What Does Royalty Free Mean?

Stock photography is a set of licensed images that are readily available to be used in media such as prints, websites, periodicals, magazines, books, brochures, etc. Using stock photography saves consumers from highly expensive costs of a photo shoot. Consider the time saved as well, the fees paid for the models, photographers, set or location, directions, editing and other related expenses.

Image licensing is a popular choice these days. There are two types of image licensing which are royalty free and rights managed. What does royalty free mean? Royalty free is a type of license where permission is granted to the buyer to use an image for a less expensive one-time license fee, without having to pay royalty each time the image is repeatedly used. And also, the buyer does not have to pay for the royalty each time the image generated profit.

Although the buyer does not own the image, he has the right to use the image multiple times lawfully without paying further royalty or other additional payments related to the use of the image. On the other hand, rights manage license is a type of license where the buyer purchased an image for a specific time and on a per-use basis. Rights managed images have location restrictions, meaning there are some places where the image cannot be used. But the license allows the buyer to use the image exclusively for the duration of the license period.

The price of the license is commonly determined by the photographer, who is the copyright holder of the material, and the stock photography agencies. The photographer holds the copyright which means he owns the materials and he is allowed to sell his materials multiple times and still generate more profit. Through stock photography agencies, images are sold under a few restrictions depending on the license granted to the buyer. The agencies sell licenses that give the buyers the rights to use a photo in a certain, but not the property of the photo itself. Again, there is no transfer of ownership. The photographer is still the owner of the images.

Generally, royalty free license is cheaper than rights managed.  They are priced licenses widely offered across stock photography industry. They cost at a low price, making them affordably  available for use by different people and companies. Although stock photography agencies have millions of choices, most of them have filtered the images according to popularity and quality. So buyers are most likely to choose from a reduced set of images and possibly choose the same ones. The pricing of the license depends on the usage and availability of the material. As for rights managed images, they are exclusive used on the duration of the licensed period.

There are a lot of royalty free images sold by stock photography agencies online. Among the popular agencies are Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com), Getty Images (www.gettyimages.com), iStock by Getty Images (www.istock.com), Fotalia by Adobe (www.fotalia.com), Adobe Stock (stock.adobe.com).

The most renowned stock photography agency is the Getty Images which has over 50 million various images and videos for commercial and editorial use. They offer big discounts and savings on large sets of stock photography. Getty Images also owns iStock which has a wide collection of images for commercial uses.

Shutterstock has increasingly grown its collection of 100 million materials. As of to date, they have over 800,000 new stock images added weekly. They also offer subscription and packages for a simpler pricing range.

Fotalia by Adobe and Adobe Stock offer over 55 million royalty free contents. They have subscription offers, depending on your intended use. They have purchase options for single image, package subscriptions and HD and video packages as well.

The best image licensing option for you depends on your projected usage of the content, pricing budget as well.


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