Do i buy a copyright of a stock photo or how do that work?

If you are a new user of stock photography agencies and the images sold on these sites, a few basic lessons are helpful to ensure you use the photos that you bought correctly.  Stock photography agencies are a great way to get quality images fast and cheap but there are some basic licensing issues that need to be understood.

Royalty free copyrights are included

Royalty free copyrights are included with all stock photos bought from a stock agency.  This provides the buyer with the right to use the photo but under certain conditions.  These conditions can be viewed here or can be reviewed on each stock photography agency website.

Royalty free does not provide complete Freedom of use

Royalty free does not include using the image on items for resale, the freedom to share with multiple users once a stock photo is purchased or on all editorial pieces.  Some digital media uses are outlined but not all.  If you are unsure if you are using a stock photo correctly, call the stock agency where you purchased the photo and ask.

Google image search does not give you copyrights to a photo

If you use a Google Image search to find photos, be aware that these photos do not transfer any copyrights to you.  Google is not a stock photo agency and you can not purchase the rights of these photos unless

  1. You find the photographer and ask for permission or
  2. Purchase from the stock photography agency that holds the photo.

A watermarked logo on a photo indicates that the photo can be purchased from a stock photography agency.

For a direct and easy search for copyrighted photos, check out Dreamstime and search their image and photo database of over 11,000,000 photos to find a photo you need.

Image © Norebbo /


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.

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