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Licenses for Stock Photography

For photographers, it is easy to enter the stock market. But what about the licenses? Yes, there are licenses for stock photography and licensing each photo is important

It is easy to buy photos from Stock Photography Sites. But the buyer needs to be aware of certain licenses which are necessary to know when going for buying photos online.

In Stock Photography, along with the photos certain rights are also sold. The buyer needs to be aware of all these rights in order to make the right choice of license it requires to buy.

The types of licenses used while buying Stock Photographs are:-

1.       Royalty Free License

2.       Rights Managed License

3.       Extended / Enhanced  License

1.      Royalty Free License:-

Royalty Free License is always referred to as RF. This is the most commonly used and affordable license for Stock Photography. Royalty Free licenses are the ones where in the buyer can use the image several times without paying for the image every time he uses. Instead he just needs to pay the license amount and the photo charge once and get done with the payment. The disadvantage of Royalty Free License is that these photos can be purchased by many buyers and are non exclusive. Royalty Free images are sold by file size.  A high resolution version of an image with a large file size (such as 60 MB) would cost more than the low resolution version of the same image with a small file size (such as 1 MB).

2.      Rights Managed License:-

Rights Managed License is referred to as RM. Rights Managed Licenses are those where the buyer needs to pay for every use of the photo. Also, the buyer has to pay according to the usage of the image. Each usage is calculated separately and an image is sold for a 'single use'. A Rights Managed License gives exclusive, time-limited use of a stock image. Right Managed Licenses also include Model Release agreement. Even though Rights managed images are expensive to license, they offer protection against brand dilution and allow for larger print runs.

3.       Extended / Enhanced License:-

Some Stock Photography companies allow you to purchase an Extended or Enhanced license that extends the permitted uses of a previously licensed work. The license extended is usually the Royalty Free License. Extended licenses give you the permission to "extend" upon the uses granted in the original license. These uses may include increasing the number of copies showing the image, use it for resale purposes, or allow for other methods of distribution and use. Uses vary from company to company, so be sure to read the licensing agreement in detail.


Where an image is intended to be used extensively across multiple media for instance, a Royalty Free image may well be much more cost effectivePsychology Articles, or if an image is to be associated with a premium brand a Rights Managed image would probably be more appropriate.


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Hi, I am Aashika, a photographer. I realized there are many fellow photographers who wish to enter the market of Stock Photography. But having entering Stock Photography is not easy. So, just to help mt fellow photographers, I am writing this article, so that i can help them understand the market of Stock Photography easily.

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