You Can Make Money With Stock Photos

Stock photos represent a time-honored way of making money from photography. Traditionally, that has meant film photography, but today digital photographers license their work this way as well.

Stock Photos Example - Aromatherapy      Stock Photos Example -  Businessman
Stock Photos Example -  Bassett Hound     Stock Photos Example -  Lake Lucerne     Stock Photos Example -  Office Tech.

Examples of Stock Photos

Stock photos are photos that can be licensed and used for specific uses. Various people or businesses, such as publishers (of books, magazines, newsletters, calendars, etc.) filmmakers, ad agencies, web designers, graphic artists, interior designers and other creative occupations use stock photos. Using stock photos is faster and often more economical than engaging a photographer to take specific pictures.

Other names for a collection of stock photography include photo archives, picture libraries, image banks or photo banks.

So where do you and your digital photography service fit in?

Image libraries need photographs! They license digital photography from photographers just like you. Run a Google search with quotes " " for:

and you will get plenty of hits. You'll find a short list of Stock Photo outlets at the end of this page to get you started.

When you license your photos with an image library, you need to understand these terms:

Royalty Free

With a Royalty Free agreement, you (the photographer) can sell the image as often as you want. The user pays a one time fee to use the image many times for many purposes, and for as long as he or she wants. In most cases, the Royalty Free license stipulates the number of times an image can be reproduced. The number of copies is called the print run. If the user makes copies above the print run, they pay an additional fee for each additional copy. Therefore, publishers who have large print runs (such as some magazines) do not use Royalty Free images.


"Licensed images" is another name for Rights-managed. With this agreement, the user may or may not have exclusive rights to the image. Exclusivity is negotiated in the licensing terms. The user pays each time they use the picture. There is a time limit to Rights-managed image licenses, so if exclusivity was part of the deal, you can re-sell the photograph once the time limit has expired, but not before. The fee is based on exclusivity, distribution, length and geographic location.


"Editorial" refers to subjects in the photographs, and whether they can be shown without a special release. Without a release from the subjects, you can use the photographs only for news or educational purposes. With a signed release, you can use your photo for advertising or display it with controversial material.

Please note: Digitization has complicated stock photography licensing considerably. When a stock image is used on a web site or on an electronic product that can be copied, special licensing agreements must be reached. A copyright or entertainment lawyer can help you wade through these issues if you are planning on using your digital photography for stock photos.

The Stock Artists Alliance is a world wide organization that protects the rights of stock photographers, whether they practice film or digital photography.

Stock Photography Outlets

Here's a short list of stock photography outlets where you can place your work. (You should thoroughly read through their terms of service to make certain you are happy with what they have to offer and how they operate).

Suggested Equipment and Supplies

In addition promoting your stock photography using image libraries you should also consider having:

Please Note: Pricing and free shipping offers may change without notice

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