You can thank Gen Z for taking the noun “aesthetic” and turning it into an adjective. Although you might roll your eyes at every fuzzy, lofi E-girl mood-board you come across on Instagram, there’s still a serious case to be made about the importance of defining your own aesthetic for your WordPress blog, especially when it comes to pictures.
A great design is sometimes entirely reliant on how strong its pictures are. To put it simply, pictures can make or break your site. Too often when working with clients on their websites, I come across tons of mistakes that make the designer inside me cringe. Stuff like cheesy stock images, blurry images, images with messy text on top (bonus points if the text is in a font that’s completely different from the website). All together it culminates into a really sloppy design. SO, how can you avoid making these common photo mistakes? It starts at the beginning: where you find your pictures. And yes, they should be “aesthetic-y.”
Because the majority of good pictures on the Internet aren’t free, there are only a handful of resources available. A couple of my favorite are:
Canva / Pexels
These two sites are equally great for finding professional-looking photos that are completely free to use. Pretty much all the pictures you see in this post (and in demos for our WordPress themes) comes from these two sites. Canva has a slightly larger library than Pexels, but Pexels lets you search by HEX color code, which is great if you’re looking for images to match a specific color scheme. I usually like typing in “pink” and snatching up whatever I find.
What sets RawPixel apart is that it has lots of cute illustrations, as well royalty-free pictures. Although it’s heavy on cheesy stock photos, it has lots of “aesthetic” pictures as well. With a free account, you can download a handful of pics a day, which should be enough if you have a small website.
Although I don’t personally use this site, considering they have an entire aesthetic category, I figured they were worth a mention. They have tons of stunning pictures that would look great on any website — or mood board.
Tips to Remember
Although these sites all have a large library of high-quality images, they also have some pretty ugly ones, too. When using these sites, remember to stay away from cheesy stock photos and focus on pictures that look more natural.
Look at these two photos. The photo on the left is your typical cheesy stock image that involves a model smiling with all her teeth and striking a very “posey” pose. The picture on the right, however, is more natural, looks less staged, and looks more artistic thanks to the out-of-focus blur happening around the edges.
See? Finding aesthetic pictures doesn’t have to feel like some indulgent teen fad, nor does it have to make your site look like your abandoned Tumblr feed. With the right photos, you can take your site to the next level, and that’s what truly matters.