Stock photography is a word that has been synonymous with digital marketing, since the previous decade. As businesses rely on digital footprint to reach a larger global audience, the need for higher quality marketing materials has increased, as has the industry that delivers such content.

To comprehend the significance of stock photography in digital marketing and advertising, it is necessary to first understand what it is, how it works, how it has influenced businesses, and how it will continue to influence sectors worldwide.

What are Stock Photographs?

What are Stock Photographs?
Stock photography is an industry that develops and sells images in the form of pictures, graphics, or films, which may then be licensed by paying a fee to both the artists who created them and the stock agencies who manage them, obtaining the right to use them lawfully in various ways, while the author retains ownership of their work.

Stock photography subjects are often generic objects or scenes that may be used to demonstrate a certain notion, concept, or example. Stock photography frequently features landscapes, technology, architecture, animals/insects, and staged lifestyle scenarios with paid actors.

However, stock images encompass much more than just photography. Vector files – illustrations, configurable templates for print materials, social media graphics, or even infographics), soundtracks, stock footage, and even 3D models are all available for licensing.

Stock Photography Types

Stock Photography Types

Since the industry’s inception at the turn of the twentieth century, there have been three major forms of stock photography.

  • Macrostock: Macrostock, often known as Traditional Stock Photography, refers to photos that grant users exclusive rights. Macrostock photos are more expensive than other image genres due to their distinctiveness and exclusivity. Although Macrostock photos are occasionally made accessible to more than one but a restricted number of consumers.
  • Midstock: Midstock photography is a middle-of-the-road choice for stock photography that is priced between Macrostock and Microstock. It is often used online and provides both exclusive and non-exclusive choices for picture use. According to recent trends, Midstock photos are the most often downloaded high quality photographs online.
  • Microstock: Microstock photographs drive the revenue by volume and are less expensive than Midstock and Macrostock images, that is, numerous customers can buy the rights to utilize the same Microstock pictures.

Stock Photography Licensing Types

Stock Photography Licensing Types
The stock photography industry operates under one of the three licenses listed below:

  1. Public Domain (PD)
    Public Domain photos are royalty-free images that have inactive, surrendered, or inapplicable intellectual property rights. While clients may use PD photos for free, the majority of the images available online are repetitive, abstract, and low resolution.
  1. Royalty Free (RF)
    Royalty-Free photographs, which are sometimes confused with free images, require a consumer to pay a charge once and use the image several times without paying a royalty to the photographer or web platform. Most Microstock sites employ non-exclusive RF photos to increase money through volume.
  1. Right-Managed (RM)
    Rights-Managed photos are high-quality professional stock photographs that are often utilized by large corporations and individuals. However, depending on the licensing restrictions, the rights might be both exclusive and non-exclusive. An RM picture can only be used once. If a consumer wants to use it again, there will be additional fees.

Benefits of Using Stock Photographs

Benefits of Using Stock Photographs

  • Stock photographs which include stock photography, vectors, and drawings, provide several advantages for businesses and creatives, but the most important, immediate, and visible advantages are time and money savings.
  • Hiring a full-time photographer is too expensive. Even briefly employing a freelance photographer might be more work than its worth. You might not have enough money. And you might not need as many photographs as you think.
  • Stock photos, as you have just learnt, are already made and ready to use. After you pay for a license, you can download and use it within the terms that have been agreed upon. And Royalty Free photos are really inexpensive, surely far less expensive than employing a photographer or graphic designer.
  • More significantly, most stock photographs are created with commercial usage in mind and the photographers understand that marketers and company owners are their primary end-users, also they have everything in place to be high-converting graphics.
  • Stock photography makes your life easier. You may go through a stock picture database and get the images you require. You may include them into your media without the need to establish a contract for a staff photographer. It’s less expensive and takes significantly less time.
  • Stock pictures businesses are also aware of what is trending. They can analyze their data and produce a stock collection with photographs that people desire to utilize. Their libraries are carefully selected and designed to make it simple for consumers to discover what they need.

How are Stock Photographs Used?

How are Stock Photographs Used
Stock photography is a cost-effective, time-saving option for designers and marketing professionals to access excellent photographs without having to hire a professional photographer or invest in the resources required to organize a photo session.
Stock photography is used in the following media formats:

Business, Marketing and Advertising:

  • Social Medias – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter
  • Branding Material and Product Packaging
  • Letterheads
  • Trade booth displays
  • Presentations
  • Commercials on TV, Commercial displays, Web and more
  • Printed materials
  • Product packaging
  • Film and video
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Book Covers
  • Websites
  • Applications
  • Graphic Designing


  • Themes and Elements of Graphic Design Web Design
  • Decorate your house, business, or any public location with digital wallpapers.

Editorial and Entertainment

  • Covers for books and e-books
  • Illustrations for books and e-books
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Online publications and blogs
  • Presentations on Video Theatrical Broadcast
  • Newsletters

Promotional – Not for Sale

  • Flyers and Posters
  • Greeting Cards and Postcards

How to Use Stock Photographs

Special licenses allow people to utilize the photos in stock photo firms’ libraries. The license conditions are agreed upon by both the agency and the photographers. This guarantees that no one is taken advantage of. The photographers have given their permission for their photographs to be used in this manner.

Editorial use and commercial usage are the two most frequent types of stock picture licensing. Each has its own set of guidelines on how to utilize the photographs.

Editorial Use

The majority of internet stock pictures are licensed for “editorial use only.”

Images for editorial usage can be used in news media, blogs, and websites. Commercial usage of editorial pictures is not permitted. A stock photo with an editorial license cannot be used to market a product. Furthermore, you are not permitted to utilize them for profit. A commercial license is required if you wish to promote.

Commercial Use

The commercial use licensing agreement permits pictures to be used for business purposes. You are allowed to use them to promote your products or services. They can also be found in marketing materials for businesses and corporations.

They can incorporate logos and brand names, unlike editorial license photographs. Furthermore, the graphics can be utilized on resale items like as packaging and clothing.

The Ethical Use of Stock Photos

When it comes to stock pictures, you have a lot of freedom. You may utilize the photo in a variety of ways, whether you’re employing editorial photographs or creating a commercial endeavor. However, there are certain ethical issues to consider.

  • Every stock photography firm acknowledges its contributors. They are the creator and artist, and they deserve to be recognized for their efforts.
  • You should never pass off stock photographs as your own. This is not just unethical. It’s also unlawful.
  • You must be creative enough to guarantee that the artwork can genuinely be labelled your own. Making a few tiny changes is insufficient to claim ownership of someone else’s image. You must demonstrate effort and integrity.

Cliqstock – A Modern Stock Photography Agency

Cliqstock – A Modern Stock Photography Agency
Cliqstock is one of the largest royalty-free image and stock photography community. It is a global marketplace for the most recent high-quality designs for Marbles and Tiles, as well as Laminate Designs, Stock Photos, Vectors, and many other items.

Cliqstock was founded in 2021 with a unique take on traditional stock agency business models. As a platform co-op, we follow ethical business methods and ensure that our shareholder artists are fairly compensated for their work as 50% to 60% of all the licenses go directly into contributors’ pockets. Our members’ feeling of community and ownership fuels a stronger degree of creative fury in their work, resulting in inspirational artwork of the greatest quality.

Who is able to sell stock photos on Cliqstock?

Who is able to sell Stock Photos on Cliqstock
Anyone! Cliqstock is aiming to cover distinct content shortfalls. Take a peek at our success standards before submitting your whole portfolio. We have discovered that our photographs show local cultures, occupy a hitherto unexplored niche, and offer adequate space for text.

Along with the photographs, think of at least 25 terms that appropriately describe each image. When doing so, attempt to put yourself in the buyer’s position, since they will be looking for the perfect shot. You’ll get considerably more sales if you use well-chosen words to explain the image’s theme, colour, emotion, and abstract notions.

Thinking to make a career in Stock Photography, read Cliqstock’s Guide to make a Successful Career in Stock Photography.

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