What is Stock Photography Business? Know more about stock photography, its types, and scope in business-2020

The word stock photography has made us wonder what it is every time we have come across it but failed to understand it. After reading this article, you can understand the concept of Stock Photography. Read the full article to have a clear understanding of stock photography.


Stock photography is a cost-effective method of acquiring licensed images for specific uses such as advertorial and marketing purposes. In other words, stock photography is cheap and has a low-risk level. With the increase in demand for photographs, professional photographers have increased their prices. To counter the high cost, people are considering stock photography. There is already a collection of pictures (stock resource) on the internet from where we can easily download, thus saving us the time and making us free from worries as we don’t have to hire a professional photographer.

Types/Models of Stock Photography:

1. Traditional Macrostock photography

2. Mid stock Photography

3. Microstock Photography

When did stock photography begin and how?

The first use of photo commercially was started by H. Armstrong Roberts in 1920 when he clicked a picture of the group of people in front of a Tri-Motor Airplane and made them sign a contract in which it was written that they would allow him to use their photo for other purposes as he pleases.

He then founded the first stock library as people preferred to use stock photography as hiring a professional to click a picture was very expensive.

After 13 years, a German curator named Otto Bettmann immigrated to the United States, carrying 15000 images in suitcases after escaping Nazi Germany. With the photos, he founded “Bettmann Archives.”

Latter many stock resources were founded with a vast collection of photographs and negative, used in making a historical document.

How Stock Photography Business Works?

To understand how the stock photography business works, we first need to know what is photo license and its types

A license is a contract in which the photographer grants specific rights to the client who wants to use the image. The client can only use the image within the scope of the agreement. Click here to know more.

There are three types of license in Stock Photography:

1.  Public domain: 

Public domain means the images are free to use without purchasing it (license). The photos can use for both commercial and personal use.

2.  Royalty-free:

In this type of license, the user (the one who buys the image) has the right to use the image without any restrictions after buying one time from the licensor(a most common type of license in the photography industry)

3. Rights managed also known as licensed images: 

Rights managed, also known as licensed images, refer to the copyright purchased for a picture’s one-time use. As mentioned in the license, if the user wants to use the image for different services other than mentioned in the license, he needs to purchase an additional license.

Now that we know what license is. Nowadays, one can easily visualize the business as pictures are essential for different events such as promotion, news, blogs, articles, and many other such things. To get the images, we need we have two options. Firstly we hire a professional photographer, and the other one is using stock images. The first would be very expensive and time-consuming, but the later would be the cheapest and time-saving alternative. Any rational person would choose the second alternative. To use stock photos, we have to buy the images so that the owner gets the credit for his/her creativity, and we get the ownership for the specific use.

Which stock photography sells best?

There is various niche of photography out of which some of these are the best selling.


mages of people in unique places, unique moments.Two smiling women holding drinks People Stock Photo

Two smiling women holding drinks
Two smiling women holding drinks People Stock Photo


Pets doing extraordinary things, wildlife photography, unique and rare images of animals

White cute cat Animal Stock Photo

White cute cat
White cute cat Animal Stock Photo

• Business:

Images of the creative workplace, best-customized desk, and all such related images.

People Working. Business Stock Photo

People working.
People working. Business Stock Photo


Different cuisine and restaurant

Food served
Food served.Food Stock Photo

•  Recent news:

Trending news and videos

COVID updates
COVID updates. Recent News Stock Photo

•  Nature: Different places with unique conditions

Sunset Nature Stock Photo

Travel: Visiting different places

Travelling Travel Stock Photo

• Trends: Current trends, memes

Trendy heels
Trendy heels Trends Stock Image

• Events: Pictures of different events and programs

A concert
A concert Event Stock Photo

• Festival around the year: different festivals around the worlds such as Diwali, Christmas

Holi Festival Stock Photo

Best Stock Photo Sites 2020



Adobe Stock


Getty Images










Life of Pix

Thank You for reading. Do like, share, and comment if you have questions.



Seema is a photographer as well as a blogger who also likes to write articles on photography and tools.

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3 Responses

  1. Naveen Sharma says:

    thank you bets doval for such informative blog

  1. April 17, 2021

    […] RELATED READ: What is Stock Photography Business? Know more about stock photography, its types, and scope in busi… […]

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