How I Choose Stock Photos

Choosing the perfect photo for a blog post is harder than it looks.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

It Doesn’t Have to be Literal

One of the reasons that finding a stock photo used to be so hard for me is that I always tried to find a literal representation of what I had written about. If it was an article about running on trails, I’d look for someone running on trails. If it was an article about depression, I’d look for a picture of someone crying.

Avoid the Overused

Stock photos, especially free ones, often get used way too often. There are a few specific photos that I feel like I’ve seen a thousand times. I try to avoid using any photos that I already recognize.

Celebrate Diversity

Another consideration is whether the photos I use are reflecting the diversity of the world we live in. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of always using photos of people that look like yourself.

Finding Photos I Like

My final criteria is simply whether I like a photo or not. I don’t know much about photography or design, but I know my taste. If a photo jumps out at me, I trust my gut.

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more. Buy me a “coffee” at

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