How to Make Stock Images Stand Out with Canva

Are you a content creator, blogger, or social media enthusiast looking to make your visuals pop and stand out from the crowd? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of transforming stock images into unique creations using Canva‘s user-friendly creative tools. Whether you’re a newbie or just looking to up your image game, we’ve got you covered.

Why Use Stock Images and the Need for Customization

Before diving into the customization process, let’s understand the importance of using stock images and why giving them a personal touch matters.

For busy content creators, stock images serve as a time-saving solution for incorporating visuals into articles, blog posts, or social media content.

However, the challenge arises when these stock images have been widely used, making it crucial to customize them to stand out and improve your chances of ranking on platforms like Google.

Tips for Picking the Right Stock Image to Customize

  1. Relevance to Content: Choose stock images that align with the theme and message of your content. This ensures that the customization efforts will seamlessly integrate with your overall narrative.
  2. High Resolution and Quality: Opt for images with high resolution and quality to maintain clarity throughout the customization process. Numerous free stock photo sites are available, making it budget-friendly for Canva users.

The Canva Customization Process

Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of making your stock images shine using Canva.

1. Start with a High-Resolution Image

Begin with a high-resolution and sizable stock image to maintain quality during the customization process. Free stock photo sites are a great resource for finding suitable images for Canva.

2. Utilize Canva’s Photo Editor

Canva’s user-friendly photo editor provides a range of tools for customization. Adjust lighting settings, experiment with color tones using the “Hue” tab, and enhance the texture of the image to create a unique look.

3. Add Custom Elements for Personalization

Enhance the uniqueness of your image by incorporating custom elements such as logos, graphics, or overlays. Aim to cover at least 25% of the original image to ensure Google recognizes it as distinct.

4. Integrate Text for Information and Originality

Adding relevant text, such as captions, quotes, or branding, not only conveys information but also contributes to the image’s originality.

Ensure the text is framed naturally within the image to avoid confusion with watermarks.

5. Use Canva’s Magic Eraser for Precision

Leverage Canva’s Magic Eraser tool to remove small details, refining the image’s appearance. This helps eliminate distractions, creating a cleaner and more focused image that captures attention.

Beyond Canva: Additional Editing Tools

While Canva is a powerful tool, exploring additional editing tools can add versatility to your customization process. Tools like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP offer advanced features for those seeking more intricate edits.

Taking Your Visual Branding Further

Creating visually consistent custom images across your brand or publication is crucial for brand recognition. Consider the following tips:

  1. Establish a Style Guide: Define a set of visual elements, color schemes, and fonts that align with your brand. This ensures a cohesive look across all your custom images.
  2. Use Templates: Canva offers a variety of templates for different platforms. Utilize these templates to maintain a consistent style throughout your visuals.
  3. Maintain Consistent Branding Elements: Incorporate logos, color schemes, and graphic elements consistently across all your visuals to strengthen your brand identity.

How to customize stock videos or animated GIFs in Canva

Here are some tips for customizing stock videos or animated GIFs in Canva:

  • Upload your own video or GIF – You can upload your own video files or animated GIFs to use in your Canva designs. This allows you to have full customization over the visuals.
  • Edit colors – If using a stock video or GIF from Canva’s library, you can edit the colors to match your brand or design. Click on the video/GIF and use the color filter option to change the hue, saturation, brightness etc.
  • Crop the length – You can trim stock videos in Canva to only use a portion of the clip that is relevant. Use the editing timeline at the bottom to set start and end points.
  • Add overlays & text – Customize stock visuals by adding your own graphics, logos, images or text on top. Use the overlay tools to layer other design elements.
  • Change layout/position – Drag and drop videos or GIFs into different locations and sizes on your canvas. Right click to bring up positioning options.
  • Use transparency – Lower the opacity on stock visuals to make them feel more integrated into your overall design. This can help customized the look.
  • Enhance/edit – Use options like “Enhance” and “Effects” to adjust things like contrast, brightness and blur. Apply stylized filters for a unique look.
  • Be selective – Browse Canva’s library thoroughly and pick visuals that already align closely with your design needs and brand style.

The key is to not just use a stock video as is. With a little customization like this, you can transform stock visuals into something much more unique!


Congratulations! You’ve now mastered the art of transforming stock images into unique creations using Canva. By following these simple steps and incorporating additional tips for visual consistency, you’re well on your way to creating standout visuals that resonate with your audience. Keep experimenting, stay creative, and watch your content shine!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I use stock images for my content?

Stock images are a valuable resource for content creators, especially those generating numerous articles or posts monthly. They save time and effort compared to creating custom visuals for every piece of content. Incorporating images, such as product shots, featured images, or infographics, enhances the overall appeal and share ability of your digital assets.

2. Is there an issue with using stock images as they are?

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using stock images, the challenge arises when they’ve been widely used in their original form. This reduces the chances of your content ranking on platforms like Google because your article won’t be considered the original source. Customizing stock images using tools like Canva is essential to make them stand out and increase your ranking potential.

3. How do I customize stock images using Canva?

Customizing stock images with Canva is a straightforward process:

  • Start with a High-Resolution Image: Choose a high-resolution stock image to maintain quality during customization.
  • Utilize Canva Photo Editor: Adjust lighting, color, and texture using Canva’s user-friendly photo editor.
  • Add Custom Elements: Incorporate logos, graphics, or overlays to make the image unique.
  • Integrate Text: Include relevant text, captions, quotes, or branding to enhance originality.
  • Use Canva Magic Eraser: Remove small details with Canva’s Magic Eraser for a refined appearance.

4. How can I ensure Google recognizes my customized image as unique?

Google recognizes images as unique based on various factors. To increase the chances:

  • Start with High Resolution: Always begin with a high-resolution image to maintain quality.
  • Add Custom Elements: Incorporate unique logos, graphics, or overlays, covering at least 25% of the original image.
  • Integrate Text Naturally: Frame text as title text or captions in a natural way to avoid confusion with watermarks.
  • Use Canva Magic Eraser: Eliminate distracting details for a cleaner, focused image.

5. Can I use other tools besides Canva for image customization?

Certainly! While Canva is an excellent tool, you can explore additional editing tools like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP for more advanced features. These tools provide greater flexibility for intricate edits and diverse customization options.

6. How can I create visually consistent custom images for my brand or publication?

Maintaining visual consistency across your brand or publication is crucial. Here’s how:

  • Establish a Style Guide: Define visual elements, color schemes, and fonts for a cohesive look.
  • Use Templates: Canva offers templates for different platforms; utilize them for a consistent style.
  • Incorporate Branding Elements: Include logos, color schemes, and graphics consistently to strengthen brand identity.

7. Is there a minimum requirement for adding custom elements to an image?

While there’s no set minimum, aim to cover at least 25% of the original image with custom elements. This ensures Google categorizes the image as unique and distinct from its original form.

8. What is Canva’s Magic Eraser, and how does it work?

Canva’s Magic Eraser is a tool that allows you to remove small details from an image, refining its appearance. By eliminating distracting or irrelevant elements, you can achieve a cleaner, more focused image. Use this tool to enhance the uniqueness of your customized images.

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Last modified: January 11, 2024

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