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What Are Stock Photographs?

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Our article will give you all the information on stock photographs.
What they are, how to use them and a quick idea of where to find them.
An image of farm machinery working in a field at sunset - what are stock photographs

What Are Stock Photographs?

Stock images have been around for almost 100 years. Photographers take them for editorial or commercial use. They pass them on via a third-party company.
The photographer allows use of their images for a limited time or project. And in return, they receive compensation.
When it comes to a magazine using photographic images, there are several ways they can do this.
They can commission a photographer (staff or freelance) to capture a photograph. They will then use this alongside an article.
The photographer either gets paid a salary (staff) or on a per-image basis (freelance). This method is costly and time-consuming.
The editorial team could locate an image online. They can then contact the photographer to use the image and pay them for its use.
This is cheaper in the long run, but more time-consuming. They need to locate the ideal image and negotiate with the photographer.
The editorial team can go to a website where they know will be hundreds of thousands of images. They will all be high quality, professional photos. And they can buy them at a fraction of the price compared to the first two methods.
Oh, and they can download the image(s) in seconds.
Stock websites include conventional stock and microstock photography. Conventional stock can reach hundreds if not thousands of dollars for each use. Micro stock tends to bring in cents to the dollar.
A stock photo of a boat parked at a city canal

How Can You Use Stock Images?

Stock photographs can be used for a multitude of different things. A lot of bloggers use free stock images. This is very handy as we can’t always take the 5-15 images we need for each post.
It is too costly, and too time-consuming. And that is only if we had access to all sorts of items, subjects and scenes needed.
Other companies use them for advertising and marketing purposes, which can help to offset costs and time needed.
Each stock photography website or company have different rules.
The two areas you will deal with are image licences for commercial and editorial use.
A stock photo of a roadway

Stock Photography Licenses

There are two main types of licenses for stock photography. Royalty Free Licence (RF) or Rights Managed License (RM).
The RF is the most common. After the initial fee, the buyer can reuse the image as many times as they want, where they want.
The RM model stipulates that there is to be a fee for each and every usage of the image. This will depend on several factors. Such as length of time the image is shown for, its geographical location, the channels used and the image’s intention.
For example, acquiring this license for showing an image of the Effiel Tower in a brochure for a year will yield one cost. A new edition of the brochure for another year will need a new license.
The RM model is less popular, and used by large multinational companies and brands.
A few great examples of these licenses would be at Getty Images or iShutter. But there is an alternative.
In the past few years, there has been an influx of free stock photography sites.
Websites such as Unsplash and Negative Space. These offer free images you can download and use, free of charge, for as long as you need.
A business meeting of five people discussing what are stock photographs and looking at a laptop
So there we have it. Stock photography can be a huge help to articles, blog posts or other areas that need images.
They can help save money, but they come with a different kind of cost. Sometimes, however, they are reused to death.
This takes away the integrity and authenticity of the words these images find them next to.
Like in all things, moderation is key.

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