Stock Photography FAQ


Stock Photography (what the) FAQ




Stock Photography – What you wanna know?

I am hoping to clear up some myths about using Stock Photography to promote your business.

Firstly, I feel I should be upfront. I hate Stock photography, I think it sucks.

I think the fact we recognise images as Stock is one of the main reasons not to use Stock Photography. How many obvious Stock Photography shots have you seen today on websites you’ve visited? Did they leave you cold? Did they have any impact on you at all?

Stock Photography Q & A

What is stock photography?

Stock photography is images that are for sale, pre shot professionally by photographers, to be bought for multiple uses, from print to online use, for a set fee and with usage limitations. Anyone can buy them, download them and post to websites or use in promotional literature such as leaflets.

What is a stock photography site?

Websites such as iStock, Alamy, Getty Images and Google Images display images for sale. You can search for keywords such as “staff photo” and be confronted with a bewildering array of images to choose from that fit the search parameters.

What are the best stock photography sites?

See the few I have listed above. Seriously, go check them out. They really do have some Amazing stock photography. Sorted by popularity and relevance to search terms you submit. There’s not much between them at all. Some offer subscription services, most you can make ad-hoc purchases from.

Can stock photos be used for commercial use?

Of course! This the whole point. They are for sale, to be bought and used as a convenience to the user – you – The most successful stock photographers spend each working moment creating images they think will sell. There are stringent rules applied to the images photographers submit to stock libraries.

Can stock photos be royalty free ?

Yes. There are some sites that offer free images. But ask yourself, what was the last free thing you got that was really much use to you? You may need to register and submit details such as email address or social media account details to fulfil a download. Please, just be careful when doing so. If it feels weird, trust your instinct and leave the website .

Are stock photos copyrighted?

Yes. All of them, even the free ones. There will be T&C’s on any download, paid or otherwise. Read these T&C’s. Most are there to protect you as much as the photographer who earns his living creating the images you are downloading.

How does stock photography work?

You pays your money, you make your choice.. Or vice versa. Basically, find the image you want, add them to the website basket, stipulate the usage you want, see the total add up, pay your money and download.

Why are stock photos so expensive?

There’s millions of stock photos available. Some taken by amateurs, some full time professionals. You may well pay upwards of £1500 for a file for worldwide usage and multiple uses, in print, press, and web-use, for 3 years. But that works out at less that 2p per day. That’s hardly expensive. For totally exclusive usage, as in, the photo being taken off the website meaning no-one else can use it, ever – you’ll be looking at around £25,000. This is based on the potential earnings a photographer could make with that image on sale in his or her lifetime. Again, depending on what it is, used correctly, over its usage a photo can earn a business a fortune, so you should make back your investment, if you choose the image correctly. Take a look here for an example of what I charge and what you’ll get

Is stock photography worth it?

In my opinion, I think a unique and exclusively commissioned images, unique to the business, is much more valuable and effective. Thousands of ££ or $$$ can be spent on stock photography, with limited use and limited return of investment. An exclusive commissioned shoot means you get the images you want at the price you want. With input throughout the creative process and results you will be completely satisfied with. Take a look here for my rates

Free stock photography without watermarks

Many free stock photos come with watermarks – a mark with the photographers details on it – This is how they get a return on the images. If used, it is free advertising of their work. The main use of it is to protect against illegal use. As one of the highest Google search terms, I’m guessing this is just people trying to get something for free.

Stock photography for Instagram

Social media is reliant on imagery. Everyone wants to look their best on Instagram and Facebook, so of course, you want decent photos. Why not book a professional to take some images for you? Someone like me, perhaps?

Stock photography for book covers

You’ve (hopefully) written a unique and engaging book. Why then, would you use something unoriginal and dull to illustrate it. Book a pro to take some photos for you. Take a look at some photographers websites and contact some whose work you admire.

Stock photography for websites

This is the sole reason for stock photography existing. Why would you risk your competitor using the same or similar photo as you? Book a professional to shoot some unique photos for you.

Stock photography for bloggers

People are very aware of bloggers these days. Successful bloggers offer a unique and engaging perspective on a subject. I don’t think a blog with stock photography of the subject they are discussing would hold much gravitas with a discerning and critical internet audience.

I hope this has been a useful article? If so, please share it.


As you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you are requiring some imagery? Send me an email and let me know what you need and I will send you a quote. Or use the form below to do the same, but more easily




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