We hear this question a lot on social networks and user feedback emails so we thought a short post would clear up some of the misunderstandings that image users had.
Stock photography is the supply of photographs and vector art which can be licensed for specific uses and also broken down basically into three types. Rights Managed, Royalty free and Free. Those three types come with different rights that describe how the person who downloads the image can use them. Anyone working on a creative assignment would use these images and illustrations instead of hiring a photographer. In today’s world, stock images are organized in searchable online databases generally called digital asset management systems. Using online technology, stock agencies and individual photographers let image buyers purchase and download imagery online.
There are four different levels of stock photography.
1. Macrostock: Known as traditional stock photography and generally has higher priced, exclusive stock photos
2. Midstock: Stock photography priced between micro stock and macro stock, generally between $20-100 USD.
3. Microstock: Lower priced, royalty free stock photography
4. Creative Commons or Free: Generally requires attribution or a link back to the source but this stock photography can be downloaded and used for free