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What is stock photography?

Stock Photos are Collections of Photos Online
Stock Photos are Collections of Photos Online

Whether you are managing a business, website, blog, online or offline advertising campaigns, you are going to need photos stock images. Stock photography are collections of photos that can be purchased and delivered online.

Stock photography offers access to photos without having to expense of hiring a photographer. Stock photography images are photos that have already been taken by other photographers and are accessible via online search and downloaded if use is free or after purchase. When considering use of stock photos, it is also important to understand the terms or associated rights for use.

Rights Managed

Rights Managed images are licensed on a use by use basis contractual basis. The fee for this type of usage can vary in price, size, duration, format, project, location, and for print or online use. Rights managed ensure the image will not be licensed by any other individuals or companies within the predetermined time of your license. Typically, the more flexible the license or beneficial, the more expensive the license is to obtain.


Royalty free images are images licensed in perpetuity and for a single price. This license can be used for multiple projects, extended, or non-exclusive use. Types of usage include direct mail, email newsletters, websites, blogs, editorial, broadcast, billboards, fliers, or marketing campaigns.

Limitations may include:

  • The images cannot be resold to other parties
  • The images may be produced only for a specified number of times
  • The images cannot be used for illegal or defamatory purposes
  • The images are not free and fees can vary from owner to owner or provider

Free Use

Images that are free to use are images that are copyright free, public domain, or images in which the author has given permission to use the images free of charge. Please note, terms can be subject to change or even misunderstood, therefore read any fine print or terms of usage or reproduction rights before using such images. Confirm there are no limitations or conditional stipulations for the free use images. In addition, it may be wise to keep a copy of the terms or print screen a copy of the terms provided which addresses the right to use for free.

Types of Restricted Use:

Free for personal or Educational Use: Free for personal or educational use are images that can only be used for personal use such as a personal blog, website, school project, desktop, or for personal printing. The image cannot be resold or used for commercial purposes without negotiating payment for the right to do so with the owner.

Free for Corporate or Nonprofit: Free for corporate or nonprofit are photos that can bed used internally or for not-for-profit documentation, presentations, or media that pertains to that company or non-profit group. Using the images for public use may require licensing. These images cannot be resold to others.

Free for All: Free for all photos are photos that can be used anywhere for anything, anytime without the hassle of fees or restrictions. These images may be in public domain, the copyright has expired, or the author has specifically granted in writing the images can be used for free for any purpose. In some cases, the author may request or require credit for the image or a hyperlink to the website.

There are many websites online that offer free and royalty free images such as Bigstock. They offer millions of royalty-free, high-resolution images, starting as low as $1. iStockphoto offers an array of royalty free photos, illustrations, video and audio files, starting as low as $.95. Dreamstime offers a selection of free photos online, categories ranging from arts and business, to technology and travel.


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