How I fixed BORING stock images using JUST Canva

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  31/07/2022

Get my secret blogging tips and all of my templates for absolutely FREE with my email course and newsletter.

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. More information

In this video, I’ll share how I create cool blog images from stock photos in 3 simple and repeatable steps using just Canva.

It’s kind of a how to use Canva tutorial, but really geared towards people who want custom featured images for their blogs that stand out.

You can sign up for Canva here

Here are my filter settings in Canva:

  • For the background image: 64786464640064326400648c4600
  • For the subject: 64736464640064326e00648cc800

Using stock images for your blog is just so easy you can find an image on almost any topic out there even using free platforms, but the problem is everyone just uses the same ones.

Readers really didn’t scroll past the stock image because it made my site just look like a cheap $10 suit.

Let’s fix that and get from run-of-the-mill stock photos to custom images that let your blog really stand out.

Now i’m not constantly making these images myself and part of what makes it possible is having systems in place systems that make sure my blogging business can keep running without me having to do everything myself.

In fact part of the reason my business has grown so much is letting great people help me:

  • great writers
  • and also great video and image creators

People much better at their craft than I could ever be.

Together with Marilyn, a freelancer I’ve worked with for a long time on Upwork I’ve created a way to easily make a boring stock photo look great for our blogs in just a few repeatable steps.

I love working with both Upwork and Canva, they haven’t sponsored me yet but I am using affiliate links so if you sign up for a paid account you help the channel out as well so let’s look at how these steps work back at the computer.

Let’s create a little bit of a custom blog image from a stock photo:

The first thing I do is drag my stock photo right in here.

Drag a stock photo onto the Canva editor

I want in this case the skimboard and the skimboarder to be front and center.

To make it more on brand I’ll make them pop out even more and the first thing I’ll do is go here and then use the automatic focus feature.

Automatic focus feature in Canva

So this will blur out the rest except for the subject. Then I’ll use a custom filter, here are the standard filters and you can actually click a button here:

Canva adjustable filters

And you can add a filter code right over at the bottom which will give it a bit of a brand glow:

Canva applied filter code

So this is already a lot better than the picture was the focus of the image now really is on the subject, but in most cases we can do one extra step.

Let’s add the same picture again here and cut it a little bit so everything you want extra focus on is in the frame.

Cut the same picture down to the subject

And then click remove background. 9 out of 10 times or maybe 8 out of 10 times Canva will do a pretty good job of cutting out the image.

Canva remove background feature

Now we can layer that cutout exactly on top of the image background there, make sure it’s aligned perfectly.

Canva layer two images on top of eachother

And then add just a little bit of a different filter on there so it stands out even more.

Second filter on overlay

So this is how I make custom blog images where the subject stands out even more.

Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.