7 Simple Ways to Make Stock Photos Look Unique

You can find a whole world of beautiful free stock images on the web these days on sites like Pexels and Pixabay , but sometimes you see the same photographs popping up all over the internet.

Here are seven simple ways you can transform stock photos into something that is uniquely yours.

1. Add an overlay

A texture over the top of the photo will make it look hand crafted.

2. Add blur

Blurring a photo makes any text you put on it stand out. You can even blur it so much that it turns into an abstract background of colours rather than a recognisable image.

3. Transform into black and white

Colour photos look entirely different in black and white. Alternatively, you can saturate the colour to give the image a brighter, eye-catching look.

4. Zoom & crop

Most stock photos are available in high-resolution. Choose the largest file available, zoom in on an element and crop in close.

5. Change colour

Experiment with changing a warm image into a cooler one. The possibilities are endless.

6. Add a filter

Apply one of the many built-in filters available with different photo editing programs.

7. Combine images

Transform an image by adding a second photo over the top.

combine images

Bonus trick

8. Flip horizontally

Simply flipping a photo can make it look unique.

What are your tips and tricks for customising stock photos and making them uniquely yours?

customise stock images twitter


Does the thought of creating online images make you break out in hives? I can help with that. 

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About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

34 thoughts on “7 Simple Ways to Make Stock Photos Look Unique

    1. I use Photoshop Elements which is a little simpler, but I must confess I learnt on the full version many many years ago which probably makes it easier.

      I do like Photoscape as an alternative though. It is an easy to understand program with loads of features. Oh, and did I mention it’s free.

  1. Great ideas! I use Pixabay a lot and I would not have ever thought of doing this. But, of course you can…why didn’t I think of it? Lol Thanks!

    1. You probably have heaps of ideas about things that would never occur to me. That’s the beauty of the internet — a gigantic brain we can all share 🙂

  2. I had been using Canva, then ran into some problems, as well as getting an email reprimanding me for cropping images. So I’ve been relying on my own pix, but I will give the ones you mention a try.

  3. Thanks for these great tips Katie. Your images are incredible! You’re one very talented lady!

    1. Thanks Julie, but the images in this post aren’t my own, they are all stock images freely available on the web.
      I’m still talented though . . . 😉

      Oh, I did edit them, if that’s what you meant.

  4. Thanks for these tips. I use mostly stock photos on my site. I just learned about Pixaby this week. I will definitely check the others out! Thank you again for sharing some knowledge!

  5. This is so damn useful, thank you. I am ashamed to admit that I have a Photoshop CC membership and PSE 13, but never use them as I am quite intimidated by them. Instead, I have become quite addicted to Pic Monkey which I use all the time and is suitable for my purposes. One day I will learn the other software.

  6. Useful post, Katie. I use my own photo’s where possible, but do use stock photo’s when nothing of my own fits. The first stock photo I ever used is a much duplicated one (something I didn’t realise at the time. It was because of this that I began altering stock images before using them on my blog.

    I was already familiar with some of the ideas you’ve mentioned above, from my own experiments on pic monkey. I’m grateful for those that I’d not thought of. Thanks! Also, I’d not heard of pexels, so thanks for that too. Off to check it out now 🙂

  7. These are great ideas. Thank you for sharing. I am looking to find free stock photos and your post and all the comments are very helpful.

  8. Great tips, I use both Pexels and Pixabay and have seen a picture I have used the same day I used it in a post. So now I will change the pic a little using some of your tips…I wasn’t sure if we could do that or not. Thanks!

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