Stock photos are photographs that are licensed for commercial purposes. Commonly, marketing agencies and people who need a photo for graphic design will use them to add personality and excitement to an image — without having to conduct a photoshoot of their own. They’re usually not tied to a specific place or time, for good reason.
“With stock photos, I keep my edits realistic, not over the top,” stock photographer Nicole Glass explains the logic. “You want to give other people the chance to customise a photo to their own needs.”
Stock photography often refers to an industry more than an individual photograph and many are surprised to learn that stock photography has been a business model for photographers since the 1920s.
Types of stock photos.
There are different types of stock photography. Traditionally, macrostock photography refers to large packs of images sold with a licence for use in commercial materials.
What’s more common now is microstock photography, where businesses and individuals purchase individual photos or stock video from large online repositories, like Adobe Stock, finding the exact image they need from a massive available library.
Even free stock photos and stock imagery are out there.