Understanding the difference between stock photos and royalty free stock photos

Photography has evolved over the years ever since the first picture was taken way back in 1886. Back in the day, photos were taken for a specific purpose thus making it a custom shot depending on the occasion. However, today, with more and more images being used for representational purposes in the media, customs shots are being replaced by stock shots.

Stock photos essentially refer to a collection of images which have already been taken by professional photographers keeping in mind the brief given by their clients. The use of stock photos was more economical than a flying to a particular destination to get the desired shot. For example, if you wanted a picture of a beautiful beach somewhere in a tropical paradise, flying out there just to take a few pictures will make no sense at all.

Instead, local photographers, there can take pictures depending on the brief you give them, and upload the same via the internet which will not only save you time but a lot of money as well. This concept evolved the development of dedicated websites to find and purchase stock photographs. These websites and agencies made it very easy for professional photographers to market their pictures and for designers and media houses to buy the images compiled by these sources. These photographs are divided stock photos and royalty-free stock photos.

What are stock photos?

Stock photos are priced based on their usage, rather than paying for a custom shot. The medium for which this picture will be used, the duration for which the images will be used or will be live on a website are the determining factors of stock photos and is the major difference when compared with royalty-free stock photos. Stock photos cannot be used multiple times unless the required amount has been paid for usage rights, separately each time. These are more expensive than royalty-free stock photos.

What are royalty-free stock photos?

Royalty-free images can be used multiple times after a single fee has been paid for the same. It doesn’t matter how many times the image is used or whether it has to be used across different mediums and platforms. One fee will allow you to download the image and use the same at your discretion. The amount of fee will depend on the resolution and quality of the image which will depend on the website from where you want to download. Popular websites for stock and royalty-free stock photos are Shutterstock, istockphoto, pexels, bigstockphoto and graphicstock among others.

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