Things to Know about Stock Photography Licenses

It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer who wants to sell your photographs or some one who wants to buy photographs for commercial usage; you should be aware of and understand the types of photo licenses. A photo license defines how a stock photo can be used by a buyer. There are two major license types, they are

  • Royalty Free Licensing
  • Rights Managed Licensing

Royalty free licensing is the most commonly used license type and the buyer can buy a royalty free image for a fixed rate (the cost is usually low and is based on the resolution). The buyer is given unlimited usage rights, however he can only ‘use’ and he cannot sell it.

Rights managed licensing is far more rigid in terms of image usage. Usually rights managed images can be used only once, and for every subsequent usage the image should be bought again separately. The buyer usually will have exclusive right to use the image only for a predetermined period of time. The cost associated with ‘rights managed images’ are relatively high. There are several other restrictions that comes along with rights managed images.

  • Photographs of models cannot be used in any way suggesting that they are endorsing a product/service. Such usage require prior consent from the models in the photograph.
  • License to the Photos cannot be sold, distributed, or sub-licensed.
  • It cannot be used in a logo/trademark
  • In addition to these common restrictions, every stock photography agency will have their own terms and conditions.

How to Decide?

Stock PhotographyIf you want to buy a photograph, then you have to decide on the license type purely based on your requirements. There are several goof-ups even by top companies when it comes to buying photographs. Even companies like Dell and Gateway once used the same image of a smiling girl for their campaigns. Duplicate images may eventually work to your/your business’ detriment, so in such scenarios you should opt for rights managed images, however if you are on a budget and want images for a more generic usage then it is better to go for royalty free images from a stock photography agency. Royalty free images are ideally suited for bloggers.

Today micro-stock image websites are booming, even budding photographers are selling their images over web. Dealing directly with the photographer can have several advantages, as you may get better deals and custom photographs too. However it is important to make sure the  stock photography website run by a photographer is trustworthy. You can do a simple research over the internet before purchasing, another easy way to find if a photographer’s website is genuine is by checking top ‘stock image agencies’ for the photographer’s portfolio.

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