What You Need to Know About Image Licenses

Stock images are like lifeblood to businesses in this online, social media age. From their use in marketing materials to website branding to social media images, they help businesses grab attention and refine their brand.


When it comes to using stock images for your business, it’s important to ensure that you purchase the right license if you’re buying from iStock or other image sources. Typically, when you buy a stock image, you’re buying a standard license that allows you to use it for personal, business, or commercial purposes, that aren’t otherwise restricted by the license. That last part right there is really important to note as many business owners often purchase a stock image and think they can use it however they see fit within their business. BUT that’s a very fine point that’s important to note and you must read further to find out WHAT uses are restricted.


For example, the restricted use license for iStock images indicates that you may not use one of their stock photos in your trademark or logo or you cannot use content marked “editorial use only” for promotional or advertorial content, to name a few.


Another thing to note is that unless you have an extended license, you cannot use a stock photo in electronic content that you intend to resale. So, for example, if you’re creating an electronic informational product that you intend to sell, if you’re using iStock photos you must buy an extended license for that. Even if you’re not using iStock, it’s important you look at the terms of the license.


A number of online magazines and businesses have been sued for unintended yet illegal use of stock photos.


So, when it comes to image licenses, make sure you read the fine print and the standard and extended license agreement for every site that you download stock images from. You’ll want to be aware of any nuances.

What to Do About Stock Images When You’re Working with a Designer

As a client who is working with a designer, make sure your designer purchases a license that is valid for your project needs, if you’re not providing your own stock images. You can create an account that a designer can purchase from, or a designer can purchase on your behalf, or, as mentioned above, you can provide the already purchased images to the designer.


No one wants to get sued for illegal use of stock photos, especially because most times business owners aren’t intentionally using them inappropriately, they simply don’t know about the terms of the license agreement.


If you have any questions about where to find great stock images for your brand or need a designer to help turn those images into a final design for your business, I’d love to help.  Reach out to me via the contact page to get in touch.

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