Stock images are the next type of product that can be sold online. The market of stock images allows professional photographers and amateurs to earn additional money. Read the article to find out how stock images can become your next source of income.

What are stock images? – table of contents:

  1. What are stock images?
  2. Stock images licenses
  3. Who needs stock images and how to use them?
  4. Editorial images and commercial images
  5. Stock images publication – what is important?

What are stock images?

What are stock images? The stock images are high-quality digital images. They can be used for commercial or private applications, but they cannot be re-sold. Stock images have broad applicability, both for personal use and for promotional and marketing aims.

Images are being made by professional photographers, as well as amateurs. They cooperate with agencies that deal with sharing stock images with the recipients. Due to the constant demand for such products, many photographers have a chance to earn their income by offering stock images.

What are stock images?

Stock images licenses

Image banks gain the rights to use the images of the photographers at the moment of getting with signing the license agreements. It means that image banks have the authorization (to a limited extent), but they are not the owners of those images. The authors of images receive royalties, which are the remuneration that is the percentage of the price of the picture sold. Below we present the basic types of licenses:

  • Rights Managed (RM) – each license holder receives the specific regulations related to the methods the images are being used. The time of usage, and other detailed data, such as the geographical area (where the photo can be used, usually limited to one country), the photo format, the method of the publication, and even the press run – all this has to be specified in the agreement. 
  • Royalty-free (RF) – in this case, the client pays a one-time payment, that gives him the possibility to use the photo in any way. There are time or territorial limitations. As the photographer, you may sell your images multiple times via bank images or agencies. 
  • Enhanced (EL) License – such an extended license provides the buyers with different types of rights. You can have the right to make a huge amount of copies of an image or to use the product as the print on postcards or mugs. 
  • Editorial License – is designed for editorial purposes, which means that the photo can be used as the illustration in the article. Some image banks have the license ascribed as Editorial Use Only. It means that certain stock images may be used only in the press materials. 

Who needs stock images and how to use them?

If you wonder, why anybody would have to use stock images, you have to think about two benefits: people save both time and money. Stock images are being used mainly for projects such as posts, social media, advertisements, infographics, e-mails, and websites. Marketing departments, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and other professional groups use stock images to visualize their ideas and draw the attention of internet users.

Is making the photos by yourself not a better idea? On the one hand, yes, because we receive the image we aimed for, but the whole process is time-consuming and costly. Employing a professional photographer may strain your budget. Making the photographs by the amateur may not meet our expectations, both because of the final effect and the quality. In both cases, the whole process of creation and editing may take a couple of or a few days. This is why stock images are the alternative accessible practically right away. 

Where stock images can be used?

  • in business, advertisement, marketing, for example in presentations, social media, branding materials or packages of products, 
  • in promotional materials, such as posters and leaflets,
  • in a graphical project, as the elements of the website,
  • as the diversification on the blog, in the magazine, or as the illustration in the book.

Stock images may be used in many ways. One has to remember about licensing and the license terms.

Editorial images and commercial images

The main difference between commercial and editorial images is the way of using those materials. It can be explained simply: commercial images are used to sell products, while editorial images are used in publications, such as magazines, newspapers, and textbooks. Commercial images are used by companies to sell and advertise the brand, product, or service. Such images may be edited in the graphic programs but they cannot be accompanied by the logotype of the brand or other logotypes.

Editorial images cannot be changed or manipulated. It means that those images cannot be edited, distorted, or changed, they have to stay unchanged and true to their original version. Editorial images are the source of information that accompanies articles, textbooks, or documentaries, hence they have to present factual events and phenomena. 

What are stock images?

Stock images publication – what is important?

While publishing stock images one has to pay attention to the intellectual property rights and image use. To use images of people we have to get consent to the publication of the image (we have to remember that the images can be used in different ways, for example in the article about embarrassing illnesses or on political posters). Image banks can reject the image with the logotypes of the specific company, sign shop, protected architecture, trademark, etc.

Other issues are related to the culture and customs present in the different countries. In some places, the thumb lifted means “OK” but in others, it is considered vulgar. Similarly with the gesture of victory, the characteristic V sign.

It is worth remembering that not all countries use left-hand traffic. That means that images have to be adjusted to the location and not all images will suit the article about the new traffic regulations in Britain.

High quality, professional image with a man, who kisses a woman in hand labeled with the signature: gentleman doesn’t have to become a hit – such custom is practiced only by some Polish citizens, and it is virtually not known to other nationalities, while among Croatians the custom of hand kissing arouse disgust.

If you plan to sell culinary photographs to the eastern market, remember that in India and Indonesia you are not allowed to touch food with your left hand. It is beneficial to remember such details and be culturally sensitive.


We have presented all the basic information about stock images. As you can see the creation and sales of such products may be a good way to the additional income. In the next article, we are going to address the subject of the correct execution of stock images as well as the ways the images can stand out from the competition.

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What are stock images? – Create & sell digital products #28 martin sparks avatar 1background

Author: Martin Sparks

E-commerce enthusiasts which constantly digs around the internet in order to make sure he hasn’t missed any important information on the topic of starting and scaling profitable online stores.

Create & sell digital products:

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  2. Why you should create your own digital products?
  3. 8 digital product ideas
  4. Best sales models to sell digital products
  5. How to use subscription model to sell products?
  6. What is an e-book?
  7. What to write an ebook about
  8. How to create an ebook?
  9. 8 examples of best ebook creation software
  10. How to create an ebook in Canva?
  11. 11 common ebook writing mistakes to avoid
  12. 5 ebook publishing mistakes to avoid
  13. 10 best platforms for selling ebooks
  14. 7 reasons to write an ebook for your business
  15. What are online courses?
  16. Types of online courses you can create and sell
  17. 9 features of a good internet course
  18. 7 things you need to do before creating an online course
  19. How to create your own online course?
  20. The best online course creation tools
  21. How to record online video courses?
  22. How to sell online courses?
  23. Best online course marketplaces
  24. Best online course platforms
  25. Online templates: 7 ideas for online templates that sell 
  26. How to sell Canva templates: 6 steps to the final product
  27. Best online marketplaces to sell templates online
  28. What are stock images?
  29. How to make a stock photo? 10 great tips for awesome images
  30. How to sell stock photos?
  31. What is stock music?
  32. 6 stock music libraries to make money
  33. How to sell stock videos online?
  34. What is software? Types and methods of distribution
  35. How to sell your software? 
  36. How to create your own mobile app?
  37. 5 programs to build apps without coding
  38. How to sell mobile apps?
  39. 6 models of app monetization
  40. How to sell digital products on Etsy?
  41. How to sell digital products on Shopify?
  42. What do you need to know about selling digital products internationally?