Although royalty free is the popular choice now, that does not necessarily mean that it suits your creative needs and budget. Rights managed can bring greater savings too, depending on a number of factors. You have to evaluate your needs and goals first to determine which license best suits your needs. Rights managed or royalty free – here are some things to consider when choosing a stock photo license to use.

Non-Exclusivity and Brand Diluting

Imagine two competing brands using the same photo for the marketing campaigns. This does not only bring laughter to the audience, but it also brings confusion on which brands to correlate them with. This may seem a small issue, but a number of these cases have happened in the past. One popular example is when Gateway and Dell used the same image years ago.

Using the same image as your competitors dilute your brand marketing and identity. This could have a negative effect on your marketing strategy because your target audience will have another brand to remember every time they see the image you chose for your campaign. Even if the companies are not competitors, it could bring unwanted connections that can be either misleading or embarrassing.

To avoid these problems in the future, we recommend companies to use rights managed images for their marketing campaigns, which can be found here. RM include exclusivity rights that allow you to use the image in a specific period of time and location solely. It assures you that nobody else will overshadow your campaign or ad.

The Problem with Exclusivity

Royalty free comes with lower prices and multiple usage rights. It is usually widely distributed, and are non-exclusive – meaning you might see them in other websites. Many buyers can purchase the license at the same time. Even with millions of choices in the market, there is still a chance that you will find the same images you purchased from another website in another.

Most stock photo agencies put the most popular and most purchased images in the first page of the search results, so those images have probably been downloaded by many other creative professionals. If you want to choose royalty free image over rights managed, we recommend digging deeper into the search results to find an image that has not been used multiple times.

The Verdict

So, which license should you choose – rights managed or royalty free? Although price is often the factor to consider when purchasing stock images, you should not overlook the pros and cons of the licenses you purchase them with. Determine your creative needs and find a license that best suits them, and you will be able to make the most out of it.


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