Lets say you publish a magazine, newsletter, or website and you’re writing a story about city life in barcelona, and you need photography to liven up the text. One way of getting the images is to send a photographer all the way to barcelona to get the pictures you need, but this isn’t exactly the most sensible option. Another way is to find a freelance photographer over there to get the pictures you need, but this would probably be expensive. The third, and best option, is to purchase stock photography. Stock photos are images that a photographer has already shot and are available for you to reprint.
The biggest advantage of stock photography is that you can get images at a fraction of the cost of using your own photographer or a freelance photographer. Stock photography is comprised of two types of images: royalty-free and rights-managed, or RM. A lot of stock photography websites offer royalty-free and RM images. Royalty free images are often less expensive than rights managed images, but you will find that Royalty Free images will also be published by hundreds of other publishers because of this and the reduced restrictions of use.
Rights managed stock photographs are not as widely published. The price for using the image is usually based on whether or not you want exclusive use of the photo, what size the photo will be when it’s published, and the number of publications it will appear in. For example, a 1/5-page shot on an inside page of your magazine will be cheaper than if you were to use the photo on the cover. Also, if your magazine has a circulation of 50,000, the photo will cost less than if you had a magazine circulation of 1,000,000.
Another big advantage of stock photography is the ability to view and instantly download stock images. You dont have to wait for prints or negatives to be sent to you. You can easily view all of the available photographic images and download the ones that you want, usually at whatever resolution you need. The images are digital so there will be no reduction in quality.