Recently, I made a few signs for one of The UPS Stores to advertise some of the services they offered and I had quite a bit of fun with it. It was a fairly simple set up with a similar design aesthetic, but I wanted to be able to use photos to help emphasize what they offered. Here are a few examples mocked up for presentation:
Doesn't look too bad, right? And the photos really help pop and tie the design together.
The issue with using photos for this kind of thing is that you have to be able to prove you have the rights to these images or use royalty-free ones. I often will use royalty-free since I want to keep my cost as minimal as possible.
In fact, recently Snappa made a list of amazing sites with stock photos that are mostly free:
BACK TO WHAT I WAS SAYING...
Sometimes these are incredibly high quality pictures, but sometimes they are not.
I've seen so many designs ruined by poorly edited photos.
The first I'll show you was from The UPS Store's standard stock images that can be used from store to store. It was a really good image, but the focal point is muddled. After a couple of minutes playing with some adjustment layers, you get this:
The same goes for the second image. It's a great photograph, but the colors are awful for what we need.
Both of these edited photos only took about 10 minutes to do and made the design of the signs work so much better. There are plenty of places online to find tutorials if you don't know what you're doing, but it's 100% worth the time and effort to learn.