When Do You Need to Buy Images for Commercial Use

Not all good things in life are free. Some will cost you a few bucks for a lifetime worth of copyright protection. Yes, we are talking about stock photos. Stock photos are very important tools to save money and time on marketing, advertising, branding and creating social media presence. They come in two types of licenses: Standard and Extended (Enhanced in other agencies). Both allow you to use the photos for commercial use. So, what is really the difference?

  • Standard Licenses. The Standard License, also known as Royalty-free, lets you use the images for commercial use as cleared by the stock photo agency you buy them from. You can use them in any commercial project that does not involve selling of the image directly and repeatedly. Typical commercial uses include social media posts, banners, marketing campaigns and store decoration. The main restrictions are the number of copies you can distribute and the selling of the photos in products or designs you intend to resell for profit.
  • Extended Licenses. The Extended License is the upgraded version of the Standard License. As the name suggests, it extends your usage rights and removes the common limitations of its Standard counterpart. It also adds some very useful rights such as unlimited print runs and the use of products for resale. When you buy images for commercial use with this license, you can legally include them in products you will repeatedly sell for profit.

What is the best source for buying images for commercial use? A number of stock sites offer images for commercial used with Extended License. It is up with you to choose the one that suits your creative needs and budget. Among these high quality and budget-friendly choices are Shutterstock, Stock Photo Secrets and iStock.

Shutterstock calls their Extended License Enhanced. They have one of the largest image collections in the industry, so finding the perfect one for your creative project won’t be a problem. They feature reasonable price points, too. For as low as $199, you can purchase images on demand. Depending on how many you want to buy, you can save more money in the long run as the bigger the pack you buy, the bigger your savings.

Stock Photo Secrets is specifically created for small and medium businesses. They offer very cheap deals for high quality images. They recently added Extended License packs, so you can purchase images for commercial use. A single image will cost non-members $80, but members can enjoy a 50% discount at $40 each. The packs never expire, so you can use them whenever you want.

iStock specializes in royalty free images for commercial use. But they also include an Extended License to their arsenal, which is only available with credits. All images comes with the Standard License. But when you download with credits, you have the option to add an Extended License to let you use the images in more ways. A single image with Extended License costs 18 credits.

If you are looking for images to print on t-shirts, mugs, posters, and others, you should buy images for commercial use with Extended Licenses.