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Think you need fancy equipment, a studio and classes in Photoshop to produce beautiful, professional looking photos? Think again!

As a content creator, I’m always on the lookout for beautiful free stock images I can add to my blog, social media, and emails. Usually I head to Pexels or Unsplash, where you can find free (or by donation) photos for your topic with a quick keyword search.

Every now and then, however, it’s hard to find exactly what you need such as flatlay photos that will frame your text or a certain prop to go perfectly with your post–aaah, alliteration alert!

It started as a dream…

I started thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I could take my own “stock photos?” For a long time I just kept letting that be a nice thought, because surely I didn’t have the time, money or equipment to do photography! That was, until I started taking some blogging courses.

Learning from the best

One of my favorite courses is called Blog By Number by Suzi Whitford of Start A Mom Blog.  Not only did I learn how to build the beautiful blog you see before you today, I also learned great photo editing techniques! That is when I was inspired by Suzi and her super easy tips on how to make phone pictures “pop” with a tool called PicMonkey!

I dove in deeper with her course, How To Use Pic Monkey, and discovered that Suzi sells her own stock photos! That’s right, without any photography degree in sight, Suzi added stock images she took herself to her store and people love them (including me)! You can get those images included when you buy her beginner bundle!

That dream turned into a full-fledged idea!

As I looked around my office and couldn’t find very many pretty “props” or a nice background like the ones I loved on Pinterest, a weird but awesome idea hit me just as was about to head to the craft store and stock up on decorative items I’d probably only use once.

That’s when it dawned on me!

Instead of actually buying a bunch of pretty items to use as props for one photo shoot, I would just take all the pictures in the store, and then put it all back! 🙊

My plan of attack was simple: Go to the dollar store, fill up the cart with cute trinkets, put a poster board on top, go hide in a corner (I wound up by the fake flowers which worked great as more props), set things on top of the poster board and snap!

It worked so well.

Nobody even asked me what I was up to, if I needed anything, nothing! I was there for about an hour, too! I did have a plan to tell anyone who questioned me that I was helping a friend pick out wedding stuff, but I didn’t even have to play that card.

The results speak for themselves! Just look at these before & after photos!


Can you believe I did this all at the dollar store!?

Whether you need beautiful photos or graphics for business or just for fun, I highly recommend taking Suzi’s super simple course and trying PicMonkey! You can use a lot of its functions for free, and there’s a premium version which is very affordable. Unlike Photoshop, it’s extremely easy to learn to use all of its features!

I’d love to hear what you thought of this silly way I got stock photos! Would you try it yourself? If anything I hope this story made you laugh.

Feel like being a little more social? Drop me a DM or comment on Facebook / Instagram, I love to say hi to new friends!

I hope you have days full of wondertabulousness!