What is stock photography?

I’m always in need of a new face to photograph, so no surprise that I get asked “What is stock photography” all the time.

Stock photography is seen pretty much everywhere you look. In newspapers, magazines, billboards, book covers, blogs, corporate literature, websites etc… It is pre-existing photography that can be licensed from a stock library company like iStock, Getty Images, Shutterstock, Stocksy, or even the photographer themselves. Depending on whether the license is Royalty-free or Rights Managed, the image has a set of terms and conditions applied to its usage.

Business of all types use stock photos to illustrate their service, ideas or any message they want to get across to their audience.

Whether it’s for advertising, marketing, editorial or educational purposes, every image you see being used in media comes from either 1: hiring a photographer to shoot it or 2: using a pre-existing image from a stock library company like iStock or Getty Images.