What Does Royalty Free Images Mean Really?

What does royalty free images mean? Royalty free images do not mean that it can be used “freely” without a payment. There is license fees that must be settle at once, and once payment is made, the buyer is “free” to use the image for an unlimited time. Although royalty free is “unrestricted” in ways that it has a few restrictions, the license must be used accordingly in a lawful and acceptable. Although royalty free images feature seem unrestricted, the license granted have prohibitions that affects the usage of the materials.

There are two types of royalty free images, defined according to usage. They can be either used for commercially or for editorial purpose. Commercial royalty free images can be used for marketing and advertising while editorial royalty free images are used for educational or for journalism purposes such as books and publications.

Commercial royalty free images promote and endorse products and services. Images are usually used on websites, graphic designs, in-house designs, online advertisement campaigns, promotional brochures, posters, etc. Images for commercial use are usually modern, contemporary and trendy. They are catalog type ready. They are catchy and evocative. Commercial images usually have short term value, decreasing popularity across the stock photography industry. The purpose of commercial RF images is usually to sell their products and services. Commercial images have higher costs since the images are used to sell and to earn income.

Editorial royalty free images are used for educational and/or newsworthy events. They are used in prints and publications like books, magazines, newspapers and periodicals. Editorial RF images do not generate income and are not allowed to be used for profit. They can be used for educational purposes, like attached to illustrate text or as graphics to enhance the text.  They can also be used to site sources of photos of public figures for reporting or commentary purposes. The purpose of editorial royalty free images is to provide factual information, just like in periodicals & textbooks. Editorial royalty free images are less costly but they tend to maintain their value compared to commercial images.