What are Royalty Free Images?

What are royalty free images? Royalty free images are images purchased with a royalty free license. They are submitted by talented and dedicated photographers and artists around the world to stock photo agencies for royalties. As a result, creative professionals like you can purchase them for a one-time flat fee and use them in any creative project for as long as you need. You don’t have to pay for royalties each time you use the images for personal and commercial purposes.


Are royalty free images free of charge?

Royalty free images are not for free. Contrary to what other people think, royalty free images come with a price. This price is usually determined by the stock photo agency you buy it from and the quality of the images. Many stock sites now offer royalty free images of varied sizes for the same price. So, size is not a factor – except for websites that still consider it when pricing their images. The name might mislead you to thinking that they don’t cost you money.

The concept actually means you don’t have to pay royalties to the owner of the images every time you use them or when you generate profit from them. You only have to pay once and you can use the image anytime you want. Compared to Rights Managed and Editorial images, royalty free images are usually cheaper. They start at $1 to $15 when bought individually. You can even get them for a lot less when you purchase them in packs or when you subscribe to a plan.

Top Agencies that Sell Royalty Free Images

Many stock photo agencies offer royalty free images. They include:

  • Shutterstock
  • iStock
  • Fotolia
  • StockPhotoSecrets
  • Adobe Stock
  • Depositphotos
  • Getty Images

These stock photo sites offer high quality royalty free images. They have large collections of images in their libraries at different sizes and resolutions.

How are they different from Rights Managed Images?

Although both only require a one-time fee, royalty free and rights managed images have distinct differences. With royalty free, you can use the image in any project for as long as you want. On the other hand, rights managed only allows you to use the image in a specific way, at a specific place and on a specific period of time. In addition, you cannot get exclusive rights with royalty free. Exclusivity is available with rights managed for an additional fee.

What are royalty free images? After reading this article, you should be able to understand what royalty free images are and how they differ from their rights managed counterparts. Keep in mind that royalty free images do not equate to FREE images. They are available for a flat fee. We also included stock photo agencies, where you can buy high quality, royalty free images to jump-start your creative projects.

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