Thinking about using stock photos to enhance your content marketing, but not sure how, or if they’re worth it, or where to find them? With the help of Haute Stock‘s Founder, Rachel Rouhana, I’m about to tell you everything you need to know.
Rachel is an online marketing expert, brand designer, self-taught photographer, immigrant, and mom of three adorable kiddos.
And she’s on a mission to empower women to achieve financial freedom through building their own brands. She believes that having access to the right visual content — imagery that’s high-quality, elevated, and strategic in attracting an ideal audience — will help business owners succeed in that.
Hey! I’m Rachel, an online marketing expert, brand designer, and self-taught photographer.
I’m the CEO of Haute Stock, a visual content membership for women entrepreneurs. We create stock images, stock videos, Canva templates, designer branding elements, and so many other visual assets to help women create memorable brands and build profitable businesses.
Back in early 2015, I was preparing a sales page for a course I was teaching about creating your own party printables business. I was searching high and low for beautiful stock photos that I could use on my sales page, but kept coming up short. I asked around in some Facebook groups and realized that there were very few resources for stylish, feminine stock photos.
Even with no photography skills, I decided I’d create the first styled stock library for women entrepreneurs. I taught myself how to use the camera, bought some cute props, dreamed up some workspace scenes, and started Haute Stock! I launched the library in March 2015, 10 days before my second son was born.
At first, the interest in creating beautiful stock media came from the complete lack of it in the industry at the time. Now there are lots more resources, both free and paid, for stylish imagery.
But almost 8 years in, I’m still so passionate about creating and providing our members with high-quality, sophisticated imagery — because our world is so visual, and there are so many places for business owners to show up online.
I want to make it easier for our members to continue to grow their businesses without having to worry about where to source visual content to make their work look more professional and appealing to their audience. Plus I just can’t resist a pretty stock photo!
The amount of work it takes to actually create high-quality stock photos or stock videos! It can take weeks of planning, sourcing, capturing, editing, and finalizing for collections of 25 images or videos to materialize.
We also work with female photographers and videographers from all over the world, which is a dream come true for me. I love that we can financially support other women in business and bring their creativity and unique perspective behind the lens to the Haute Stock library.
BTL Note: one of my favorite contributors is my friend Paige from Studio Bicyclette—I always use photos from her collections because they’re so damn good, every damn time.
Literally in so many ways! I’m honestly in the Haute Stock library every single day downloading content for us to create social media posts, Reels, TikToks, blog posts, YouTube videos, Pinterest posts, newsletter graphics, to update the website, etc. Unless I’m totally unplugged, there’s never a time I’m not using the library!
I believe that as a business owner you should have and use your own brand photos (of yourself, your workspace, your team, etc) to showcase who you are, but it’s not always feasible — time or finances-wise — to shoot enough of your own content to use consistently.
So that’s where Haute Stock comes in. We fill in the blanks and work hand-in-hand with your brand imagery to help you create your website, sales page, presentation slides, course workbooks, pricing guides, onboarding documents, social media posts, advertisements, and so much more!
I understand that it might feel a little weird at first to use imagery that wasn’t created specifically for your brand. But the thing is, it’s totally normal!
And if you’re choosing the right type of imagery — that resonates with your audience, with your brand keywords, and your color palette — then the visuals all work together seamlessly to create an immersive brand experience. Then the visuals are elevating your brand and helping you communicate your messaging!
Some key tips to keep in mind:
1) Choose imagery that attracts your audience — pick scenes that you know they’ll resonate with based on their interests, goals and desires.
2) Choose imagery in your color palette or that compliments your color palette — this is important, especially if you don’t want anything to feel off-brand. I also always recommend choosing a selection of neutral colored images for more variety.
3) Choose imagery that speaks to your brand values and keywords — if you’re a wellness brand, you shouldn’t be using imagery of corporate people in suits or bustling city scenes. You’ll want to incorporate nature, foliage, people stretching or writing in journals — photos that evoke feelings of calm, nurture, and balance.
4) Choose imagery with negative space — give your visuals some breathing room by using photos with negative space where you can add copy or calls to action.
We look at trends to see what’s happening in the fashion, interior, and design world and either source imagery from photographers based on that or create photoshoots to capture the style of imagery, colors and trends we’re seeing.
We also take feedback and suggestions, and survey our members to create more content that they’d like to see in the library.
Just do it! Don’t be afraid of stock images to help you create content faster and more cohesively. Choose your stock imagery wisely so that it feels like a natural extension of your brand and other creative assets you’re already using.
Your potential customers and clients are taking in all the visual cues from your business and assessing whether it speaks to them. So using imagery that features diverse people and situations other than yourself and your team actually helps you build a more welcoming brand that your ideal buyer can envision themselves being a part of and investing in.
We’re always innovating. As an entrepreneur, my wheels are constantly turning and I’m always thinking about our members’ needs in today’s digital age.
For example, we started offering stock video in early 2021 before it became really popular — the response from our members was huge and they loved having this resource so they could create graphics that stood out in their competitive market.
We also jumped on the Instagram Reels trend quickly by creating templates our members could easily customize because they were already synced to trending audio and just needed a few brand tweaks to post.
So I think being in that constant state of innovation, looking outside of our niche and at the bigger picture of marketing, helps us create content for Haute Stock members before it’s available elsewhere.
That changes every week with each new collection! But if I really had to choose, I’d narrow it down to these three: Content Creator for every day, En Vogue for elevated / sophisticated designs, and Champagne Disco for creating promotional graphics. I’m obsessed with those collections!
There are so many things! I’m really excited for the new digital products we’re working on (hint, hint!), introducing new photo & video collaborators, and other plans we have in store for Haute Stock in 2023!
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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