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"Stock Photography"
stock photography
Find just the right graphic image for your web, presentation, and print projects!  Royalty free photos and images are popular with graphic designers, web developers, and digital artists because they can be used more freely than rights-managed or rights-protected images.  They are available online through stock photography websites, often at fairly reasonable prices, and their use can often preclude the need to hire an expensive commercial photographer.

Essentially, stock photographs are existing photos that their owners license for use by other organizations or individuals.  Today, via the Internet, it is easy to find and use stock photos.  Many stock photographers upload their photos, along with relevant descriptions and keywords, to searchable image databases where digital image users can easily find them.  Potential buyers can search these databases, using keywords as well as image-type and image-orientation parameters.  Once a buyer has found a suitable photograph and paid for an appropriate license, the photograph can be downloaded and used.

royalty free garden photo The term royalty free refers to a widely-used method of licensing copyrighted photographs.  In most cases, a photograph's copyright belongs to the photographer.  In order to use a copyrighted photo, the buyer must get permission from its photographer and pay a license fee.

A royalty free license is one way to acquire stock photograph usage rights.  Royalty free licensing is usually priced according to a photograph's size rather than its intended use.  There are few, if any, limitations regarding where and how you use the photograph, or how many times you use it.  Of course, royalty free photographs aren't actually free.  A licensing fee must be paid to use them.  However, that fee is usually minimal in comparison to other types of photo licensing fees.  Below, to the right, is a sampling of royalty free photographs that are available on the World Wide Web.

bee on a flower
girl listening to music
beach blanket and toes
Royalty free photo services are easy to use, and they have thousands of photos available on just about every topic imaginable.  Whether you want to enhance a website, magazine article, or brochure with relevant photos or illustrations, you can simply visit one of these online services and search for graphic images about particular topics.  Some of these websites will even allow you to try certain images, to ensure they fit your needs, before you actually buy them.  "Try before you buy" images, or comp images, usually have a watermark on them to prevent you from using them for production purposes.  Royalty free photo licenses are often priced at between $1 and $250 per image, depending on the image's source, quality, and resolution.  Yearly subscriptions to royalty free image galleries typically range from $150 to $2,000, but if you need several stock photos or illustrations for a project, you can often obtain them less expensively via a low-cost monthly subscription.

RoyaltyFreePhotos.us features a directory of stock photography suppliers who offer royalty free photographs for commercial and personal use.  You can freely search their galleries of watermarked images.  If you find a photo or gallery you like, you can purchase a royalty free license or subscription.

Royalty Free Images Suppliers

  • Photos.com
    Premier subscription-based royalty-free stock photography resource for web or print.
    www.Photos.com
  • Getty Images
    This leading provider of imagery, film, and digital services features contemporary photography, illustrations, and archival images for creative use.
    www.GettyImages.com
  • Corbis Images
    This leading digital media firm provides a rich array of digital image licensing options and rights services for digital arts professionals and their clients.
    www.CorbisImages.com
  • ShutterStock
    This diverse and extensive collection of royalty free photographs and illustrations is accessible on a subscription basis.
    www.ShutterStock.com
  • JupiterImages
    This vendor offers several impressive collections of royalty free, rights managed, and subscription based stock photographs and images.
    www.JupiterImages.com
  • iStockphoto.com
    This fast growing collection of royalty-free images features popularly-priced photographs, vector illustrations and flash files.
    www.iStockphoto.com
  • Alamy
    Alamy features a large collection of royalty-free and rights-managed images from specialist collections and independent photographers.
    www.Alamy.com
  • SuperStock
    Offers a quality selection of Royalty Free and Rights Protected Photography.
    www.SuperStock.com
  • ThinkStock
    Find millions of royalty-free digital images in several file sizes.
    www.ThinkStockPhotos.com
  • Can Stock Photo
    Over 4 million stock photos and royalty free stock footage clips.
    www.CanStockPhoto.com
  • Acclaim Stock Photography
    Royalty free digital images suitable for print publishing and digital presentations, including web design.
    www.AcclaimStockPhotography.com
  • Dreamstime
    Offers an extensive selection of stock photos and royalty free images at low prices.
    www.Dreamstime.com
  • iCLIPART
    Over 6 million digital images, including clipart, original photographs, web graphics, and animations.
    www.iCLIPART.com
  • Painet Stock Photos
    Provides quality images to advertising agencies, publishers, and other image buyers.
    www.PainetWorks.com
  • RubberBall
    Offers royalty free digital stock images and image collections in CD-ROM format.
    www.RubberBall.com
  • CFG Photo
    This stock photography collection specializes in horticultural, botanical, and agricultural images.
    www.CFGPhoto.com
  • Custom Medical Stock Photo
    Features image solutions for health and medical communications.
    www.CMSP.com
  • Animation Factory
    Offers 3D animations, clip art, and PowerPoint™ templates.
    www.AnimationFactory.com

Royalty Free Image Collections

  • Media Bakery
    Search over 6 million rights managed and royalty free images from brands such as Photodisc, Digital Vision, Stockbyte, Bananastock, and many more.
    www.MediaBakery.com
  • Fotosearch
    This image search engine enables you to search stock photography, illustration, and video footage from multiple publishers.  Find an extensive selection of royalty free and rights managed images.
    www.Fotosearch.com
  • PunchStock
    With over 2 million royalty free images from many popular brands, this image aggregator is sure to satisfy a wide range of complex design requirements.
    www.PunchStock.com

Stock Photography Organizations

  • ASPP
    The American Society of Picture Professionals is a community of image experts committed to sharing their experience and knowledge throughout the industry.  ASPP provides professional networking and educational opportunities for persons and organizations who create, edit, research, license, manage and publish pictures.
    www.ASPP.com
  • PACA
    The Picture Archive Council of America is a North American trade organization that represents the interests of stock agencies and others who license images for commercial reproduction.
    www.PACAOffice.org

Related Photography Website

female photographer
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Royalty Free Photo Guide and Directory - Stock Photos