Top 35+ Best Sites To Download Free Stock Photos – Websites 2017 | UPDATED
This article elaborates on the concept of a stock photography, its opportunities and benefits. I will try to explain well what a stock photo is, what an image bank is, what kinds of image banks are there, how they operate, how a person cooperates with them, how you can earn money with them, what are licenses, releases and everything which is more or less connected to the concept of a stock photography.
The article is primarily addressed to photographers, illustrators and videographers (both amateurs and professionals). It also can be of service to fashion models, designers and all people not indifferent to the fine arts.
Well, what is exactly the stock photography? Stock photography is the media market connecting those people who need images for different purposes and those who can produce these images, i.e. authors. It’s an image bank which act as a connecting link between authors and consumers.
Image banks or Image stocks are organizations which contain certain pool of images and sell them (or grant the right to use them, to be exact). In case someone bought an image from an image bank, the bank transacts remuneration to the author of this image.
I use the term “An image” to mean a wide range of fine arts objects. Currently image banks accept photographs, vector artworks, screened illustrations, 3D-model renders, video clips, flash animations, audio tracks and even tricks (e.g., Adobe After Effects). So creative and keen people will be able to find themselves a room for creativity here.
How image banks work
An image bank, in its essence, is an intermediart between an image author and an end-user. Since an image bank earns money by selling images, its primary concern is to attract as many customers as possible, and for that purpose the bank needs to augment and diversify its image database. Image banks are a good means of getting some additional income for beginning enthusiastic photographers. Image banks undertake all routine work on the promotion of images, the search for buyers, communication with customers, sales organization, money transactions, copyright protection and customer protection.
Authors only need to create an image, upload it to an image bank and manage money that an image bank transacts to them in case of a purchase.
It is not only convenient for authors, but it’s also beneficial for buyers. If image banks did not exist, then in order to get a picture for an article, a person would have to produce it oneself or hire a photographer to do that. This requires lots of time and money. Instead of these expenditures, a designer or an author of the article goes to the image bank website, finds a suitable image and buys it for a price starting from one dollar.
How does this system work? An image bank engages authors in an official capacity, and negotiates an author agreement which protects both sides and acts as a contract on which cooperation is based. Further on, an author uploads their images to the image bank database, and the image bank, in turn, is busy looking for customers and making the image base content more popular among them.When an image has its potential customer, an image bank negotiates an agreement with a buyer that obliges a buyer to use the image only within the license bought, protects the rights of a buyer, an image bank and the image author. An important point here is that an image bank is not actually selling images, it sells the right to use an image, and this usage period is limited by a license. Even if an image has been sold a hundred times, the only legitimate author and copyright holder is the initial author of this image.
Image banks often use subscription to sell photographs. Subscription is a prepaid service, in other words, a customer paid some money in advance (for example, a monthly fee), and now has the right to download 25 images per day from the image bank website. Such a pattern stimulates sales but decreases the price of a single image. The image bank transacts the fixed royalty to the author for each sale under the subscription terms. On some websites a royalty depends on the size of the image downloaded and may fluctuate from 16 to 30 cents.
Kinds of image banks
There are two types of image banks: micropayment image banks (we call them microstocks) and traditional (classic) image banks (often called macrostocks). I will not speak much about the traditional image banks, I would only like to stress the emphasis on their difference from microstocks. The difference lies in that different licensing types are used, according to which microstocks and macrostocks put images up for sale.
Let’s stop on the example of images. Traditional photobank users want to purchase a unique product and are ready to pay more money for that. The price for a single image may be from dozens to several hundred dollars. There are few customers willing to pay that much, and this disables heavy sales. As for microstocks, a person can buy an image for $1 from there, and with that an author is to get from 20 to 60 per cent of the image price. It would seem irrational to work for peanuts. The point is that there are much more people willing to pay $1 and thus a photograph may sell several hundred and thousand times. This leads to an increase in revenues and in many cases it allows to earn more than in cooperation with the traditional image banks.
There is different content in microstock base and in classic image banks. This is due to the fact that user segments needs differ. Microstock content is more popular, it is vivid, bright and minimalistic, it’s huge in terms of practical application. By contrast, traditional image banks are filled with exclusive images to a greater degree. Unusual, extraordinary and sometimes odd images are more interesting to macrostock users. This images are infrequent, but they are remarkable in their way.
Lately, the stock photography market has transformed, so that traditional image banks have begun to sell images under royalty-free licenses for a price from $1, and microstocks have introduced the extended licenses with the price of one image from several dozen of dollars. Some microstocks also offer an opportunity of selling rights to an Image. The edge between these types of photobanks is being gradually erased, however, both types place emphasis on the specifics and the main audience.
Microstocks sell images under the “Royalty-free” license (RF). This is the most common type of stock image licensing. Let’s try to figure out what this is.
Royalty – a remuneration to the author.
Free – without any charge.
“Royalty-free” – without an author-rewarding payment.
However, this doesn’t mean that if you sell an image under this type of license, you will not be rewarded. It means that in this case a buyer itself does not pay you a royalty. A buyer pays to an image bank for having the right to use your image, and royalty itself is being paid by the image bank.
“Royalty-free” – is a type of stock pictures licensing, which implies the unlimited use of pictures in mass media mentioned in licensing terms and conditions. The unlimited use implies no limits concerning time or the location of use. But this licensing type applies restrictions on circulations of printed materials and has other restrictions which are listed in detail in every image bank’s license agreement.
Most microstocks offer two types of “Royalty-free” licensing: standard and extended.”Extended Royalty-free” license eliminates restrictions on the use of images. For instance, the standard license may restrict the circulation of leaflets with your image up to 250 thousand copies, and the extended license allows you to print as many copies as you wish. Or, for example, the standard license does not allow printing on T-shirts, the use in decoration of leisure locations, and the extended does not forbid to do this.
Because of much greater possibilities the cost of the extended license is much higher than that of the standard one. Author remunerations can differ by the size more than by 200 times! For example in case of selling the same image on the same photobank under the subscription the author can receive $0,16, and in case of a sale according to the expanded license the author can receive $35. The difference accounts for 218,75 times! It is a pity that sales according to the extended license happen not so often, as sales under the subscription.
Microstocks also offer another licensing type which is called “Editorial”. This licensing type isThis license type is intended for editorial non-commercial use and belongs only to photos. The main purport of these images – news articles. Unlike commercial photos, permissions of the people represented in pictures aren’t necessary here.
The international legislation protects author’s rights so qualitatively that now there is the hugest list of buildings, constructions, places, trademarks, logos, names and subjects which are forbidden to be photographed for commercial purposes. The worldwide known Eiffel Tower is a striking example of such restriction. Its paradox is that stocks will accept daylight photos with its image without problems but if you want to send its night photos to stocks, they will demand permission of the owner from you. Interesting?The point is that the nighttime illumination which delights citizens of Paris and tourists in patented by its author and protected by the legislation system. Of course you won’t be able to get permission from this genious lighting designer, but you will be able to upload the night photo on stocks marked as “Editorial” and stocks will accept this photograph with delight!
Where images are used
Stock images may be used in various projects:
Advertising (printed, outdoor (on billboards/street banners) and on the Internet);
Websites (site design, article pictures);
Books and magazines (advertisements, text pictures);
Leisure facilities design;
Shop facilities design and many other things within the license.
For the purpose of greater demonstrativeness I must emphasize that I have used 19 stock images working on this article. Luckily, I am the author of these images and I have placed them here for free. And if I had to pay for all these images, then, regarding their sizes, I would have to pay $1 for each. This would add up to $19. The author of these pictures would earn something from 40% to 60%. It appears that a journalist writes an article for a website, and the photographer earns $7,60-11,40 for this. Sounds good to me!
I have wanted to write a small article, but it turned out to be magnifical. But, despite this fact, I am sure that you still have questions or you have come up with new ones while reading. Please do not hesitate to send those questions to me via email, I will do my best to reply to them.
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