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Use of Stock Images in Ads, Copyrights and Treatment

Stock photography is the supply of photographs licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer. Today, stock images can be presented in search able online databases. They can be purchased and delivered online. Often, they are produced in studios using a wide variety of models posing as professionals, stereotypes, expressing stereotypical emotions and gesticulations or involving pets.

As more and more stock images are being evolved, more options are becoming available for the photographer and photo buyer. Image licensing is an important aspect which the buyer as well as the photographer must know.

Royalty Free

Royalty Free stock photography gives the image buyer the option to use the image in as many ways as desired while only paying one fee. License pricing are generally lower with Royalty Free. This license is cost effective because the buyer is choosing not to protect against competitive usage. The images are easy to use because the buyer doesn’t need to determine or track usage and is free to use in the images in multiple ways. Of course, there are also disadvantages. For the buyer, there is no protection against conflicting use by competitors and photographs offered in the Royalty Free domain are generally of lower content quality.

Rights Protected

Rights Protected license prices are generally higher then Royalty Free. In this case the buyer has control of the license and there is protection against having the photo used by a direct competitor for a competing use. Records of every use of a photo or image are kept to avoid conflicting rights between competing end users. Usually, images tend to be higher quality in content and subject matter for Rights Protected license. Rights protected images are licensed for a specific period of time and for a specific application which is negotiated in advance. The reason one would use rights protected imagery is to prevent competitors from using the same image in the same marketplace.

Rights Managed

Rights Managed is a license type similar to Rights Protected but does not guarantee exclusiveness unless an additional fee is paid. Usually, license prices with Rights Managed are somewhere in between Rights Managed and Royalty Free. Rights Managed means that the buyer pays for a license to use the stock photo for a specific use for a defined time period. Usually, the licensing is not transferable. They are only granted to the person or company who purchased them. The buyer may not sell, rent, loan, give, sub-license, or otherwise transfer the photograph or the right to reproduce the photo to someone else.

Use of stock images must be appropriate to your design and content. There are certain points you must keep in mind while using the stock imagery:

a – Don’t use a stock photo when you can easily illustrate or get a photo shoot yourself.

Apple Stock Image

b – Don’t use Cliché or over used images.

Technology Stock Image

c – Avoid using images that have been masked or have bad paths clipping. Instead you can do it yourself if you are really good at cropping the backgrounds.

Thumb Stock Image
(Image Source: hand with clipping paths)

d – Never use pictures that do not relate to your concept or content.

Nature Stock Photography
(Image Source: nature photography)

Don’t use the image just for decorating the page or the element you thought was nice, but use image that is in reference to your content.

a – If you buy the low resolution version of the image just because it is cheap, you’re going to ruin your effort and the whole design.

Low Resolution Stock Image

b – Do not use images that look out dated or non professional.

Outdated Stock Image

c – Using pictures in which the model has over posed will not look good.

Happy Face Stock Image
(Image Source: Man with happy facial)

d – If you want to use the image that is extended better use the professional ones instead of using the image that has poor cloning.

Stock Photo Cloned Dog
(Image Source: Cloned dog)

e – Placing the selling product directly over the image looks really retard and non professional.

Boy with Product
(Image Source: boy with hand)

Stock images are found in wide variety and it has become so easy to find almost any image on the internet through certain specified sites. E.g. ShuuterStock, Corbis, Gettyimages or masterfile. These images are available on low resolution so since they have the copyrights issues, therefore cannot be copied directly to be used in print ads. Either the client buys them or orders similar images. Use of stock images is hassle free, you don’t have to hire a photographer or create backgrounds or pay lot of money for the photo shoot. Stock image sites get all the information, how much is the viewership determines the price, in which region the image will be used and whether royalties are due to the image creator or owner. Sometimes you just have to pay once to use the multiple images or pay in a bundle and use a series of 3 or 4 images annually. Use of stock images in ads can be as creative as possible. Do you really want to use the image just as it is or should you be thinking more on conceptual basis? One important question….

Use of simple stock images without tempering.

Strawberry Stock Image
(Image Source: Sweet couple of red fresh)

Now this is an example of treated stock images using the creativity and not just placing the image as it is. Use of different colors in the back ground have been treated.

Stock images have copyrights, you just can’t pick up any image from internet and use it, you either buy it or order it. On the other hand many ad agencies use stock images to present the concept to the client and on approval later arrange the photography in the same atmosphere and replicate the images with their own models. E.g. if you are selling shoes obviously you will not use the images of shoes of some other company, rather will present the concept and then use your own shoes in the photos. The appealing look of the product or the appetizing appeal of any food item is just through the right image. Stylists, experts and photographers put in their best efforts to make the product look amazing so the audience is compelled to buy it. This is the art of stock imagery not achievable by any layman.

Chocolate Stock Image
(Image Source: Food Passionate)

Tempting…isn’t it? This is the art of stock images.

When we use an image that we’ve bought, begged or borrowed from someone else, we are implying (to potential customers) that it is our work because it’s showing the service we are selling. This is breaking the law…lying to your clients is not just good. Take reference from images, think and then re establish the images yourself. You may use a part of an image or just the background but selling somebody else’s product is not just good. In this way only you will be able to develop the trust and confidence of your clients who might not know at a later stage that you have actually stole somebody else’s images.

Room Stock Image
(Image Source: Bungalow Interior)

This is not your work so just use this image for reference.

This is not your product but you can use it to refer to the concept, can replace with your own imagery but leading to the same concept.

Treatment of images as discussed above can be a very creative thing. Use of different softwares can make the process easy but just treating the image for the sake of treatment won’t work, you have to give it a certain character.

You will be able to see lots of images being used in this poster. All these images represent glamor and glitz though even without treatment those would have worked, but giving them a distinct character make the whole image look more vulnerable and appealing. Not necessarily you have to pick an image and treat it, even a simple dot can say a lot. But stock images make life easy…you believe it or not, without them in today’s world, half of advertising wouldn’t even be possible.

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