What Is Stock Photography? Part One

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Image Source/Royalty Free

“What is stock photography?” is not a question with a single answer. It means Royalty-Free Imagery, Rights Managed imagery and it also means the picture of the pig with the ice cream that you never knew you wanted. Until now…

When you are just looking for the right image for your work the language of stock photography can seem uneccessarily complicated. So here is a brief run-through of some of the key ideas you need to know.

Royalty Free

The Royalty-Free image license offers you the flexibility of a single payment for unlimited usage. So one morning I look in the mirror and I decide that “Yes! Lurking inside this data analyst there is a rock god!” I that I want do more than random band practice with friends in our garage, it’s time for the world to hear our band The Ice Cream Pigs.

So we record an album and buy a Royalty Free image for the album artwork. What’s great about this is that we make one purchase of this Royalty Free image and not only is it perfect for the album cover we can use it on a gig program, tickets, posters, the cover of the book about how we became famous, the billboard advertising and even the image on the The Ice Cream Pigs underwear brand we sell trying to cash in on with our guitarist’s name – David Beckham.

We pay once, and are free to use this Royalty Free image legally, as many times as we like. So while a Royalty Free imageisn’t actually “Free”, it rocks.

Rights Managed

The Rights Managed image license is based on usage specific pricing tailored to your project. So, I buy a Rights Managed image and can use it once. Let’s talk about our band The Ice Cream Pigs…

We buy a Rights Managed image to use on the album of the same name. If we want to use this image in an advert, or on a billboard, or a t-shirt, we will have to license it again. So why bother with this extra cost for Rights Managed? Well, say I buy a Royalty Free image for The Ice Cream Pigs, it doesn’t mean just because I buy it, no one else can buy it.

We discovered that the image behind our ubercool artwork has been bought by our rival band The Spicy Hot Dogs who are also using it. And it’s been used on the cover of the best-selling Good Manners magazine which is not rock’n’roll at all.

Rights Managed Images have their advantages because you can negotiate different degrees of exclusivity, in an industry sector, or in a particular territory. Our drummer, “Mad” Mike McNutter liked this Rights Managed Image so much we decided we would buy it and call the album The Messy Eaters.

Image Source / Cultura

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