, YouTubers like Joe Penna—known as MysteryGuitarMan on his channel—can make engaging videos with just a few stock images and a talented hand in Adobe Photoshop, all without ever having to leave their homemade studio. Joe’s specialty is bringing the absurd to life with animation, special effects, and music.

Take a look at “Stock Photo-shop” and see for yourself:

 

 

Joe’s music video for “Believer” by the band Paper Lions features stock photos from GraphicStock, with Joe lip-syncing the lyrics. He even made sure the lighting on his face matched the lighting in the photo. The well-paced video over the infectious tune was uploaded on December 15th and has garnered over 300,000 views so far. The video was well-received by subscribers, who have been anticipating a new video from Joe since his previous upload two months prior.

We love seeing projects that our creative community makes—from fun music videos by YouTubers like Penna to exciting designs like last year’s Creative Rewards winner. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to provide high-quality stock content that fits any creator’s budget. The possibility are endless!

 

Discover Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioStock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous

The Future of Creativity: Top 10 Images Captured with Creative Tech

by Caroline Mercurio on January 27, 2017 1 comment

New software, new gear, new accessories—the creative tools at your disposal are always expanding. Whether it’s the ability to add hyper-realistic effects to an illustration or a camera that can capture crystal-clear pictures of the cosmos, we like to test the boundaries of what’s possible with our content. We rounded up 10 stock images from our library that each offer a unique and innovative perspective, driven by creative tech like drones and advanced editing programs, so that you can explore the possibilities of this futurist realm.

If you like testing limits or want to promote a sense of exploration and adventure, this content category really captures that vibe. Technology may be a part of our everyday lives, but it can also be used for extra-sensory storytelling—or enhancing how your audience experiences the world. Not everyone has access or ability to create media that involves high-tech gear or software, but the images below make it possible for anyone to break boundaries with their personal and professional projects.

Get a taste of the future of creativity with our top 10 images:

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
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Creative Tech Stock ImagesDownload this image

 
Developing a vision for a future project? Keep pushing your creative limits by surfacing more creative tech content—we add new stock images to our library all the time.

 

Discover More Innovative Imagery

 

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Caroline MercurioThe Future of Creativity: Top 10 Images Captured with Creative Tech

Color Theory 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Complementary Colors, RGB, and More

by Caroline Mercurio on January 13, 2017 5 comments

We don’t live in a black and white world. From Pantone to Pinterest, color theory impacts the way we see and feel the world around us. It can influence our purchasing decisions and affect our mood. It attracts the eye and it even tells us what to look at and what to ignore—which is why it’s important that anyone working with visual media and stock images learns to speak the language of color. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can even search by color in our GraphicStock library to find the perfect photos, vectors, and illustrations to complete your projects.

To get you started, we’ve drawn up a crash course in the basics of color theory. These essentials are important building blocks for any artistic endeavor, from graphic design to painting and photography.
 

The Basics of Color

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Long, long ago, Newton began studying color theory. His color wheel laid the groundwork for later generations of scholars, most of whom lived and worked in the 19th century. These scholars provided us with modern color theory, one tenet of which is the principal that there are primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors

Color Theory

Primary Colors are, in their most basic definition, the colors from which any other color can be created by mixing. Not everyone agrees on what colors are true primary—but we’ll discuss that later. In traditional painting, the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue (as seen in the color wheel above).

Secondary Colors are colors that result from mixing two primary colors, such as green (yellow + blue), purple (blue + red), and orange (red + yellow)

Tertiary Colors are colors that are obtained by mixing two secondary colors or a secondary color with a primary color. For example, if yellow is a primary color, and orange (the mixture of yellow and red) is a secondary color, yellow-orange would be a tertiary color. Tertiary colors are shown on the color wheel above in parentheses.
 

The Other 10 Million Colors

Obviously, we all know that there are more than 12 colors available to you for any given project. In fact, the human eye can see approximately 7-10 million colors. So how do we make up this massive difference? With hues, shades, tints, and tones.

Hue is almost the same as color, and the words can sometimes be used interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference in that hue generally refers only to those 12 basic colors from the color wheel. They are the twelve purest and brightest colors on the spectrum.

A shade is the mixture of a color with black.

A tint is the mixture of a color with white, also known as a pastel.

Tones (also called saturation) is achieved by mixing a color with both black and white (gray) to adjust the intensity of the color.
 

Additive and Subtractive Color

Now that you understand how colors are created, it’s time to fill you in on why people disagree on what colors are primary. It all comes down to how you are creating your colors, for what purpose, and with what medium. Are you working on a digital screen? With oil paints? For print? All of these things make a difference because how we see color is determined by one very elusive property: light.
 
CMYK
CMYK is a subtractive color model whose primaries are cyan, magenta, and yellow (the CMY in CMYK). In simple terms, that means that when all three primary colors are combined, the result is black (K). Removing one of the colors will result in red, green, or blue. Removal of all of the colors results in white. This is the most common color model used for printing—just think of your color printer ink cartridges.

Color Theory
 
RGB
The RGB color model is an additive color model whose primaries are red, green, and blue. An additive color model means that if you combine all three primary colors you get white instead of black. This works the same way light waves do, which is perfect for systems that emit light, such as electronics like monitors. Because of this, RGB is used for computers, phones, and other digital displays including web graphics.

Color Theory

The computer code for black on an RGB model would be B=0. Each primary is 255 (R=255 ; G=255 ; B=255) and all the colors in-between will have a corresponding code somewhere between those values. If you are looking to create a color on a web-based platform, many will only give you the option to use RGB values or a HEX code, so this system is hugely important for web designers in particular. It’s worth noting, however, that most computer and non-web-based systems will allow you to use either RGB or CMYK numbers to find the color you are looking for.

Note: color HEXcode is a letter and number value beginning with a # sign, which is used in HTML, CSS, SVG, and other computing applications to represent colors.
 
RYB
“But wait,” you say. “I thought the primary colors were red, yellow, and blue—not red, green, and blue or cyan, magenta, and yellow.”

RYB is still the oldest (some date it as early as the 16th century) and simplest color model and is the one taught in most fine arts institutions today. It is primarily used for painting but does not take light into account as much as the other models do.
 

Colors in Action

Creating Color Schemes

Now that you know the basics of color theory, we can get down to the nitty-gritty of actually applying everything you’ve learned. What makes some color combinations “clash” while other combinations work well together?

One—sometimes aggravating—exercise many art students are forced to undertake in color theory classes is to place the same color next to two other colors in order to make the original color appear different in each instance. In the example below, the blue tile in the middle of each larger square is the same exact color. It only looks different in comparison because the colors surrounding it have changed.

Color Theory

The way we perceive color is directly related to the way it reacts to its environment. The color doesn’t change, but our perception of it does. Some of this is intuitive, particularly when it comes to contrast—you wouldn’t put a dark green text on a black background because you wouldn’t be able to see anything! You intuitively know that contrast makes foreground items more visible. Whether or not you should use orange and green on the same web page is a trickier problem. Luckily, there are several different models for approaching color schemes to help you out.

 
Monochromatic Color Schemes are color schemes which use only one hue, such as blue, and individual shades, tones, and tints are used for contrast.

Color TheoryDownload this peaceful winter landscape.

 
Analogous Color Schemes use colors that are next to one another on the color wheel, such as blue, blue-green, and green.

Color Theory

Download this flatlay of asparagus and salt.

 
Triadic Color Schemes use colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel, such as green, purple, and orange.

Color TheoryDownload this whimsical orange lantern.

 
Complementary Color Schemes are color schemes which use colors on opposite sides of the color wheel, such as red and green.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of a Chinese red rose blossom.

 
Split Complementary Color Schemes are a variation of the complementary color scheme. It uses one base color and the two colors next to that color’s complement (the color directly opposite it on the color wheel). For example, since yellow’s complement is violet, it’s split complementaries would be blue-violet and red-violet.

Color TheoryDownload this vintage-style photo of a yellow rose bush

 
These are not the only color schemes, but they are the most basic and popular. Play with colors within each scheme (and outside of them) to learn for yourself how colors interact!
 

Color and Emotion

There’s a reason spa’s are usually decorated in shades of pale blue, sage, lavender, and white. And there is a reason that the Russian Constructivists creating state posters and propaganda chose red and black for their media and posters. Color is emotional. You can create a basic ad, but the colors you choose will impact the message your audience receives as much as the text and design do.

This can seem intimidating, but it’s actually great! It’s a powerful weapon in your arsenal—which is exactly why you need to understand some basics about color psychology. Color and emotion is a very complex subject, but in general:

Cool colors like blue, lavender, and teal are associated with feelings of tranquility and loyalty. They make viewers feel secure, trusting, and peaceful. They are (usually) not flashy colors, and so they convey a sense of sophistication and elegance. Tints of blue are also often associated with young boys. Negatively, these shades can also be used to convey coldness and fear.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of a blue sailboat on a clear day.

 
Red is usually the most saturated and dominant color on the spectrum. Because it always stands out, it’s associated with very strong feelings and always relays a sense of confidence. Red is the color of love and passion, but also of power, desire, and fire. Red is also associated with speed—there is a reason red cars are rumored to get pulled over more frequently than cars of other colors.

Conversely, red can convey danger, warning, and anger. It’s softer cousin, pink, is symbolic of love and femininity. Pink is a sensitive, romantic color that can also come across as saccharine and childish. It almost goes without saying that pink is generally associated with women and young girls.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of pink and red tulips.

 
Orange, like red, is associated with motivation, strength, and courage, but also has a reputation as friendly, cheerful color. Be wary, however, as it can come off as cheap. If you work in the restaurant biz, it’s good to know that orange is thought to stimulate the appetite (as does placing it’s primary colors—red and yellow—side by side. You’ll see this at play in the color schemes for many fast food chains).

Color TheoryDownload this abstract landscape photo of a tree growing before a mountain.

 
Yellow is the color of joy, sunshine, and optimism. It is the easiest color to see, and always stands out—but its brightness can make it difficult to see clearly against many background colors, and like orange, it can seem cheap. Yellow can also make viewers feel anxious because of its overwhelming brightness.

Color TheoryDownload this vintage yellow concrete wall background.

 
Jewel Tones such as deep blue, purple, green, and garnet have a feeling of luxury and wealth. This may be ingrained in our psychology because of these color’s histories. Deep red and blue were among the most expensive pigments artists could purchase, and so were reserved for the most luxurious and ornate paintings, often alongside gold leaf. Purple, another outrageously expensive pigment in earlier times, was a color only the richest could afford to wear and was even reserved for royalty under Elizabeth I.

Color TheoryDownload this lavender flowers background.

 
Green and Brown are shades closely identified with nature and the outdoors. They remind us of the environment, longevity, fertility, new life, peace, and of the warmer seasons. Green can also be associated with money and wealth, along with all of money’s negative connotations—envy, jealousy, and greed.

Color TheoryDownload this red-eye frog in nature.

 
Finally, shades of Gray range from the luxurious, high-tech platinum to the solid reliability (or conservative gloominess) of charcoal. Black, the eternal classic, can exude classic elegance and formality, or can be the dark harbinger of mystery and death. Pure white imparts a feeling of cleanliness and purity, but can also come off sterile and cold.

Color TheoryDownload this serene photo of an iceberg reflected under a grey sky.

 
Finally, when you are thinking about your color schemes, consider where your creation will be displayed—for example, Facebook is predominantly blue. If you want to get noticed, you need to ask yourself which colors will pop against your intended backdrop.

 
The meanings of colors can vary widely based on the perception of each individual viewer. You aren’t a mind reader, but you can manipulate these colors according to your needs by thinking carefully about how you will combine colors to create a color palette that will appeal to your ideal audience. If you wanted to attract a high-end clientele for a jewelry business, you would probably consider palettes consisting of precious metals, jewel tones, or soft blues and whites (a la Tiffany & Co). If you were designing a movie poster for a film about vigilante justice and war—think V for Vendetta or Gladiator—the same color scheme would be completely out of place.
 

A Few Notes in Closing

Now that you’re fully briefed on the basics of color theory and color psychology, experiment to find the color palettes that work best for you! A few more takeaways to remember:

  • Trust your instincts—you intuitively know more of this than you may realize.
  • Keep consistency of color throughout your design, be it a poster, home color scheme or a multi-page site. If each room or page is in a totally different color palette, it can create an inharmonious experience and confuse people as to your personal brand.
  • Explore free web-based color tools, such as Adobe Color and Illustrator Color Guide. These programs have preset color palettes and can be a good place to start.
  • Always test colors on your audience, and on the platforms you use most. See what works well and what doesn’t.
  • Once you’ve established your color palette, save time and money by finding royalty-free graphics, photos, and vectors that fit your scheme. With Graphicstock, you can search by any color for completely customized results.

 

Discover a World of Color

 

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Caroline MercurioColor Theory 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Complementary Colors, RGB, and More

20 Most Inspiring Stock Photos for 2017: Make Something Beautiful in the New Year

by Caroline Mercurio on December 20, 2016 No comments

The new year is traditionally a time for resolutions—a time when we reflect and look towards the future for inspiration. In the spirit of the season, we’ve gathered our 20 most beautiful and inspiring stock photos from around the world to lift your hopes and revive your mind as we journey into 2017. So whether you need a break from the daily grind or you’re seeking an uplifting image for your screensaver, check out these beautiful photos from our library.

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Bridge Between Mountains Stock Photo

 
19.
Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Poppy Field at Sunset Stock Photo

 
18.
Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Traveler Leading Camels Stock Photo

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Autumn Field in the Morning Stock Photo

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Wooden Boats on a Canal Stock Photo

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of the Baltic Sea at Sunset

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Bridge in the Botanical Garden in Tbilisi

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of Children Running Through a Meadow at Sunset

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Buddha with Cherry Blossoms

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Alps Mountain Peak Stock Photo

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of Snow Monkey’s Bathing in a Hot Spring

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Rural Landscape

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Lake Shore at Sunset

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of the Itsukushima Shrine

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Tree Silhouetted in Fog

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of Swans Swimming in a Lake

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of an Iceberg Reflected in Calm Waters

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of Fog in the Forest

 
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Inspiring Stock PhotosDownload this Stock Photo of a Hot Air Balloon Over Myanmar

 
Download all 20 and more from our library. With a GraphicStock membership, you get access to thousands of royalty-free stock photos, vectors, and illustrations–all with unlimited downloads. What will you create?

 

Get Inspired for 2017

 

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Caroline Mercurio20 Most Inspiring Stock Photos for 2017: Make Something Beautiful in the New Year

25 Stock Winter Landscapes: The Snowy Nature Photos We Can’t Get Enough Of

by Maddie Stearn on December 13, 2016 No comments

As the weather gets chillier, we’re embracing one of our favorite parts of winter: beautiful, snowy stock photos. Luckily, we can enjoy the scenery from the warmth of the indoors (all while wearing our delightfully ugly holiday sweaters). We invite you to take a look at some of our most popular wintry landscapes, selected from our highest rated and most downloaded images. Go ahead, sip your hot beverage of choice and explore this hand-curated gallery.

 

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To complete your project, check out our galleries of royalty-free stock photos and more stock winter landscapes. You can download all of these photos and more as part of your GraphicStock subscription. Once you’re done, go ahead and share your completed work with us in the comments!

 

Explore a Winter Wonderland

 

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Maddie Stearn25 Stock Winter Landscapes: The Snowy Nature Photos We Can’t Get Enough Of

20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

by Caroline Mercurio on December 7, 2016 No comments

In advertising, you need to lead first with visuals to grab your audience’s attention. Yet not every creative team has a photographer on call with an unlimited travel budget to supply a steady stream of fresh and innovative images. Instead, the majority of marketers and designers turn to stock photographs for high quality content.

Unfortunately, some of these photos can seem “stocky”—too posed, too cliched, and too unreal—for consumers to truly connect with the message. That’s why we’ve picked 20 of our favorite photos to “un-stock” your advertising, as well as explaining the four best types of photos to look for when picking fresh visual content for your advertising.

 

Authentic Portraits

Day in and day out, customers are bombarded with photographs of retouched models in highly-posed situations. Advertising that uses images of everyday people in realistic contexts can connect with audiences at a human level, resonating with consumers’ desire for authenticity.

Portraiture with subjects who develop strong and honest rapports with the camera evoke a sense of believability and earnesty. Direct and emotive gazes without false smiles are crucial for these types of advertising portraits.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of an elderly man at work.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a happy boy laughing.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a woman and her husband.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a young woman working out.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a pedestrian in the city.

 

Street Photography

The city is in the zeitgeist. Because we live in a constantly connected, digital world, metropolitan imagery has begun to resonate more and more with audiences, regardless of where ever they actually are.

Aesthetically, street photography appeals to viewers because of the wide array of textures and diversity of subjects it offers, as well as the frequent contrasts between structured, urban environments and their human inhabitants.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this street photograph of people in a crowd.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of graffiti on the metro.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of a young skateboarder in the city.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photography of a tourist photographing a Vatican street.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of people on a busy street.

 

Flat Lay

Although seemingly more posed and polished than many of the visual trends we’ve highlighted, flat lay photography is having a moment. The style has it’s own kind of authenticity—the illusion of two dimensional space and the style’s fusion of geometric layouts with organic shapes appeals to an innate desire for simplicity and order.

Flat lay is especially popular for food advertising, but the aesthetic lends itself to any number of objects, from tools to plastic packaging. Using flat lay photos like these will keep your advertising fresh and on trend.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay laptop photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay fresh fruits in a cone photograph.

 
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Download this pills on a plate flat lay medical photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this ice cream packaging bags flat lay photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay tools photograph.

 

Quirky Subjects

A sense of humor, especially one that’s just slightly off-beat and not overly cliched, can really help cut through the noise in today’s oversaturated advertising landscape. Fun, quirky subjects with visually striking compositions do this by connecting with audiences through one of the most basic languages there is—humor.

To capture this trend, focus on images that feature off-center composition, bright or contrasting colors, and subjects that are just slightly weird or odd without being completely unrelatable. Think of a Wes Anderson film, but for advertising.

 
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Download this quirky photograph of a business person exercising.

 
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Download this quirky photograph of a grumpy middle aged woman with hair rollers.

 
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Download this quirky photograph of a senior cook.

 
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Download this quirky photograph of a thinking student in a cap.

 
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Download this quirky photograph of a man with a red nose.

 
Ready to start creating? Download all 20 photos and more—or, if you’re looking for even more inspiration, take a look at our guide to the Hottest Design Trends of 2016.

 

Un-stock Your Ads

 

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Caroline Mercurio20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

50 Perfect Stock Photos For All Your Social Media Images

by Caroline Mercurio on December 2, 2016 No comments

Imagery is your most powerful tool on social media. Whether you are new to social branding or a seasoned Instagrammer, stock photos can help establish your online identity. On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or any other channel, engaging graphics appeal to your audience and increase engagement—which means more clicks, shares, favorites, and—ultimately—sales. In short, better social images mean better business.

But how do you create compelling images efficiently? To make sure you won’t get slapped with a copyright violation or end up with a low-quality graphic, the answer is simple: use stock graphics. It’s something professional graphic designers have been doing for ages.

To make it easy for you, we’ve curated 50 fan-favorite photos for social media designs. Take a look at our top 10 and then click the button at the bottom of the post to download the entire collection!

 
1. Backgrounds
Sometimes you want an image to speak for itself—but other times you need an eye-catching background for your message. That’s where photos like this come into play.

Stock PhotosDownload this Mosaic Background stock photo

 
2. Landscapes
Can you even look at this without feeling a sense of calm? From gorgeous seascapes to snowy mountaintops and everything in between, landscapes are perfect for any number of social media projects.

Stock PhotosDownload this Vintage Apple Orchard stock photo

 
3. Travel
Anyone up for a little #TravelTuesday? Help your readers escape their desk for a few minutes and travel the world with stunning photos of monuments around the world.

Stock PhotosDownload this Statue of Liberty stock photo

 
4. Business
We all have to make a living somehow, so it makes sense that stock photos depicting common business themes are popular on social media. Besides, who wouldn’t want their desk space to look this zen?

Stock PhotosDownload this Laptop stock photo

 
5. Fitness
Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry—it’s no wonder that photos inspiring us to hit the weights make up a huge number of the images we see online every day (#fitspo). Stand out from the pack with visually interesting shots that look beyond the abs.

Stock PhotosDownload this Kettle Ball Workout stock photo

 
6. R&R
In this day and age, we all need to stop and catch our breath sometimes. Steal a few minutes of zen with calm-inducing photos like this one.

Stock PhotosDownload this Hot Stone Treatment stock photo

 
7. Flower Power
What is it about close-ups of flowers? The compositions are eye-catching and incredibly beautiful. So go ahead—stop and smell the roses.

Stock PhotosDownload this Monarch Butterfly and Flower stock photo

 
8. Holidays & Celebrations
Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, or any of the hundreds of other holidays people around the world celebrate each year, these popular photographs take full advantage of the season.

Stock PhotosDownload this Holiday Beverage stock photo

 
9. Cute & Cuddly
It’s just a fact—cat’s rule the Internet. But don’t forget about dogs, and owls, and alpacas. Yes, we said alpacas. They’re really cute, okay? Give your audiences something they’ll love with these heartwarming images.

stock photosDownload this Cat in Sunglasses stock photo

 
10. Food
There’s a reason that Instagram food blogging is a thing. We’re obsessed with food. It can be anything—even brussels sprouts. If it’s well plated and lit perfectly, we want to eat it, and show it to our friends so that they can fantasize about eating it too.

Stock PhotosDownload this Cherries on a Wooden Background stock photo

There is no end to what you can create and share with our top 50 stock images for social. If you are looking for a little more guidance on formatting your social images, check out our post on Facebook Image Sizing.

Feeling inspired? You can download the entire curated collection as part of your GraphicStock subscription.

 

Explore our Top 50 Social Images

 

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Caroline Mercurio50 Perfect Stock Photos For All Your Social Media Images