5 Things to Do With Cheap Stock Photos Besides Advertise

Most people use stock photography for advertisements. Indeed, if you’re not incorporating stock photos into your marketing strategy, there’s no better time than now. However, that’s the more common use for them. How else can we use stock photos? You know, besides advertising. Advertising includes print ads, TV commercials, brochures and the digital ads that we see in various websites and mobile apps. Here are five different ways you can be using stock photos you’re not busy whipping up an ad.

As a Cover for Distributable Media


This one relates specifically to royalty-free images without an extended license. Most people don’t have extended licenses for their stock photos – which is perfect advertising. But did you know that you can use stock photos as a cover for CDs, DVDs or books? On top of that, you can use them inside the books. However, without an extended license, you’re limited to 499,999 different impressions.

Specifically as teaching aids, as long as you don’t exceed the standard license limit of 499,999 copies, use them all you want as learning the material.

Editorial and News Use

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The difference between basic stock photography and editorial or news images lies in its licensing. Stock photography is designed to be used in a nondefining way. In other words, stock photography is not supposed to be used to enhance or underline journalistic pieces. You should build a look at any stock image and not be able to tell who is in the image (no celebrities or political leaders), where the image was taken (unless you’re showcasing something like architecture), or if the picture was taken at a specific event. There should be nothing in the image that explicitly ties that image to a person, place or event.

However, many stock photography agencies have entire sections designed specifically for editorial and news use. Usually members of The Associated Press or other journalistic syndicates accessories images to enhance their own stories. This is a particular need of where the image is supposed to tie into a specific person place or event.

Video Footage


Many stock photo agencies stock more than just images. They may also have several different high-definition video clips for use in videos. Since we’re excluding advertising, this also includes television commercials. However, stock video footage can also be used as part of the editing process for things like personal YouTube videos.

Videos of becoming more and more popular as the days roll on. If we take a look back at history and the advent of the Internet, we can see the Internet evolving. It started off as much more text-based. Everywhere you look, you saw walls of text with a ton of information. About 15 years ago (around the year 2000), images started popping up. People found that the text-based articles became a lot more engaging when images were added to the next. Today, images are at their peak. You can hardly go anywhere online today without singing website full of different imagery.

You might go as far as to say that images are on the decline. Now, I don’t think they’ll ever go away, but there is a type of media that is becoming more popular than images – and that’s videos. More and more videos are being watched every single day – you’ll see them on social media sites, YouTube and even blogs. It is estimated that by the year 2017, videos will be the primary way that information is conveyed online.

For Your Website or Blog


Although blogs becoming more and more integrated into marketing strategies, there are still several blogs out there that are nothing more than informative. To that extent, stock imagery can make blogs much more engaging. A common SEO tactic is to update your blog with new content at least twice a week. Use stock images to enhance your articles. Furthermore, if you wanted to edit the images in programs like Photoshop, you could create banners and headlines for your blog. Do you have a holiday themed blog post? Then put a pumpkin from stock imagery on a darker background, and then use orange letters as a title for your blog posts. It may come out as an image of your own, but if you put that image on the top your blog post, it will work wonderfully as a holiday-themed title.

For Use on Clothing Apparel or Posters

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This one specifically requires the use of an Extended License. In fact, most distribution calls for an Extended License. Read your license carefully, as most standard licenses allow you to use them on CDs, books and DVDs. However, if you were to reprint them on T-shirts, pins or other apparel – even in limited quantities – you’re required to get an extended license. Royalty-free does not mean you do what you want with the image. Lastly, before you use them on clothing apparel or posters, make sure you don’t incorporate your business image as part of stock photography. It’s against most licensing agreements and bad for business. Don’t you want your business to be unique? Then don’t use stock imagery as part of your logo.

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