Category Archives: Articles

Articles to help you sell your stock photos.

Cutcaster Launches Copyright and Licensing Resource – Stock Photo License

The legality of digital image use is often murky, and many resources that try to explain it are too full of jargon to make sense to people outside the photography or licensing industries.

Stock Photo License (SPL), a newly created resource from Cutcaster, explains legal photo usage for image researchers, photo buyers or anyone who wants to legally use images found online. Stock Photo License provides a framework for making informed licensing decisions and stock photo purchases, and highlights online resources that can help protect against legal pitfalls.

Check out Stock Photo License and comment below if you have a question about licensing images online.

See a copy of the Stock Photo License press release below.

Cutcaster Launches Educational Copyright Resource, Stock Photo License
September 16, 2010 – San Francisco, California, an educational copyright resource for photo buyers and researchers, launches their new website today with the goal of explaining in simple terms how one can use an image online and the various legal complexities of digital image use. The site provides detailed information on image license types, photo copyright issues, legal protections and extensions, using free images, Creative Commons, personal vs. commercial use and provides a list of questions you can ask your image suppliers before you buy an image.

As image use among bloggers, website owners and graphic designers increases, many image users don’t understand specific licensing terms or how to legally use content they find online. This has increased the amount of illegally downloaded images and copyright infringement cases, most of which happen without the image user realizing the legal ramifications of his actions. Stock Photo License provides a checklist roadmap with questions you should  consider to ensure the legality of your online image use.

“We receive a variety of questions relating to the differences between royalty free and free images as well as how an Internet user can utilize images they find online.” John Griffin, of Stock Photo License and Cutcaster said. “Stock Photo License specifically presents information and resources on image licensing and copyright matters for the image researcher, photo buyer or anyone that wants to legally use another person’s image they found online.” The website lists copyright and legal resources as well as asks typical questions with answers to help an image user.
was created by Cutcaster, a photography marketplace that specializes in royalty free photos as well as free images, to serve as a resource for both photographers who upload their images online and those looking to download images. has an active user base and is seeking to add more resources to its list of specialists. If you own or know of a copyright or licensing resource that could work with Stock Photo License please reach out to the team at or follow SPL on Twitter @stockphotousage.

For more information on Stock Photo License please email or Cora Reed at

About Stock Photo License

Stock Photo License (SPL) presents information and resources on image licensing and copyright matters for the image researcher, photo buyer or anyone that wants to legally use another person’s image they found online. The website’s goal is to provide those who are unsure about image licensing with the information, legal definitions and resources to make informed and legal stock photo purchases. Stock Photo License is for every photo researcher, photo buyer, photo user and photographer who is interested in learning more about the changing landscape of photo licensing and is a collaborative effort between all the parties involved with photo licensing.

About Cutcaster

Cutcaster has tapped into a new and unique source of royalty free photos and illustrations that can be used for any kind of web design, publishing, printing brochures, advertising, annual reports, or presentations. Cutcaster created the first model that adds structure to support licensing user-generated photography and vectors when you don’t have the budget to do it yourself. Sellers can set their prices or use the Cutcaster Algorithm to determine a fair market price. Photo buyers purchase content at a set price or by placing bids.

Visit for more information.

Photographers’ Frustration and a Path for Change

It feels like déjà vu all over again, doesn’t it?

Fall seems to be the season for falling commissions. We’ve seen it in the past with the big boys, and now even the smaller players are dropping photographers’ commissions without a second thought. Is it because companies are in dire financial straits?  Or are they simply indifferent to the contributors on which they rely?  Do they have so much supply that pissing off a few photographers won’t affect the behavior of the majority?  Are venture capitalists swooping in to squeeze money out of their investments at the contributors’ expense?  Or is it just good old-fashioned corporate greed?

I am frustrated and mad. I have many friends who sell photos, and who are negatively affected by declining commissions.  I also own a business that is trying to succeed in an industry where agencies seem to operate behind a cloak of secrecy, while photographers passively accept changes that suck for them. Commissions are falling, agencies are lowering prices to compete, and supply is inflated.  The industry has grown stagnant as a few companies monopolize it, leaving little room for smaller companies to compete. Most photographers are uncertain about what, if any, course of action to take.

But we must not cower in the face of uncertainty. We need change and we need to act now.  Here are some ways to get started:

1. Remove links to sites that reduce payouts without notice or to sites that keep details hidden in confusing press releases. Don’t market sites that don’t care about YOUR bottom line.

2. Do link to sites from your blog, website or portfolio site that pay higher commissions, even if they have less sales for you. These sites need your help getting links in order for them to affect positive change in the industry. Don’t stand idly by while the established players lock you into a worse future.

3. Stop referring buyers to your lower paying commission sites and start sending them to sites that pay you better commissions.

4. Start an upload embargo for 6 months to a year. Don’t upload new or exclusive content to sites that decrease payouts without notice or discussion.

5. Upload to sites with lower payout thresholds and commit to keeping those limits low.

6. Don’t go exclusive with one agency. Only go exclusive with certain new uploads that you know sell better at certain sites, and only with sites that pay you a high commission.

7. Delete your portfolio from sites that do not clearly explain their commission and pricing strategies.

8. Explain to buyers how royalty drops hurt your individual business, and let them know that they can get the same images for the same prices at sites that help you by paying higher commission. Most photo buyers do care about you and about the photography industry; they need to know that you are getting unfairly screwed and that they can help reverse this at no extra cost to them.

9. Commit to a new agency that you trust on a non-exclusive basis. Support them with your uploads and, if you choose, a small amount of exclusive content for them to market. Write a blog article or post in a forum about the agency and why you chose it.

10. Convince fellow photographers to act with you, taking concrete steps TODAY towards improving your situation.

Photographers and photo buyers have strength in numbers. It takes a cooperative community of people to affect lasting change. If you feel commission drops are unfair and non-transparent, ACT. Your actions will speak for themselves.

Please comment below with any suggestions or ideas that we can add to the list. Your ideas can help change the industry!

Funny Print Advertisements

If you are like us you don’t like advertisements. In fact, the majority of the people really despise adverts. They can be misleading, annoying and lack creativity. But if you can use humor, wit and intelligence to get your point across that people get, then you have got yourself a winner. We know a great ad when we see one. They make you take notice and talk about it when you are with your friends. You might even share the ad with friends and not even think its an ad because it is so humorous or smart. Check out these ads below to see how the creators avoided making the advertisement intrusive, deceptive and boring and used humor to get their point across.

For more funny, gruesome, sexy and bizarre ads that will inspire you check out these 30 hilarious print ads.

How to Build A Photography Business With Multiple Streams Of Income

Understanding multiple revenue streams in today’s economy can give you a leg up over other photographers competing in your industry. Over at the Virtual Photography Studio blog, the writers posted an interesting article on expanding your photography income so you are not relying on only one source of income to pay all your living expenses and retire on. It’s more common for less experienced photographers to only have one source of income and not diversify their streams of income. This could potentially set themselves up for money troubles if that revenue stream dries up one day. The article talks about setting up multiple streams of income so that as a photographer you can have several sources money coming in, thus making it more unlikely that all your cash will dwindle to zero because you have been relying on one source to supply you with all your money. If you are a photographer, who is just starting out or need a few ideas for how you can make more money with your photography this is a great way to educate yourself on other money making options your photography skills can bring you.

Here are the top three extra sources of revenue that we found to be the most interesting for our readers.

1. For obvious reasons- Stock/Microstock
As you are shooting an event or a portrait, why not spend a little extra time creating stock images? Microstock may not pay well per image, but add it up over time with a bunch of different images selling well, and you’ll quickly have a very effective stream of income.

2. Training
Why not teach your clients how to use their digital cameras better? Or bring them in for a fun craft project involving their portrait experience? Great add-on sale with a portrait experience.

3. Affiliate
Many different product and service businesses offer partnership opportunities where you make a commission if you bring in a sale. While it may not be much, every little bit helps. And if you end up bringing in $100 from to different partnerships every month, it quickly becomes a pretty significant part of your monthly revenue.

Expected Trends in Conceptual Stock Images

We all wonder what to shoot next. Some have it down to a science and do a ton of research. Some just shoot and hope to get lucky and grab that perfect shot. Determining what the next trend will be is never easy but Soren Breiting at did a great writeup on the expected trends in conceptual images that we wanted to share with our Cutcaster community.

The below is a snippet of his findings:

As the financial crisis continues with negative implications for many consumers around the world, photographers can speculate over what that will mean for the demand and use of pictures.

Here are some possible trends to watch and shoot:

The growing complexity of the world and daily life of people might impose a trend to concentrate on the not so complicated sides of life. We know that the quest for amusement is often increased under times of depression. Visits to cinemas, restaurants, entertainment and other easy going activities might become more popular. So be prepared with fresh picture material of such situations.

Happy family life might also be a focus point, despite the effects of unemployment and the economic downturn that try to counteract it.

The ‘myself in focus’ trend might be further strengthened with focus on media success and the like as some of the concrete outcomes. The increased use of social media is an obvious indication.

Soren mentioned the potential to take portraits especially effective for the ‘face in social media’. – This is about how to stand out, and how to look with credibility.

With the flood of books on personal development and the self-help industry we have another important trend worth while to be aware of. The ever growing industry of alternative treatment – a rather depressing sign from the point of view of rationality and scientific justification – but a trend that you can profit from with pictures.  And herbs of all kinds seem to possess an over-natural potential to cure and help people.

The growing number and ratio of senior citizens has been in focus for a long time but as some countries have had to reduce their public spending on health-care, pensions and social services we might expect further demand on the positive as well as the negative sides of becoming older.

Finally Soren mentions the growing acceptance of the shift in psychology and therapy to the mantra of positive emotions and positive psychology. Surely this will be a field that will grow in demand for illustration and publications in the future.

The more you can combine some of these trends the more successful you might be on the marketplace as an image
provider or publisher.

Find and Download Google Background Images at Cutcaster

So Google has changed up their website and now displays a background image on their white homepage. Want to get a great images for your Google background? Find amazing background images, photos and illustrations for Google. Spice up your Google homepage with one of our background images. Search over 600,000 royalty free images and illustrations which we have organizes below for you. Select a background image for your Google homepage from more than 10,000 free images and illustrations as well. Change your Google background image with a Cutcaster image. If you need help on how to add one of our images to your background please just email webmaster AT

Abstract backgrounds – abstracts are great for presentations, backgrounds and wallpaper.

Baby stock photo - We love babies at Cutcaster.

Banking and Finance Images – We keep our eyes on the news!

Baseball photos – If it’s spring it’s baseball season!

Sunny Day at the Beach photos – It’s about time to play on the beach.

Businessmen, Businesswomen and Business Team Photos – One of the top searches. Our business people are tops.

2011 Calendar vector illustrations- Our 2011 calendars are tops.

Car and Automotive photos – Automotive topics are in the news and in demand.

Cell Phone, Telephones and Telecomunication- Check out these fantastic images of people on the phone.

Children and Kids Stock Photos- We love kids too!!!

Computer and Technology stock photos - Computer and laptop images in high demand.

Concept- This is a light box of Law Concepts. Search Concept for all of our light boxes with special themes.

Cooking and Eating photos – Healthy cooking and eating images in high demand.

Dog and Canine Stock Photos- Pooch portraits are on the rise.

Drinking and Celebrating Stock Photos - It’s happy hour! Search light boxes for Beverages for all our drink light boxes.

Flowers stock photos - Still one of the most searched words. Check out our premium box.

Food and Eating photos - We have some of the finest food photographers in the business at Cutcaster. Search on food for light boxes of food collections.

Fruit and Vegatable photos - Beautiful, seasonal, fresh.

Stock Photo Furniture - Isolated or in place, furniture shots have a lot of uses.

Garden and Gardening Photos - Gardens, gardening, and outdoor living are hot topics.

Golf stock photos - Fore!! We are looking for the greenest greens.

Health Spa stock photos – Spa topics are sought after at Cutcaster.

Illustration – Illustrations like web icons, illustration silhouettes, concepts are in demand.

Medical stock images- Medicine and health care images are in high demand. We would love to see hospital and doctor’s offices.

Money- Currency, financial, trading, and thrift concepts.

Office Team stock photo- Office people in groups, interacting with each other.

People family stock photos- Families acting naturally together in demand!

Stock photo real estate – Front page news, real estate concepts are needed now.

Sky and Weather stock photo- Something as simple as the sky, or as complex as weather are searched for now.

Soccer images – We are looking for sports of all kinds.

Spiritual – Religion topics, we need many more of these themes.

Wine stock photo – Connoisseurs love our wine images.

How to add a background image

Sign in to your Google Account in the top right corner of the Google homepage.
Click Change background image in the bottom left corner of the Google homepage.
Choose where to select your background image:
From my computer: Select the image download from Cutcaster saved on your computer’s desktop.
Once you’ve chosen your image, click Select at the bottom of the window. It may take a moment before your new Google homepage background appears.

How do I remove Google Image background?
You can remove your background image at any time by clicking Remove background image in the bottom left corner of the homepage.

Only select images that you have confirmed that you have the license to use. You can obtain a royalty free license for any of the images you find at

How can I use a stock photo I find online?

A lot of times when you find an image online that you want to use it might not be that clear what you need to do in order to legally license the image and use it for your creative project. Whether there are questions surrounding the license type, the usage, any restrictions, who the actual copyright holder is or if your usage requires a model or property release. To sum up some of the ways you can use photos at Cutcaster we created this short writeup to show you how you can use Cutcaster images?

Cutcaster images may be applied to the following uses (in most cases limited to 500,000 copies under our Standard License):

• You can use any images in advertising posters and brochure design for use in promoting the sale of other products.

• Within editorial or advertising copy in newspapers, magazines, books, book covers, school textbooks, editorials and directories.

• In coordination with opt-in marketing.

• For product packaging.

• On letterhead and business cards, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs and on pop-up and/or panel displays for use in trade shows or at conventions.

• In multimedia presentations and incorporated into film and video for distribution and/or sale in the home video market OR for broadcast and/or theatrical display..

• Use as a background image or splash screen within software .

• On cover art and/or artwork used on in CD or DVD .

• In eBooks for any e-device reader, including multi-seat license electronic textbooks.

Please note, certain restrictions apply depending on whether you’re purchasing the images under a Standard Licensing contract or if you are purchasing an Extended License (EL). You can learn more about the differences between licenses by clicking on this link to our legal page.

Are there ways I CANNOT use Cutcaster images?

There are some use cases, in which you are prohibited from using an image purchased from Cutcaster under our Standard License. These include:

• Print runs exceeding 500,000 copies unless an Extended License is purchased which would give you an unlimited print run.

• Print on demand (POD) projects such as wallpaper, postcards, mousepads, mugs, t-shirts, posters, giclee prints, artwork and other items.

• Any unbecoming or derogatory depiction of the model or persons pictured in an image, including use of models in pornographic material, political endorsements and alcohol, drug, or tobacco campaigns.

You also cannot:

• Resell or share Cutcaster content.

• Use any Cutcaster image as part of a trademark, service mark, or company logo.

• Try to depict that the image was created by you or anyone other than the copyright holder of that image.

Please always read the contract first before you buy any images form Cutcaster and consult your legal team if you have specific questions. We are here to help but are not a substitute for your specific usage. Feel free to contact us at webmaster AT cutcaster DOT com.

How we review photos and illustrations at Cutcaster?

Although reviewing content is subjective and can be frustrating for both sides, we want you to understand that you are a part of our team now and we treat you like family. We understand how your content is the lifeblood of Cutcaster and will never forget that. Cutcaster is nothing without your contributions. We strive to maintain a transparent, consistent and effective review process.

We aren’t always right in our review process and we know it. Just as you sometimes mis-keyword or forget to attach a model release, we make mistakes too and you shouldn’t take it personal at all. We have deliberately assembled a diverse team of photo editors, which have expertise in reviewing content. In some cases, we try to error on the side of caution so everyone is protected.

Submitted images are generally reviewed within 24-48 hours. We are fast and know how important it is to get your content out. Reasons for a delay longer than that might include questions surrounding your images like quality or clearance which need a second look. Normally that is resolved within 5-7 business days. Please keep in mind that image review times vary depending on how many editors are currently covering a given review queue and the current volume of submissions on any given day.

If you have questions about the details or want to get feedback on your images, we encourage you to email us at with a detailed description and file example to help us.

Regardless of the outcomes, we hope that having a team of editors reviewing your images will have value in itself. We are all in this together and will all learn. We look at the reviewing process as a mechanism for ensuring that the best of your work is represented and not necessarily as a door for you to get through as much as you can get approved.

Good luck, and Keep on uploading!

12 Commandments of Keywording your stock images and vectors at Cutcaster

The 12 Commandments of Keywording success according to Cutcaster ;-)

1. You only need between five to fifteen (5-15) keywords. Twenty (20) would be the most you ever really need. Better tagging means better search results, bringing in more users, which means more sales for your images at higher prices then other sites. We would rather have fewer files that have better keywords than more files with plenty of irrelevant keywords

2. Keywords need to be separated by a comma. Compound phrases need to be separated by a space and then surround by commas. You don’t need any quotation marks.

3. You can add ONE SET of location tags. Avoid using locations as tags unless there is something in the photo that makes its location recognizable. Not a seagull in the blue sky.

4. Remove all the keywords that are obviously not in the images

5. Remove tags that could be tangentially related, but aren’t really illustrated well by the photo. i.e. picture of cat, adding in “mouse”

6. Remove tags that are related to the photo, but so vague that no one would ever use them to search.

7. Take a few of the choice words and make them far better by turning them into a phrase

8. Don’t “stretch” your tags into irrelevancy, in order to generate more hits for an image. This can be very frustrating for our users, who tend to search literally.

9. Figures of speech, nicknames, slang, metaphors and metonyms can create a ton of problems in a search engine. Please don’t use them. The reviewers will add them in if necessary.

10. Proper Names and Catch Phrases — Don’t Break Them Up. If you have a keyword that is either a very common set of two words, or is a proper name, enter it as is. The search engine has the ability to recognize many phrases that operate as a common term but contain more than one word, such as “hard drive,” “hot dog,” or “White House.” It also recognizes the names of many public and historical figures.

11. You do not need to type in ‘car, cars’ to cover the singular and plural versions of a noun. Type in only the one that is more accurate for your photo. If there is only one car, type in “car.” Your image will come up in a search for both car and cars, but it will be ranked higher if the plurality matches what the buyer searched for.

12. Be as literal as possible. Describe just what is in the images.