Stock photography is referred to as the supply of images that are used by publications and designers, which are generally licensed for specific uses. The client buys the license of the image that they want to use.

The three licenses that are used for stock photography are Royalty-Free, Rights-Managed and Extended or Enhanced.

Although the licenses have become easier to understand, some find it complicated. Here’s a quick run-through to elucidate the same.

Royalty-Free license

The most common and also the most misunderstood license is a royalty-free license. There is a popular belief that these images are free, but they are not. Under this, the licenser pays royalty every time an image is used. A publisher of a newspaper or a magazine, for an instance, pays a royalty for any usage beyond the first negotiated rate. But under the Royalty Free model, they are allowed to use it considerably for a flat rate with conditions depending upon the image provider. Buyers usually prefer royalty-free licenses to avoid any problems ahead. They can use a picture multiple times without any major constraints.

Rights Managed license

This refers to copyright licensing which allows the buyer to use a picture within the terms stipulated. Every time an image is used, it needs to be licensed. The option for exclusive and non-exclusive is what makes this licensing agreement desirable. This model empowers creators with how their images are used.

Extended license

The extended license grants the purchaser a lasting, non-exclusive worldwide license to make use of the digital product the buyer has selected. The buyer is licensed to use the product to create an end product for personal use or to sell to a single client. The license of the end product is then transferred to the client. The buyer can create or trade any number of copies of the sole end product. Although this license is a single-use license.

However, as mentioned above under no circumstances the buyer can resell an image and is refrained from using the image inappropriately.  Nonetheless of the type of license, it’s important to note that unless a client specifically asks to buy the image’ rights, the artist possesses the copyright.