Content Marketing

Every Blogger Uses Free Stock Photos – Here’s What You Should Do To Stand Out

If you’re a blogger, you must be using free stock photos on your blog whether in the content or as featured images – even if you aren’t using any free stock photos now, you might have used in the past. In case, you’re an advocate of using paid stock photos, let me tell you that I have used paid stock photos of my clients for them. So the narrative I have in mind is pretty much the same for either type.

Hear me out.

My purpose isn’t to make you stop from using free or paid stock photos right away. Instead, I want to share my perspective on this. Let me clarify that I had been using free stock photos for a long time, then I saw those free stock photo on various blogs.

It was painful.

We strive to make unique, value-driven content for our readers.

Isn’t it funny that we completely ignore the fact that our featured images should also be unique?

Well, if you’re about to boast that you use paid stock photos, then let me remind you that there might be thousands of more paid users that are purchasing the same photos for their blogs, websites, or other stuff.

Here is what you need to do:

The solution is rather simple, but it would have more than one step involved – once you get the point, you won’t be worried about the process.

SOLUTION: Take Pictures!

Now you might freak out and say:

  • What?
  • How would I take pictures?
  • Where would I go to take pictures?
  • I don’t have a DSLR camera!
  • I don’t know how to do photography!
  • I haven’t taken pictures before!
  • I’m not a professional photographer!

Calm down.

Let me explain what I mean by “take pictures” and how you can pull this off.

My point of view is that if you rely on stock photos no matter free or paid, you’ll get to see those same pictures being used by others’ – I don’t know about you, but I won’t like that.


I started taking pictures a while ago, but Ryan has been doing this for quite some time. If you haven’t seen his blog BloggingFromParadise, you must check out and subscribe. Not only do these photos make his content more human-friendly, but they also empower the narrative of the blog post.

A lot of you might be scared of taking pictures because you think stock photos look professional – I think you’re underestimating your ability. Please don’t!

It does require creativity, though.

You may not get a good photo every time you pull over and grab your smartphone to take a picture. In case, you’re ready to know what to do, then I think I can share something with you.

free or paid stock photos

Here are a few simple things you should do:

1. Stop Panicking


Stop it.

It doesn’t help.

I know a lot of you might be worried that you don’t own a DSLR camera.

Screw the expensive, cheesy cameras.

Put out your phone and capture.

Use this app on Android or try out this app on iPhone.

There are many more apps that you could find just to edit your photos.

It’s a fact that the DSLR can take much better photos than a smartphone. I do take photos from my DSLR camera from time to time, but that doesn’t happen every day.

I don’t always carry my DSLR camera for the photo shoot; I randomly capture pictures with my smartphone. Whenever I have my DSLR camera on me, it just makes the game a whole lot better. It means you don’t need a photographer or a camera gear for taking pictures for your blog.

2. Start Taking Photos

Going to the garden center? Take photos.

Buying monthly grocery? Take photos.

Shopping with your bestie? Take photos.

Having dinner with friends? Take photos.

Barbecuing at home? Take photos.

Taking your dog for a walk? Take photos.

You can take random photos everywhere – don’t overthink if you take 39 crappy pictures and just 3 are perfect to use for the blog because it’s still a good deal.

The point is that you don’t have to hire a photographer or buy a DSLR camera or go on a special tour to take photos. Instead, you just have to remember to take photos. The rest will be fine.

3. Use the Software

Once you’ve taken the photos, the job isn’t done yet.

If you have the luxury of using the Adobe Photoshop, then it’s the best option to edit out your photos and make the blog featured images. In case, you don’t have this software, you can simply use Canva to start making your blog featured images.

The reason for using the software is that you often need to add some text or a design element or a watermark to the photo before using on the blog. So you need some sort of design software to make that happen.

It’s not necessary, though — a lot of bloggers don’t use any text or design element on their featured images. They prefer plain and simple photos. That’s fine with me.

Let’s Take a Look at Few Examples:

plants photo

I took this photograph at a plants’ nursery. I knew it that this photo has some expression of continuity and an ongoing work – so I thought right away that I’ll be using this picture as a reference of struggle, hustle, and hard work.

You could see the thumbnail that I designed using that picture. Every blog layout has a different requirement for featured images. Make sure you figure out the right one for yours.

Blog Photo

Secondly, take a look at this photograph that I took during the summer season. You can see the greenery and rainy weather in the picture. The purpose of capturing the road this way was to showcase the long road to depict the long-term mindset.

Rain day photo

As you can see the thumbnail designed using that picture has the blog post title related to the long term.

YouTubers Meetup in Faisalabad

Thirdly, I met with some local YouTubers at a meetup and I captured my fellow YouTuber who was taking the picture of flowers for his Instagram.

Pakistani youtubers meetup

Then I created this featured image from that picture.


The whole point of this blog post is to tell you that you don’t need to buy a $900 DSLR camera to start taking pictures for your blog. All you need is to make sure that you could take loads of pictures along the way no matter what.

Use your phone or point-and-shoot or DSLR. It doesn’t matter.

Arthur Ashe famously said, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

I shared what I have started doing for my blog. Not only do I save a lot of money, but I’m also standing out from the crowd.

What do you think about my strategy of taking photos for the blog to stand out?

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  1. Amazing Brother <3
    The way you have justify with words is amazing. I always look for a blog post that is easy to understand i-e simple English and fill with real-world example.
    And yeah I got it here on your blog.
    Keep posting and thanks for using a pic f mine in this blog post 😉

    1. Hello,

      Thank you so much for your comment. One of the fundamentals of communication is to make sure that the language is easy enough for the receiver to understand it. One of my teachers taught me that.

      I’m glad you noticed that. Thank you for reading the blog post and leaving your comment.

  2. Hi Hassaan,

    I love to use my own photos. I take them with my phone and it works well. Then I go over to Canva and write in something….usually the title of my blog and also put the name of my blog in small fonts.

    I find people like to share them more than they would a free stock photo. It is pretty easy to do because we take our phones everywhere don’t we? If we keep an eye out there are endless photos we can take. I take many of the beach because I live there, but I also find that some graffiti I find on walls can make a great picture…sometimes even a small portion with it.

    One of my biggest hits was when I took a picture of my feet on the dashboard of the car and labeled it. It is endless…..


    1. Hi Donna,

      I’m glad you take photos to use on your blog as well as social media.

      Doesn’t it help?

      It’s so great to find out that you do the same thing.

      I’ve seen your blog post images; they look amazing. I usually type in blog post title on the featured image.

      Anyways, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.

  3. Hi Hassaan,

    You’re very sensible blog post reminded me of the time I spent ages hunting on a free stock pictures site for exactly the right picture of a bath tap. Then I remembered I had a bath, I had a phone…. so I just took the picture that I wanted!

    Must get back into the habit of doing that.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    1. Hi Joy,

      I’m glad you can relate to this strategy.

      I think I feel more creative and satisfied that I don’t have to use the same image that hundreds of more bloggers are using.

      I’ll be so happy to see more of those photos in your content.

      All the best.

  4. Hi Hassan,

    You shared nice information here. Well, I use premium stock images from Shutterstock most times. Then I edit them myself in Photoshop and Canva according to my blog theme and color scheme it works pretty well for me as I don’t like the hassle of capturing your own photos and then getting them onto your system and then doing all the stuff and if I don’t like it then I have to repeat the process while in ShutterStock I can select most fitted images at first sight and approve it for the blog.

    Darleen Prangue

    1. Hi Darleen,

      I respect your opinion. I guess I don’t want to get into the terms and conditions of stock photo sites. I went through that process a year ago. It didn’t go well. I find taking photos and using them on the blog more relaxing.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

  5. A great Blog post. I think to edit Pictures Adobe Lightroom is the best app you can get on your Windows rather than Photoshop on Windows as well as your phone.

    1. Hello Bilal,

      I haven’t tested Lightroom yet, but I’ll try it out sometime.


  6. Great one really liked the way you explained a simple concept. Pleasure is not in big wins and expensive items. Every small step and smaller step matters. Ahmad

  7. Muhammad Ahmad says:

    At first, I thought this is just an ordinary blog post, like any blogger. But, the way you’ve used those pictures is amazing. Of course, using a DSLR is great, but a smartphone can be handy as well. loved and enjoyed reading your blog.

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