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Royalty Free - Stock Photography

Royalty-Free Stock Photography
By Sharon Housley

What Is Royalty-Free?

Royalty-Free refers to material that may be used for profit without paying royalties to the original creator.

What Is Stock Photography?

Stock photos are existing images that can be purchased and licensed for commercial or personal use.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Royalty-Free Stock Photography?

Webmasters and publishers can keep their website and ad campaign costs down by using royalty-free images in their marketing materials and webpages.

How Much Do Stock Photos Cost?

The prices of stock photos vary. Some micro-stock photography websites charge as little as $0.99 per photo, while other stock photo websites charge several hundreds of dollars for the use of a particular photograph. In most cases, when you purchase a license to use a photo, the rights are non-exclusive, meaning that others can purchase and use the same image in their marketing materials and websites. On the other hand, if you purchase "exclusive" rights to a photo, it means that you are the only one allowed to use that specific photo.

What Is Micro-Stock Photography?

Micro-Stock Photography is an offshoot of traditional stock photography. Micro-stock photography generally refers to a stock photography company that sources their images almost exclusively through the Internet. They often accept images from amateurs and hobbyists, and sell the images royalty-free at a very low rate.

What About These Royalty-Free Clip-Photo CDs Available On The Market?

Stock photos are often available on CD-ROMs containing hundreds of royalty-free images, at prices ranging from $30 to $300 per disc. Web Design Elements ( ) is an example of one such disc vendor. Web Design Elements offers CD collections of stock photos, logos, and web layouts, all related to a specific theme.

How Do Photographers Protect Their Images On The Stock Photography Websites?

Photographers use a variety of techniques to protect their photos from being stolen or used without permission. Some photos are encrypted, while others are only viewable at a low resolution, or re-sized to thumbnail proportions prior to purchasing a license. Still others embed watermarks in their photos.

Can I Use Stock Photos Free Of Charge?

Not usually. Stock photography websites contain thousands of existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. Legally, you cannot use a photo you find on the web without the photographer's permission. In regard to copyright laws, businesses must be very careful when using unlicensed photos -- the penalties and fines for improperly using an unlicensed photo can be steep. Keep in mind that there are also risks in using "free" photographs. Many of the free photo websites contain collaborative works from multiple photographers and artists. While the websites may attempt to monitor the images in their collections to avoid violation of copyright laws, there are no guarantees. If you opt to use photographs or images from a free portal, it is important to keep this in mind.

There are a number of options available to webmasters and publishers in need of images for web content, marketing campaigns, or packaging. Regardless of the website selected, be sure to read the agreement and licensing terms carefully to ensure that you are adhering to the guidelines.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.


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