Every entrepreneur, business owner, marketer, or blogger knows how important it is to get a hold of affordable stock images.
Not understanding how image licensing works can end up being a huge issue in the future if you use images which you have no right to use. Copyright laws are not simple to understand, and most photographers are very protective of their intellectual property.
These images are used for a variety of purposes online, some of which are:
- To supplement blog posts, articles and web content and make them seem more appealing
- To serve as background for quotations, messages, and social media posts
- To make emails, landing pages, ads, and infographics more visually attractive
- To give a professional look to your materials, whether for creative or business purposes
Stock Images Defined
Many new business owners in the world of online business have probably heard of the term frequently, but never had the chance to actually learn what “stock image” really means.
Stock images are professional photos that you can license commercially. They are easily accessible online via different providers or platforms.
With new ones being produced and submitted online by photographers worldwide, you have a whole range of options available. Just pick the most suitable one for your purpose.
Royalty-Free Versus Rights Managed
The more common type of stock images is called “royalty-free”. This is often mistaken as free of charge, but it simply means that you don’t have to pay for the use of the photo over and over again. You only need to buy the license once, and you can keep using it for whatever purpose you want that’s indicated in the licensing agreement.
Oftentimes, these RF stock images are utilized for presentations, catalogs, websites, videos, blogs, newsletters, landing pages, social media posts, and creative projects. They are readily available for instant download, and you can purchase licenses based on file size and other factors.
In many stock image websites, you can pay for a single image or go for a subscription. Sometimes there are assigned credits you can make use of depending on your level of subscription. What’s good is that you have more than one option to consider in this regard.
On the other hand, rights managed images refer to those which only allow you temporary use. The license fee is based on the purpose of usage and the estimated number of viewers. The rights you buy expire. No wonder this type isn’t popular.
Nevertheless, you can expect RM images to be of higher quality than RF images.
Benefits of Choosing Licensed Photos
Why go for licensed photos when you can get your hands on those that are absolutely free of cost?
There are some stock houses or platforms, such as Pixabay, that provide absolutely free stock images. It’s not royalty-free. It’s really free! You can download these images without paying for any license.
So why bother with the licensed ones?
Well, for one, licensed photos have better quality. Second, there’s a whole lot out there to choose from. You will surely find one that best depicts your message or goes much better with your written content rather than if you only choose from the no-cost images available.
What’s more, there is lesser chance for your image to have exact replicas all over the web. What if you use this image for your e-book cover and it also appears on several other materials? It loses its meaning and significance.
Here’s another aspect to look at— the commercial rights involved. Some bloggers, inexperienced marketers, and clueless startup business owners simply grab photos straight from Google. A few of them may include credits to the source, but oftentimes the source mentioned isn’t even the original one. This practice is technically problematic. And at times, the images are of low quality.
If you’re a teacher, perhaps you can get photos from search engines for your lessons. If you’re an office worker, maybe this could also work for your meetings and presentations. Such may be more or less harmless and deemed of personal use. But when it comes to commercial use, it’s best to go for licensed.
Now there are some businesses that would rather go for actual photo shoots. This option is preferred for big businesses with big budgets. This is also the conventional method for magazines, advertising agencies, and the like— businesses that have creative departments which take care of such photography requirements. Furthermore, real estate developers, retailers, and other such companies cannot make use of stock images for obvious reasons. They need to show actual images of what they are promoting.
When it comes to solopreneurs, startups, and even medium-sized businesses, it is best to go for licensed stock images over own photos, unless you are taking pictures of your own products. It’s not only more cost-effective, but you can also be assured of better quality and a more professional impression. It also helps save time and effort.
Top 10 Sites to Visit for Affordable Stock Images
It’s quite affordable to buy the license for royalty-free stock images. There are many sites where you can easily avail them. Here are some of the top ones that are highly recommended by many business owners, bloggers, and marketers:
It’s not just popular and widely used, but the pricing and subscription levels give you more options in terms of payment. You can even opt for one-off pricing. At least it works well with any budget, especially since there are tons of great photos at very cheap prices.
Another popular stock house, Getty is a known go-to for RF stock images. It’s got an enormous library of powerful images at very affordable prices. This provider also offers flexible options for varying budgets.
If you love large-sized images, this stock house will make you happy. There’s a lot of images available at over 5,000 pixels wide. And of course, who has not heard of “Adobe”?! If you are using Adobe Photoshop or any of the other software Adobe has, it’s easier and more convenient to get your photos from Adobe Stock.
Not only is Shutterstock a trusted provider of stock images, but it really gives you plenty of wonderful options. Even the photos that appear on related suggestions are very good.
A lot of users have reported this site to be great with relevant related searches and a number of high quality images at very affordable prices. It also allows you to make use of various filters for your search, such as arranging by price.
In this platform, it’s not just easier to filter by price but you can easily check out the price range by just scanning the search results. The best offer here, though, is the fact that you can also access royalty-free footages, music, and sound effects.
This is another option that offers lots of great search results at low, low prices!
Although Canva is more of a design platform, it also offers a range of super cheap RF images which you can manipulate according to your desire with the site’s built-in design tools.
Pikwizard has over 60,000 completely free images on the site with over 20,000 being completely exclusive to Pikwizard. They add images daily and the company’s ultimate goal is to exceed 1 million images.
Some entrepreneurs recommend this because of its overall great value. Even if the pricing is not the cheapest, you’ll get your money’s worth.
Increase Your Content’s Value with Affordable Stock Images
When picking stock images, you have to decide based on what will boost the value of your content more. Now that you know the basics on these images, you can go and explore the available options. See which one suits you best. Have fun!