Using Stock Photography to Promote your Artwork

I love using stock photos to mock-up my art prints. It’s one of my favorite time saving hacks. When the right images are used, it can make your work look so professional.

When choosing stock photos, here are a couple things I keep in mind:

  1. Look for stock images with personal touches. I love choosing images with flowers, unique picture frames, coffee cups, or other interesting props. This helps the photos feel less “stock-like,” and more curated.

  2. Look for bright, airy images. This is how I make sure all my images are cohesive. The more white space, the better.

  3. Make sure the size of the frame or paper fits the artwork you are mocking up. You can adjust the dimensions in photoshop, but this will be tough if the sizes are too different.

  4. Make sure images look realistic and not rendered. A lot of stock images are created digitally. Real, imperfect photos are your friend! You want people to believe you actually took the picture.


So once you’ve chosen your stock images, how do you apply your artwork to them?

Step 1: Open the stock image in Photoshop.

Step 2: Go to File>Place Embedded, and place your artwork in.

Step 3: Double click on your artwork layer. and select multiply.

Step 5: Make any necessary adjustments to the image - brightness, vibrancy, tone, etc.

Step 6: Resize your artwork to fit the photo, and export out the final image.


When and where should you use stock images?

  1. Etsy Shop: I have one image I use for all of my Etsy listings. This helps my shop to look clean and cohesive. It also saves me so much time not having to individually photograph each print. If using a stock image for this purpose, just make sure you choose an image that is super simple, without too many props.. I also love using stock photos for my shop banner. These can be more glitzy with unique props.

  2. Social Media: I take a lot of Instagram photos myself. However, I do find that a stock photo here and there adds some professionalism to my feed. It creates a nice balance. I do make sure to never put two stock photos side by side. I mostly use stock images to promote products - such as art prints, post cards, or books.

  3. Website: Since stock images look very professional and are the highest quality, they are perfect to display on a large scale. I mainly use stock photos for headers and banners. I tend to display the images I’ve taken on a smaller scale


Here are some examples of how I’ve used stock photography to promote my work:

Boulangerie Mockup.jpg
Carbide and Carbon_Framed.jpg
Framed Black and White Patterns_Instagram_2.jpg

My favorite resources for purchasing stock photography are Creative Market and Adobe Stock. Both are affordable and have a really nice selection.


Additionally I have some stock images I created for artists in my creative market shop. Below are a few examples of the images I sell in my shop. These are perfect for Etsy listings.

8x10 Mockups_Washi Tape_Sample Print Image.jpg
Overhead_Coffee and Sunglasses_Mockup_Flamingos.jpg
Vertical_Mockup.jpg