What are Stock Images for Commercial Use: Everything You Need to Know

29 Aug , 2017 Last News

What are Stock Images for Commercial Use: Everything You Need to Know

Stock images for commercial use come with special usage rights! If you want to know more about these photos – read this article!


When searching stock images on websites such as Shutterstock, Unsplash, Pixabay, and etc. it helps you to understand which photos are available for personal, editorial or commercial use.

If you click on a certain photo, you can see more information related to the copyright terms. Stock images for commercial use can be incorporated into a service, product, ad campaign or anything else you want.

However, the editorial stock photography can’t be used for commercial purposes. We are going to take Shutterstock (one of the best and most popular websites for stock photos) as an example. At Shutterstock, you will see that editorial photos are marked – Editorial Use Only, meaning they can only be used for informational or news purposes. Many of these public figures, photos feature celebrities, and products can’t be licensed commercially. But, if you are a journalist who prepares a story about an upcoming movie, then you are allowed to use the editorial stock images that complement your story. This also applies to documentaries and nonfiction books.

If a photo is not marked with the “Editorial Use Only” label then it is intended for commercial purposes. You can use these images for ads, merchandise, product packaging, and other activities. The stock photos for commercial purposes can be divided into two categories – direct and indirect photos.

Direct photos include using the photo for clear-cut financial purposes, for example, a product branding or an ad campaign. On the other hand, the indirect photos use refers to content that increases awareness of a business, regardless of whether it is a holiday greeting or a helpful blog. Even though the product here may not be highlighted or at the forefront, the stock images are clearly helping your brand in an indirect way. We can say that even promotional merchandise given away free of charge is a clear commercial act, considering the fact that you increase revenue and brand awareness.

Now that you know everything about images for commercial use, you can check Shutterstock and its amazing collection of more than 70 million photos. Besides Shutterstock, there are other websites you can use for free such as Pixabay, Gratisography, Snapographic, Picography, Jay Mantri, Public Domain Archive, Unrestricted Stock, SplitShire, Life of Pix, and etc.

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