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Can I retouch stock photo I have bought?

 

Can You Edit Stock Photo?

This question that might run through your mind when you are new to buying stock photography is, can you edit stock photos? The most useful answer to whether or not you can edit a stock photo is – most of the time. This means, in general, most stock photo agencies, including Stock Photo Secrets, allows you to alter or do professional photo retouching to your downloaded, and fully-licensed stock images.

But, of course, there is also a steady and fast rule that says you cannot alter a stock image to become pornographic or scandalous, obscene, defamatory or immoral in nature. These are the most basic tenets of standard license agreements, but of course, there are other restrictions we will get into more detail below.

Always Check the License Agreement Before You Edit Stock Photo!

It’s also important to note that each standard license agreement is different from stock photo agency to agency, and you must read the agreement before you intend to use it to make sure you have permission to use it in a specific way. And the next great rule of thumb is that stock photos that are considered ‘editorial’ in nature may not be altered at all, and that is pretty much the same, agency to agency.

Our Stock Photo Secrets’ subscription plans offer you one of the most lenient image retouching rights in the stock photo game, and we have to great offers that will save you tons of money on stock images. So, How much does a stock photo cost?, learn more about the costs of stock photography here.

99clubCurrently, we have two plans, our 99club. For $99 USD you get 200 XXL stock photos, vectors, and fonts (Cost per image is $0.49); the Low Volume subscription comes equipped with 600 XXL images for $199, which is only $0.33 per image ! Click here to learn more about 99club, and here to learn more about our Low Volume subscription now. Read our Stock Photo Secrets’ 99club Review here.

Understanding How You Can Retouch Stock Images

After you purchase the rights to use an image from a stock photo agency, it is generally acceptable to alter or change the image.

Images that are considered fine art or feature a celebrity or notable public figure should not be altered without specific permission from the artist, photographer or the public figure whose likeness you plan to manipulate. So images purchased from paparazzi agencies or of other copyrighted work should be handled with care.

But if the image comes from a stock photo agency, is general in nature, and you have paid for the right to use the image, you can generally feel free to change the photo.

Some standard changes to stock photos include cropping, resizing, flipping the image to fit a specific design, or even retouching the colors a bit to fit in with an overall look and feel of a project. You can also use Photoshop or other photo editing software to apply effects to customize a stock photo image.

How You Can Edit Stock Photos

So, can you retouch photos you buy from Stock Photo Secrets? Yes, you can, and our rules are pretty lenient when it comes to editing or retouching of your purchased stock images. All photos bought through the Stock Photo Secrets Shop come with a standard license, allowing you to alter the files easily.

StockPhotoSecrets and/or its suppliers own all images, even if it is modified. You may modify an image but you may not claim copyright to that image. To retouch, edit, or modify a royalty free stock photos like the ones from Stock Photo Secrets, you must read the license agreement to understand what you can and cannot do, but it’s safe to say that you can retouch photos from most stock photo agencies according to their standard license agreement.

Here are some examples of what you can do with your stock photos:

  • Want to make a brochure using a stock photo, but want to remove the background? Go ahead, that’s fine.
  • Have a handout where you only want to use a certain element from a stock photo? No problem, you can do that.
  • Want to use a stock image in a video but want to change the color and only use a small portion of the stock image? You can do that too…
  • Want to retouch a stock photo portrait to clear up skin blemishes? This is OK also
  • Want to make lots of different image edits to your purchased stock photo? It’s yours to change, but doing so does not mean you now own the copyright, it still belongs to the photographer/designer or stock agency.

What you cannot do with your stock photos:

  • You want to retouch/edit an image labeled for ‘editorial’ use only? An editorial image cannot be altered, and must be used ‘as is’.
  • Want to make a stock portrait of a man to represent an AIDS patient? You cannot use a stock image to portray someone with a bad disease.
  • Want to use a stock photo for your political ad? Nope, you can’t do that.
  • Want to use a stock photo in a pornographic or defamatory way? This is not permitted.
  • Want to use the image to sell t-shirts? You can’t do this with a standard license agreement, but with an extended license, you can resell things commercially.

If you need an image for more a commercial project you can buy an extended license for $60, or if you have a Stock Photo Secrets’s subscription plan like our 99club, which gives you 200 XXL images for $99, or our Low Volume subscription, which gives you 600 XXL images for $200, you can buy an Extended license for just $30.

Here’s What You Can Resell With a $30 Extended License

  • Unlimited runs on prints and wall decor
  • Unlimited runs on T-shirts & apparel
  • Unlimited runs on mugs, calendars, games, greeting cards, web templates

Here is a licensing comparison table that shows you how Standard and Extended licenses stack up against each other.

Retouching Stock Photo Secrets Stock Images

So, can you retouch photos your buy from Stock Photo Secrets? Yes, you can, and our rules are pretty lenient when it comes to alterations or retouching you need to do with your purchased stock images. All photos bought through the Stock Photo Secrets Shop come with a standard license, allowing you to alter the files the way in which you need to.

Stock Photo Secrets and/or its suppliers own all images, even if it is modified. You may modify an image but you may not claim copyright to that image.

Low Volume Subscription Basics

The Low Volume subscription was created specifically for small- to medium-sized businesses who need hundreds of stock images per year, but at an affordable price.

  • Access to over 4,000,000 premium stock images
  • Includes High Res Photos, Vectors & Fonts (no Videos)
  • 600 XXL downloads each year
  • Royalty Free License
  • Use your images FOREVER
  • Subscription is only $199 with NO additional fees!
  • NEW: Auto-renew: secure the low price deal for as long as the offer exists

99club Subscription Basics

Edit Stock Photo

The 99club  was made especially for designers, small businesses, marketing agencies, bloggers, etc., who need a source of affordable royalty free stock photos

  • Access to over 4,000,000 premium stock images
  • Includes High Res Photos, Vectors & Fonts (no Videos)
  • 200 XXL downloads each year
  • Royalty Free License
  • Use your images FOREVER
  • Subscription is only $99 with NO additional fees!
  • NEW: Auto-renew: secure the low price deal for as long as the offer exists

See if the 99club is the right fit for you by clicking here

Why Alter Stock Images?

One of the benefits of using a professional stock photo agency is access to a catalog of images that can work in any number of settings and situations and can be customized to make every project personal and professional.

The limitations when using stock photos, especially under standard license agreements, allows you unparalleled access to changing images for your creative projects. Now that you know that alterations and retouching stock images are generally permitted for royalty free stock photos, you can feel confident that your editing of stock photos is not as much of a gray area anymore.

While standard license agreements can vary, they generally hold true that you can make modifications, retouches, image edits and more to your image as long as you follow the rules laid out by stock agencies. You can feel confident that by buying a 99club or Low Volume subscription plans that you don’t have to worry much about change stock photo because of its flexible license agreement.

To buy a 99club subscription click here, or if you have a need for more images purchase a Low Volume subscription here.

 

About the author

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus in providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography, like the PixelRockstar WordPress Plugin. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.