Image Courtesy of Better Than Stock.


As a regular Betty blog reader, you’ve probably already realized that in order to legally use images for marketing your business, 9 times out of 10 you’ll have to pay for them.

Not all stock photography licenses are created equally, and knowing the difference can save you from receiving a strongly worded letter from an attorney.

Here are the major types of stock photography licenses:


Royalty Free

Royalty-free means that once a license fee is paid, the images may be used many times without paying additional fees.

Rights Managed

Rights managed allows the one-time use of the photo. If the user wants to use the photo for other uses an additional license needs to be purchased.

Extended/Enhanced Licenses

An extended license is necessary for items that you plan on selling where the image plays a major role in the item and adds value to it. You’ll also need an extended license for items being printed more than 499,999 times. (Think packaging or magazine advertisements.)

Free for Personal Use

If you plan on using the image on an invitation to your kid’s birthday party- go for it. If you plan on using the image on your email newsletter, for your business, which makes money, in the hopes of selling things and making more money- that’s a no go.


The chances that you’ll read ALL the terms on your stock photography licensing is probably about as likely as you reading the update to your ITunes user agreement. All we’re asking is that you read far enough to know you’re picking the right licensing option.

What are the consequences of using an unlicensed image? Well, you may use it and no one finds out. But, if you are found out, expect to receive a cease and desist letter. Because we know you’re lovely and honorable people who would never knowingly use an unlicensed image, you’ll be so shocked that you take the image down immediately and everyone is happy as clams.

Now, if you didn’t take the image down, a lawsuit could be filed against you for copyright infringement (that totally doesn’t sound like our idea of a good time).

Of course, you could get around all of this stuff by taking and editing your own images, but we understand that sometimes there’s no time for that. Visit our sister site, Better Than Stock for a wide variety of stock photography collections perfect for your blogging and social media needs; all royalty free and priced to please.