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Royalty Free Photography

Written by Jessica Duquette
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What Is Royalty Free Photography?

Royalty free photography has already been mentioned several times in this site. Before you invest in any photos or images, it is absolutely necessary to understand the differences between royalty-free and rights-managed. Without this knowledge you could be faced with unexpected bills or even a lawsuit.

When purchasing stock images there are two different categories to consider. Royalty free photography includes images that come with a one-time purchase fee. An archive may list the price of one image at $40. After you pay the $40 that image is yours to use as you see fit.

Just because you pay the list price for an image does not mean you have complete control over its use thereafter. Most web-based archives draw a clear distinction between royalty-free and rights-managed so as not to confuse the consumer. If you have any doubt about the usage rules of a certain image, contact customer support immediately.

Fluctuating Price Tag

Rights-managed images are also listed with a base price. Before purchasing this image you will be asked the purpose of its use. Depending on the medium (magazine, newspaper, etc.), the industry, the circulation and the size of the image used, the price will fluctuate. Once you have completed the use originally specified in the purchase, you are obligated to pay for any further use thereafter.


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