6 Tips for Picking Photos That Go Well with Text + 17 Free Ones!

In previous articles, we’ve covered how to shoot video backgrounds that will go well with text on screen, and today we’re looking at what makes a good photo background for a graphic design. You can follow these guidelines to take better photos yourself for ads or know what to look for when searching stock imagery services. And feel free to grab any of the Adobe Spark Post designs (just click or tap to edit) or images in this article to jumpstart your design process.

Go for Minimalism

Minimalism is definitely having a moment on Instagram these days. Minimalist designs give you lots of room to place type in various areas.



A colorful background like this photo from Dimitri Popov on Unsplash will light up your feed.

Or go for clean and light with this succulent picture by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

Look for Open Space

Busy backgrounds make the design process a bit trickier. While not impossible to work with, especially given the colored backgrounds you can combine with images, but a good rule of thumb is to choose photos with lots of empty space and use the least busy part of your image to place your message, like the designs below do.



Add Shapes for Readability

Shapes can help you work with busy backgrounds or make your text stand out more. Adjust the opacity to hint at the photo beneath.



Use the Photo’s Focal Point to Guide Design

The best designs show text and imagery working together. Instead of just slapping words on a photo, create depth and intrigue by having the text interact with your background in some way. You might do this by lining up the focal point of the image with a word you want to visually punctuate.

Color is another way to create a relationship between text and imagery. Spark Post suggests color palettes based on the colors of the photo, so you don’t need to have a degree in color science to land on a good combo. (Although, following a few color principles helps.) Cycle through the options by tapping a palette until you land on a color combination you like.


The lines of the text on this design mirror that of the big cliff in the foreground, which helps create continuity. Further the font used supports the message in tone and feel.


This design not only uses a complementary color, but the alignment of the text with the architecture in the photo helps create a relationship between type and photo.

Embrace Abstract Imagery

Abstract imagery can help make the text the focal point of your design, since faces tend to dominate an image. And abstract designs or imagery work beautifully as text cutouts to create texture.

via Superfamous

via Superfamous


Use People to Evoke Emotion

While abstract imagery and solid background colors can be great for making text pop, studies show people are most drawn to images that feature human faces. Using smiling faces in your advertisements and on your website can also increase trust and, likely, conversions. The following people-focused imagery is ready for your message:

Via Gratisography

Via Gratisography



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