The Rules of Using Stock Photography

Stock photographs are convenient to use since you can find them easily online. You can get many stock photos for free. You can even get top-quality stock photos by paying a small fee. It saves you the trouble of taking photographs and is convenient.

When you use stock photos, you must know there are certain rules to use the photos. There are legal issues involved and other implications you must be aware of. You can refer to our guide to know these rules.

What is Stock Photography?

Stock photography refers to photographers licensing their photographs to people for their use. Stock photographs can be available for different themes and created by different photographers. If you are looking for photographs for a website, an ad, or any other purpose, stock photography is a good option.

There are basically three types of stock photographs:

  1. Public domain photos: These photos are license-free and available in the public domain. This means anyone can use them and there are no restrictions. You can even use them for commercial purposes in any way you wish.
  2. Royalty-free photos: These photos are licensed by the creator for use by others. You would need to pay a one-time license fee and there is no royalty to be paid subsequently.
  3. Rights managed photos: These photos are also offered on a license basis on payment of a fee. However, there are restrictions on their use. If you need to use the same photo for any other purpose, you may need to pay an additional license fee.

Stock photographs can be low-priced or even offered for free by some websites. If you want high-quality stock photographs that are exclusive, then you must be prepared to pay for them. Stock photographs are available based on different themes. This makes it easier for you to decide how to use them.

Rules for using Stock Photographs

1) Strictly follow the license guidelines

Photographs can be licensed for use by the creator. In most cases, you need to pay a license fee for their use. The license is offered based on certain guidelines. It is mandatory that you should follow these guidelines. Not doing so can put you in trouble.

Here are the things to keep in mind:

  • Never download a photo online without checking for its license. You are doing an illegal act by downloading a photo that belongs to another. You can face legal action and embarrassment when you use photos illegally.
  • While some websites offer stock photos for free, others charge a fee for them. You have a license to use the photo. The license comes with some guidelines that you need to follow.
  • Some licenses call for you to credit the photographer. They may insist that you attribute the image to them. Some others may call for you to link to their website. You need to follow these rules scrupulously.
  • There are some licenses that permit you to modify the photos, while others don’t. If you want to modify, you may need to buy an additional license or obtain permission. Read the license requirements carefully before using the photograph.

2) Respond to any notice immediately

Sometimes you may have used a photo inadvertently without licensing it. There may be cases where you have used a photo without following the license guidelines. In such a case, the rights holder may send you a notice. It is very important that you immediately respond to their notice. You have two options.

The first is to take down the photo and stop using it immediately. The second is to get a license for its right holder and then continue using it. If you do not respond to the notice, your photo and the content can be deleted. This can be very embarrassing, since all your followers may know what has happened. It can affect your online reputation. Avoid such situations by immediately taking down any unlicensed photos and responding to notices promptly.

3) Stick to reputed sites

There are many websites that offer stock photos. Stick to the reputed ones that are professional. Getting photos from unknown websites can be a problem. You may end up downloading a photo illegally or get a low-quality image that can’t be used.

4) Avoid using common photos

There would be a temptation to use free photos or photos that are priced cheap. The problem is everyone else would use them. If your competitor has already used the same photos, then using them would create a bad impression. Certain photos would be commonly used by most companies. Avoid using such photos and try to get exclusive photos even if you have to pay a bit more.

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