How can i buy a photo from Flickr?

Flickr is a Yahoo hosted photo sharing website that enables registered users to upload, share and tag their personal photos. This is not a stock photo agency like Shutterstock or Canstockphoto. The default copyright setting on all Flickr accounts is an “All Rights Reserved” license unless the site user changes their licensing preferences. Flickr photos can be purchased by using two options outlined by Yahoo in their Community Guidelines.

Two ways to purchase Flickr Photos

  1. request license > How can i buy a photo from Flickr? On the Flickr photo there is a link “Request to license” near the photo licensing description. Yahoo has partnered with Getty Images to facilitate the licensing and purchasing option. If you hit the link and request a license, Getty Images will review the photo and contact the photographer for you if the photo is fit for licensing. Once the correct agreements are in place, you will be able to purchase the photo through Getty Images.
  2. If you don't see the ‘Request to license’ link you can send the photographer a Flickr email and start the ball rolling. You must be a member of Flickr to do this. To find the Flickr email option, move your mouse over someone's buddy icon and click the little arrow to open the “person menu”. Then select “Send FlickrMail” and compose your message. Make sure you have a copyright agreement before you start this option. Let the photographer know how you wish to use the photo, where it will be used and for how long you would like to use it.

What if I just use the Flickr photo and credit the photographer

Flickr photos are copyrighted and require written permission and consent from the photographer. It is illegal to use someone else’s work without permission. Public credit does not provide copyright permission nor are Flickr photos public domain.

It is best to protect your interests and use stock photos for your personal, commercial and marketing needs. By paying for a cheap Royalty Free stock photo from a stock photo agency like Shutterstock, you are protecting yourself and your business against any unauthorized use of other people’s photos.

Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on 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 WordPress plugins. 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.

  1. very helpful, thank you!

  2. I can’t find the REQUEST TO LICENSE link on any photos. Is there an efficient way of finding those images that do have it?

  3. Has anyone else encounter internet copyright trolls sending extortion letters after downloading images from Flickr?

    • Hi, we can only suggest to always double check the license on Flickr. Even a Creative Common license can cause issues when you are not following the rules of that license (i.e. citing the photographer or even backlinking). That is also one reason why you should always buy a license for a photo, when you use it commercially. It is so cheap nowadays and you will be protected from such issues.

  4. Thank you!

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