Ammentorp Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Can I use this image commercially?

When you’re licensing a stock image it’s really important that you have all the right permissions to use it before adding it to your campaign. Without the right permissions you could find yourself tied up in legal issues further down the line.

On Alamy you can buy both rights-managed (RM) and royalty-free (RF) image licenses – we have explained each of these at the bottom of this blog.

If you buy an RF image you don’t need to worry about any additional permissions as we check that these images have the relevant releases when they are uploaded to us. However, for RM images there are a few things you need to check before making your purchase:

1. Model and property releases

When you’re buying an RM image the first thing you need to do is check if you need a release.

You’ll need a model or property release if you’re planning on using the image ‘commercially’, this generally means that an image or clip is used to sell a product, promote something or raise money for a cause. If you are using the image editorially then you can use the image without a release. Editorial use is when an image or clip is used to illustrate a newsworthy article, a critique or an educational text.

Not sure if you need a release? Use our releases infographic to find out.

How to check if an image has a release

On each image page it will state whether there is a model or property release. If it says ‘yes’ next to either ‘model’ or ‘property’, this means the image has the release. You can search only for images that have the relevant release by using the filters at the top of the search page.


2. Restrictions

On some of our RM images there are restrictions. This means that the image can’t be used for certain types of projects. If an image has restrictions it is clearly stated on the image page and it will be clear what the image can and can’t be used for. We also make things easier by not allowing you to purchase images for uses it is restricted for.

The restrictions are placed on the image by the photographer and on some occasions they can be removed for a one-time use, so if you find the perfect image but it is restricted for your use give our customer service team a call and they’ll do whatever they can to help.

3. Buying the right license

If you’re buying an RM image you need to make sure you buy the right type of license. There are two ways of buying an RM image on Alamy. You can either use our ‘popular price packages’ which will give you options of the most popular image uses in broadly defined brackets, or you can use our price calculator which lets you calculate the price for your exact usage.

Whichever way you choose to buy, you need to be as accurate as possible about how you’re going to use the image. If you buy the wrong license you might find yourself with legal issues down the line.

Below is a quick explanation of each license type, or head over to our blog ‘Licensing stock images with Alamy’ to find out more.

Quick definitions

When you’re buying stock imagery, you are buying a license rather than buying the image itself. A license gives you permission to use the image, but it doesn’t give you ownership of the image.

Rights-managed (RM)
This is one of the license types you can buy. With this license you only pay for your exact use of the image. Rights-managed licenses define how, where, when or for how long an image will be used.

Royalty-free (RF)
This is the most flexible license type and the most straight-forward. You pay a one–off fee to use the image with no restrictions on how you use it, how many times you use it, or how long you use it for. You can use the image across multiple projects, forever.

Editorial use
Editorial use generally means when an image or clip is used to illustrate a newsworthy article, a critique or an educational text. A model release is not required for editorial use.

Commercial use
Commercial use generally means that an image is used to sell a product, promote something or raise money for a cause. This includes use in advertising, marketing, promotion, packaging, publication covers, advertorials and consumer or merchandising products.

Model or Property release
A legal release form signed by the person or people in a photograph, or the owner of the property in the image, giving permission for the photographer to use or sell the photo in one form or another.