External sources of image material

An alternative to supplied or commissioned photos is that of stock photography. These photos are offered on stock websites and can be downloaded free of charge or for a fee. Some stock sites also offer illustrations, graphics and videos.

Stock photography can be a handy option if you do not have or cannot create your own images. A disadvantage is that the photos can be quite generic and often have an artificial, commercial feel. For this reason they are best used sparingly.

Usually, the use of a stock photo is limited to a single medium or application. This means you are paying for the right to use the photo for a specific purpose/medium within a set period of time. To reuse it elsewhere, you often have to pay again. You can check whether this is the case by consulting the general terms of use supplied by the provider of the stock photo.

Paid stock photography

Examples of paid stock photography sites include:

You will need to create an account for these sites. Usually, you buy images using ‘credits’ that you purchase and that entitle you to download one or more images. The costs vary greatly between sites.
For some sites (e.g. ANP Foto), you request a quote in advance and receive an invoice afterwards. Most sites also offer subscriptions or discount packages if you wish to purchase a number of images.

Free stock photography

You can also take advantage of free stock photography. This is highly variable in quality and can rarely compete with paid stock photos.

You can access images free of charge on sites such as the following:

You can also search Google Images, Flickr en Wikimedia, but pay close attention to the copyright situation. You may only use genuinely royalty-free images, so be sure to check that this is stated explicitly.

In Google, you can search for images using the tools option ‘suitable for non-commercial reuse’. Always check whether the images are genuinely royalty free.

The Creative Commons licences, for example on Flickr or Wikimedia, deserve special attention. You can find more information here

We strongly advise against the use of protected images or images for which the copyright situation is at all unclear. Infringement of copyright is a criminal offence and can lead to legal problems with the copyright holder.