Can I Use Royalty-Free Images For Commercial Use?

If you are looking for a way to create stunning in-store displays, YouTube videos, or adverts without worrying about legal action, consider using royalty free images. These licenses are very flexible and allow you to use images indefinitely, no matter what your purposes are.

However, you need to read the licensing terms carefully before using any of these images. You may not be able to use them in certain ways and some sites prohibit commercial use altogether.


Whether or not you can use royalty-free images for commercial purposes depends on the license agreement that was provided with the image. The license you use must clearly outline the intended uses for the photo and how you will be paying for them.

There are several different licenses that can be used with royalty-free images for commercial use. They include royalty-free, rights-managed, and extended licenses.

Royalty-free licenses are generally cheaper from the start and do not require any payments for additional uses as long as they’re outlined in the licensing agreement. This makes royalty-free licenses a great option for anyone looking to save money on their stock photography purchases.

A rights-managed image license is similar to a royalty-free license, but it has more restrictions. These may include time duration, region, platform of choice, or format and edits.

In some cases, you can even purchase exclusive rights to an image. This means that no other buyer of the image can ever purchase or acquire the same image license and use it for commercial purposes, including advertising.

For any photos of recognizable people, or private property that is not publicly accessible, you should always have the person who appears in the photo sign a release form before using the photo for commercial purposes. This will ensure that you can use the photo for your design projects.

If you’re not sure whether or not an image is a royalty-free image, check with the site that sold it to make sure. This will help you avoid getting into any legal trouble and protecting your business and its reputation in the process.

You can also check with the photographer to see if they’ve signed a release. Some photographers will be happy to do this on their behalf for an extra fee.

You can find royalty-free images from many sources, including subscription-based stock photography websites and fee-based stock photography agencies. Some of these sites offer free downloads, while others have a membership model and charge a monthly fee or a set number of credits. Be sure to check out all the terms and conditions of each agency to avoid any problems with your usage.

Model Releases

If you are a photographer, you may be wondering if you can use royalty-free images for commercial use. Usually the answer is yes, but there are some restrictions to consider before you submit your photos for licensing.

Generally speaking, you will need to obtain model releases for any photo that contains identifiable people (people who are visible in the photograph) who are not part of the background or otherwise out of the frame. This includes professional models, friends and family, and other identifiable individuals in the image.

You should also get a release for any picture of someone that shows private parts, including buttocks, breasts, or genitals. This is considered “nudity” and it is a major issue for photographers.

In some cases, you may be able to use an image without a release if you can show that the person in the photo is not identifiable or is under 18 years of age. However, it is important to have a parent or legal guardian’s signature on the release if the model is not an adult.

If you are unsure whether or not an image requires a release, ask your editor or publicist to help you. They will be able to tell you whether the image should have a release and will advise on best practices for capturing and archiving signed releases.

The best practice for capturing and archiving released photographs is to digitize them. It is easier to store a digital copy than a hard copy.

You should also ask for a signed release from the model’s lawyer if you have one. This will reduce your legal risk.

While it may seem like a lot of work to fill out releases, it can actually save you time in the long run. Having a signed release on file will reduce the chance of a person filing a lawsuit against you for unauthorized usage or publicity rights violations.

Depending on the jurisdiction and your business model, model releases can be an important tool to help defend yourself against potential legal claims or infringement. They can also give you a peace of mind that your subject is fully aware that their image will be used by authorized customers for commercial purposes.


Royalty-free images can be used for commercial purposes, but they have limitations. These restrictions depend on the terms of the license you use, and you should read them carefully.

One of the main restrictions is that you can’t use royalty-free images to sell products, like digital downloads or physical merchandise. This is because you’ll need a different license.

Another restriction is that you can’t use royalty-free photos in a way that would suggest a model endorses your products or services. This is because most models don’t want their picture being used to advertise for a product or service that they don’t personally use or support.

If you plan on using a photo that contains someone or something recognizable, such as private property, restricted access areas, or ticketed entry locations, you need to obtain a signed release from the individual or organization before you can use it for commercial purposes.

There are also some specific types of commercial projects that may require additional royalties. These projects include branding, brand identity assets, product design, e-commerce, and large-scale print jobs.

The most popular way to find royalty-free images is through a stock agency. These agencies offer a wide variety of high-quality images, and you can usually find them for a reasonable price.

Many of the best RF agencies also have a huge selection of other content, including videos and illustrations. These agencies often also offer free trial packages, which can be helpful for bloggers and small business owners.

Some agencies, such as Depositphotos, are particularly good for e-commerce businesses because they offer high-quality images at low prices. They also have a large collection of images for editorial uses, such as publications, blogs, and social media posts illustrating matters of public interest.

These agencies often restrict their usage in the same way that rights-managed agencies do, and they can limit how often you can reproduce an image for your project. For example, some agencies allow only 500,000 prints.

These agencies can be a great resource for your creative projects, but they can be difficult to manage as a business. It’s important to make sure that your team understands the rules of these agencies, and you should always follow them when incorporating a new image into your business.


If you’re thinking about using royalty-free images for commercial purposes, there are some things you should know. First, you should be aware that copyright law is alive and well on the Internet. That means that images, music and videos are protected by law – even if you don’t see any copyright symbols or watermarks.

Second, you should also know that there are various types of image licenses. Popular types include royalties-free, rights-managed and extended licenses.

For example, a Royalty-Free (RF) license is a one-time fee model, which grants users the right to use an image as many times as they want for permitted uses defined in the licensing agreement. RF images are usually a cheaper alternative to Rights Managed (RM) image licenses, but you should be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

Another important thing to remember is that you should never attempt to resell or gift RF images to other people. This is because it is illegal to sell or share copyrighted material without a permission from the owner.

Lastly, you should avoid using RF images that portray recognizable people, places or properties. This is especially true for photos of private property, ticketed entry locations, or restricted areas.

If you do try to use RF images for any of these purposes, the image creator or owner may send you a DMCA take-down request, invoice you and demand payment and attribution. This can be a major headache and even result in a lawsuit.

The best option for businesses looking to purchase RF images for their products or services is Depositphotos, which offers a large library of high-quality RF images at low prices. Their RF collection includes over 200 million high-quality photos, vectors, illustrations and video.

If you’re unsure about whether you can use royalty-free images for your business, it’s best to seek advice from an expert. They can provide you with information on the legality of using a particular image and can help you decide if it’s the right choice for your project. They can also tell you how to properly attribute the image and what type of restrictions apply.

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