A Comprehensive Guide on Royalty Free Images

Pretty pictures do not just inspire people. They motivate them to take action, too. Posts with images increase engagement in websites and social media. This growing trend means we need more images to do the talking for us. However, not all of us are professional photographers and Photoshop experts. Creating powerful images is not that easy, but there are ways to get them.

Conducting your own photoshoot can be expensive and time-consuming. If you are running a small business, this could take up much of your budget. Fortunately, you can now purchase images from stock photo agencies. You might be thinking why you should buy images if you can download them for free, right? Well, stock photos come with the right license to protect you against copyright infringement. Vast majority of images from stock photo websites come with a Royalty Free license.

What does Royalty Free mean?
Royalty free refers to a type of license that allows you to use stock images for almost all purposes at a flat rate. It became popular with the rise of digital photo distribution as it offers both flexibility and affordability. You only pay for the images once, but you can use them forever within the terms and conditions of the stock site.

Royalty free images engages and inspires your readers without breaking your bank. They are not difficult to find, too. Many websites, such as Shutterstock and Stock Photo Secrets, offer high quality royalty free images at very affordable prices. You can use them in virtually any application in as many projects as you like. As long as you comply with the terms of the license agreement, you keep and use the images for as long as you like.

Take note that a royalty free license is paid. It does not mean you can use the images for free. It only means you can them as many times as you like without paying additional fees. The initial license is meant to protect yourself and your clients from copyright issues that may arise down the road. The price of royalty free images are often based on file size, number of permitted users and many other factors. For instance, iStock price their royalty free images by collection.

What are the allowed uses for Royalty Free Images?
Royalty free images can be used for personal, editorial and commercial purposes. Personal use refers to the use of images not for commercial gain. Examples might include use of images on wedding announcements and social newsletters. Commercial use, on the other hand, may be commonly defined as intended for promotional, merchandising and endorsement purposes. This could include use of images on company websites, brochures, presentations and products.

Editorial use of royalty free images is more restrictive. While you only pay for the images once, you get to use it forever for editorial purposes only. For instance, you can them to illustrate or enhance text in print and digital publications. The distribution allowance is also limited by most stock photo agencies. Some out the reproduction or print run limit to 500,000 copies, but others put it at only 250,000. So, be sure to read the license agreement to avoid issues in the future.

What is the best source for buying Royalty Free Images?
With several great choices in the market, finding your primary source of stock images can be time consuming. You can use the extra time to enhance your creative project. To help you save time for that, here are some of the best sources for buying royalty free images.

  • Stock Photo Secrets. SPS is a one-stop shop for all your royalty free images needs. Whether you are looking for information about the industry or buying stock photos, this is the stock photo agency for you. They have over 5 million handpicked premium stock images in their collection, available for personal and commercial purposes. You can also find free photos and vectors, and COUPONS in the website.
  • Boasting the largest royalty free image collection, Shutterstock offers amazing content for your next project. They have very straightforward prices, too. You will surely find a plan that suits your creative needs and budget. The stock site also has an integrated editor that you can use to make fast and easy edits. By signing up, you can get access to their curated collection, and some free content every week.
  • Adobe Stock. A must-have stock site for Creative Cloud users, Adobe Stock offers variety and convenience. They have over 60 million high quality, royalty free images in their collection that you can access, license and manage directly from your favorite Adobe software. Images are available with subscription plans and credits packs. Choose whichever works for your creative needs and budget.
  • iStock by Getty Images offers royalty free images that will make stand out. With a large high quality collection and affordable prices, you will find the right image while giving your budget a break. All files belong to one of their two collections: Signature and Essentials. The Signature collection offers the best quality, while the Essentials collection has the lowest price. The stock site also offers free stock files every week.

The quality of free images from the Internet can be lower than paid images from the stock photo agencies. The better quality ones can be overused, which means their effectiveness may be diluted. Sources of these free images are also unlikely to have inspection process, which increases the risk of a dispute down the road. If you want to enhance your creative project and make it successful, purchase and download royalty free images.

Images are just as important as a well-written content. Instead of telling, you can show your readers what you are referring to. For visual content that engages and inspires, purchase royalty free images. For a one-time fee, you can use the in any project for as long as you like. Just be sure to read the license agreement of the stock site you are buying them from. They are also a great component for commerce-related content strategy as they spark the interest of your readers and motivate them to take action.

Purchase Stock Photos for Commercial Use to Avoid Copyright Issues

If you are running a business, you are probably involved in some kind of promotion and advertising. Now, images are one of the best tools in this area. Not having to use one can greatly affect your reach. Since conducting your own photoshoot can be expensive and time-consuming, you are inclined to download from the Internet. And, the internet is one big whirlpool of images – both free and with a price tag.

Typically, you need to have the rights to copy the image and use the individual’s image before you can use that picture for your advertising campaign. If you took the photograph yourself, then you own the copyright. If you employee took it, then company owns the copyright. But if you simply found the image in the internet, you will need to get a license from the original copyright owner.

To protect yourself against copyright issues, it is best to purchase a blanket license to use the photos for commercial use from a stock photo website. In this case, you don’t have to track down the copyright holder and get a license to use the image in your campaign.

Now, there are two types of royalty-free license: standard and extended. The Standard royalty free license comes with perpetual rights to use the images in any project. On the other hand, the Extended royalty free license extends the usage rights to include unlimited print runs and use of merchandise for resale. It is also known as Enhanced in other stock photo agencies.

Where to Buy Images for Commercial Use
To avoid copyright issues, you can purchase stock photos for commercial use from the following websites:

  • Stock Photo Secrets
    For the cheapest deals in the market, you can buy images for commercial use at SPS. The regular price of images is between $44 and $80, which is the lowest among well-established stock photo agencies. But, members get to enjoy an exclusive 50% discount on all Extended License images. If you have an active subscription at the stock site, you can download images for as low as $22 each (depending on the size of the pack you purchase).
  • Depositphotos
    Depositphotos has a wide offer in cheap stock photos, including Extended License that is available on-demand. Image costs range between $64 and $89, which is the second cheapest among well-established stock photo agencies. With over 60 million high quality photos in the library, you can simply pay in advance for photos for commercial use and use them whenever you want within one year of purchase.
  • Shutterstock

One of the most popular stock photo sites, Shutterstock is home to over 180 million high quality images. They offer images for commercial use with an Extended License on demand, starting at $199 for two photos. Depending on the size of the pack you want to buy, you can get download stock images between $68 and $99.50 each.

If you want to save yourself from copyright trouble in the future, ditch the free images from the web and visit one of these three reputable and well-established stock photo agencies. They all offer high quality images at very low prices.