Find all the information you need about buying stock imagery in one place, including; how image licensing works, what we mean by commercial and editorial use and what you’ll find in our collection.

If you know what you’re looking for, use the jump to menu on the left to find what you need.

1. How to find the images you need

Search our collection by entering keywords into the search bar. For some ‘tricks of the trade’ check out our picture research help page.

For our key accounts we provide a free, super fast research service and for others we recommend a number of suppliers offering this service.

2. How To Buy

You can do it all online or if you prefer you can ‘chat’ or call us. That way we can match how you want to use your image or footage to the right package, at the right price. For large corporate clients we can offer group deals and discounted rates for volume deals.

We can also give you access to hi–res files with no commitment to buy, so that you can see how things look in layout before making your final decision.

When you're ready, we can set you up with a corporate finance account or you can pay via credit card or PayPal – it's simple.

3. How our pricing works

The price of an image will depend on what licence type you’re buying and what you’re using the image for. The prices are displayed on each image comp.

  • If you’re buying an RF image the price will depend on what file size you need.
  • If you’re buying an RM image the price will depend on what you’re using the image for. You can calculate the price using our online calculator.

4. General information about licensing stock imagery


There are two different types of license in stock -rights-managed (RM) and royalty-free (RF). The license type is selected by the photographer and can’t be changed.

RM stands for rights-managed – With this license you only pay for what you’re using the image for. Rights-managed licenses can define how, where, when or for how long an image is being used.

RF stands for royalty-free – This is the most flexible option and the most straight forward. You pay a one–off fee to use the image with no restrictions on how you use image, how many times you use it or how long you use it for. You can use the image across multiple projects, forever. There are some restrictions on image use for * reselling’

If you have a preference for one of the license types, you can filter your search results by selecting RF or RM next to the search box.


If you're buying footage, it's pretty straightforward. There's one license type and some set package pricing available. If you have a specific requirement, our team can help customize a rights and price package to help you get the best deal.

360-degree panoramic images

These images are several pictures stitched together to create a 360-degree, spherical image that is fixed around a central point. You can interact with these JPEG images by moving them around. As they’re static images it will be the JPEG that moves and not the content of the image (for example clouds won’t move, but the perspective you see them from will).

To search for 360-degree panoramic images use the drop-down menu in the search bar. These images will have their own set of licenses based on the most popular uses or we can customize a license if you have a specific need.

Your image will download as a single JPEG file, to view it as a 360-degree panoramic image you will need a suitable viewer.

5. About image size and resolution

To check that the image you have chosen is right for your project you’ll need to take into account:

  • the resolution or dpi
  • the dimensions

The dimensions indicate the size that your image will appear when printed, and the resolution indicates how much detail will be included in every inch printed. You can find out more on our file sizes page and there’s also a handy blog with extra information.

6. What is meant by ‘commercial use’ or ‘editorial use’?

Commercial use means that an image or clip 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.

Editorial use is when an image or clip is used to illustrate a newsworthy article, a critique or an educational text.

Getting permission

If you plan to use an image commercially you might need a model or property release. A model or property release is signed permission from an individual, or owner of a property, giving permission for a photograph or footage (in which they or the property appear) to be used commercially. Standard releases generally don't allow uses that could be deemed to be controversial or defamatory - you’ll need to contact us to check if you can clear extra permissions in these situations.

It’s your responsibility to decide if a model and/or property release is necessary and appropriate for your intended image use. But don't worry, we can help you, go to our releases page for more information or get in touch.

7. About our collection

If you're in the business of buying imagery – whether you're a global brand manager, picture buyer, procurement manager, or someone who just wants a great image, and you're looking for creative or editorial stock, live news or footage, you'll find what you need in our collection.

We have over 370,838,681 million stock photos and 24,760,003 footage. And with Alamy Live News, our contributors from all over the world reach breaking news events. From award winners to specialists in their field, we've got the best creative and editorial imagery and footage from around the world, sourced from over 600 agencies and a network of more than 60,000 individuals.

There are some easy ways to see the best of what we’ve got, click on the following links to browse our site;

  • Themed categories – a handpicked selection of images for some of the most searched terms
  • Fresh picks - a selection of the latest imagery curated by our content team
  • Stockimo – our exclusive collection of creative, of-the-moment mobile photography

8. Public domain content

Our website might have some collections that include images that are in the public domain, not protected by copyright or where the copyright ownership is unknown. Content can enter the public domain when copyright has expired, has been forfeited or is not applicable. For these images we don’t claim any copyright or other intellectual property rights and neither do our contributors, we just provide you with access to a copy to use in line with the terms of the license you buy. Other copies of these images might be available elsewhere for free.

What is Copyright? Copyright is a law that gives you ownership over the things you create. As copyright owner you have the exclusive rights to sell, display and distribute the work however you want.

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