Blog of the image agency Imageselect

What is a stock image?


Stock photos are photographs of a specific subject for sale on a unique website that is used in advertising. Stock image advertising studios, web designers, website creators, books and magazines, and interior designers buy to solve business problems. All those businesses need high-quality stock photos to render their services and products.

Stock images are sold on unique sites, photo banks, microstocks, and photostocks, which allows the buyer of stock photos to receive them online, in maximum quality, immediately after payment. These sites may also contain other graphic materials, illustrations, vector files, videos, audios, and ready-made templates for social networks and presentations.

What makes a stock photo different from a classic bespoke photo? The stock photo is not made for a specific customer. The buyer chooses from the many available photos on stocks and finds what suits their project.

A special site stores graphic materials, attracts clients to the site, and sells materials. The stock pays the photographer a part of the amount for which the buyer bought the photo on the stock. What determines the purchase price? The price of each stock photo or other graphic material depends on:

  • Circulation using source material.

  • The countries on whose territory the stock photo will be used.

  • The terms of use of graphic stock materials.

  • The list of rights to the image, which belongs to the author of the graphic material.

Using stock photos

By purchasing images from a photo bank, the client receives certain rights to use the file. For example, Depositphotos sells images under both standard and extended licenses. The Standard License is used when the product for which the file is purchased will not be resold or freely redistributed. In other cases, an extended license will be required. Once you buy the file under a standard license, you can use it for advertising a service or making a free T-shirt. If you want to sell a set of postcards using stock photos for the design, you will need an extended license.

Both the standard and extended licenses are Royalty-Free licenses; they allow the buyer to use the files without restrictions and at no additional cost, unlike the Rights-Managed license, which implies the exclusive acquisition of rights to the image or the sequential use of the photo by several buyers.

What to keep in mind when using the stock image?

Most of the images used in the design are taken from photo banks. Therefore, if someone makes a website for you, draws a layout, or develops an advertisement, be sure to ask whether the used images were purchased on a photo stock or simply taken from the internet. Please note that they will be addressed to you in the event of copyright infringement claims and not to the designer who used the stock image in their work. It is quite simple to protect yourself from such troubles. Just use the image search from Google Images, and you will immediately find out the source of the file's origin.

When choosing the best stock photo, don't use clich├ęs. Most people are already bored with standard visuals. Photobanks contain tens of millions of images. In this abundance of images, you will surely find what ideally suits your requirements and your main goal of drawing attention to your product and service.

Just register, select the stock photo you would like and pay for the image to start using the photo bank.

Pros of stock photography

  • Saving time. There are two ways to get the photos you want. The first is to find a photographer, organise a photo session, and go through a lengthy process of processing and editing to get several or maybe even one good photo. The second is to use the services of photo stocks, which provide a huge selection of images available for instant download after payment. This method is very convenient when working on small projects, presentations, articles, and you need to find visual content at the last minute. Plus, you can always search for free stock photos and maybe even ones that will suit you.

  • Convenience. Photo stocks store millions of photographs and vector images on various topics. The search for the desired picture is carried out quite quickly using keywords. By knowing how to enter the keyword correctly, you can find the best stock photo.

  • High quality. Most photo stocks have strict quality requirements for their content. All images for sale are checked for compliance with specific standards. Commercial value, high resolution, the right choice of color and lighting, no noise, and great composition are basic requirements for stock images.

  • Low price. For projects with tight budgets and time constraints, photo stocks can be an invaluable resource with an abundance of inexpensive licensed images. By subscribing to a wholesale subscription when buying more than one image, you can get an excellent value for money.

Cons of stock photography

  • Licensing. When purchasing stock content, you must carefully read the licensing terms and use the purchased images with caution so as not to go beyond the specified restrictions. Using a photo for purposes not covered by the license can lead to costly consequences.

Moreover, Royalty-Free, Extended Royalty-Free, and Editorial are most often used on photo stocks to the standard and extended licenses. Remember that some stock photos can only be used for Editorial purposes and cannot be used in advertising.

  • Predictability. Authors who submit their images for sale on stock websites draw on popular concepts in their work. Unfortunately, this makes most of the images predictable and commonplace; for this reason, it is difficult to maintain the identity of a business project using stock photography.

  • Non-exclusivity. The most popular Royalty-Free license makes stock content easily accessible and inexpensive; this means that you can use an image many times in projects of different companies. It is quite difficult to stand out and be unique in this case.

How to choose the best stock photo?

  • Ensure that the stock photo is relevant to the desired theme and matches the design.

  • Use Google search engine to see how many times the stock image has appeared on other sites.

  • Make sure you are licensed to use the selected images legally.

  • Spend more time choosing Royalty-Free images in the stock photo base. You should avoid buying images that are on the first pages of search results. By looking at as many options as possible, you can find unique and interesting offers.


Before buying a stock image, carefully read the rules of the stock photo. Even paid photo stocks may not give a 100% guarantee that the author of the illustration has not violated anyone's rights. Before deciding where to get pictures for the site, you should carefully read the rules and pay attention to who will be responsible for violating other people's rights and the type of license purchased.

(May 16, 2021) Alex Alex News