A guide to finding the right images for your company

It’s ridiculously easy to find images online. Pretty much anyone can do it, even your grandma. But finding the right images can be a whole lot harder. Hunting for exactly what you need–and not just the first vaguely relevant item you find–can lead to throwing away hours on a wild goose chase across the digital wilderness. To save yourself and your team time, rather than charging here, there, and everywhere in an often fruitless search, it can help to map out your route to great pictures first.

By mapping out the process, your aim is to save time for everyone on every search, not just one search at a time.

Step 1 - Deciding what the right picture looks like

This means coming up with a general idea of the tone and style your images should aim for. You can summarize the things required in a company style guide that makes it easier for everyone to follow your brand standards and create visuals consistent with company values. The style guide can include practical information such as color schemes and codes, image formats, and approved image sources. The right image should of course also be legal, so your guide can cover copyright issues and how to make sure people use legal images.


Step 2 - Defining what you need for each project

Now you’ve set the tone for your overall branding objectives you need to introduce ways for people to narrow their search for individual images and projects. For each image, there are four basic questions you should always ask before you start searching:

  • What channel(s) will it be published through? Social media, annual report, sales presentation, and so on.
  • What format will the content be? Blog post, newsletter, Facebook Ad, Instagram post and so on.
  • Who is the audience? Internal, external, B2B, B2C.
  • What’s the intended purpose of the content? What specific action do you want people to take after seeing the image - share, like, be inspired, make a purchase and so on.

Step 3 - Performing the search itself

Before you search, you can ask yourself, “do I really need to find a new image, or do I have something already I can use in my own collections?” Maybe you have an image you’ve purchased earlier that you can repurpose for the new project. This means knowing both where you can search for new images and how you can easily search your own storage for suitable pictures. To make this process easier, a DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform helps you to store, search, and retrieve your own photos in the same place as searching for new images to use. A DAM platform provides:

  • A proper organizational structure for storing all your image files in a logical hierarchy of thematic folders and collections, with relevant file names.
  • The ability to search your files with relevant keywords (you can generate keywords to use by following steps one and two) as well as source new images in the same way.
  • Track how images have been used by your teams and how popular different themes or styles are. This makes it easier to repurpose old images as well as search for more relevant content.
  • An image sourcing service you can trust. Images are quality controlled before being added to the platform, so you don’t have to wade through all the bad quality results like you do when searching on a search engine.
  • Copyright management. When you search using a search engine, almost all the results have no copyright permissions, meaning it’s illegal for you to download and reuse the image. A DAM system means all the images have been cleared for use before they’re uploaded, so you can be 100% confident that the pictures you find are safe to use.

Step 4 - For when searching isn’t enough

Sometimes, however much you search, you can’t quite seem to find the perfect picture. Or, you know that you need something totally unique. Hours searching on the Internet isn’t suddenly going to magic up an incredibly original picture,but, photo missions can. A DAM service doesn’t just offer stock photos, but lets you commission customized new images. By leveraging a crowdsourcing model, you can design a creative brief and let a community of photographers from around the world give you their best shot. Hey presto, you have a unique image just like that.        



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