At Mallorca Graphics, we often get the question, “why do I need to pay for the image? There are lots of free ones on Google.” But there are many reasons why you should buy stock photos.

What is the difference between Images from Google and Stock Photos?

The first and most important is copyright. To use an image on your poster, magazine, or website, you need to have the right to do so. Copyright is a very shady word, as there are so many things that can be different from copyrights to copyright on different images.

First, to Google, 99% don’t give you a copyright to use them on your work. That itself is enough reason to don’t use this image in your work. If you are caught using an image without rights, you can at best get a warning and told not to use the image more. To the worst, get a hefty fine.

If the image is used on your website, there are not any problems. You replace it, this time with a stock photo. But if you, for example, have created a 68-72 pages magazine and printed out 50,000 copies.. then you are told that you have not the right to use some of the images. Now you start to get a big problem.

All the magazine you have printed is not worth anything, and you do not have the right to distribute them as long as you don’t come to one agreement with the owner of the image. And that usually ends up in a very costly agreement.

How are the images copyrighted?

This can have significant variations from image to image. But normal, it tells you where it has allowed being used. There also used to be a big difference between if it’s used privately or commercially. And if it’s commercially, you often told how many copies you have allowed to do, and sometimes, how long you allowed to use the image.

All this information is always stated for each stock image before you make the buy.

More reason for not using Google Image Search?

Another factor is the quality of images. Almost all image on the web is in a resolution of 72px. This is enough for your website, but not for anything that should go to print. The standard for print is 300px, and that is also the resolution on a bought Stock Image. Even if the image looks ok on your screen, don’t give any guarantees that it will do on your printed material. And many printing companies will not even accept your work if the images don’t have the right resolutions.

Are there any free Stock Photos?

There are sites on the web that offer free images, but you still need to read the copyright, as some have restrictions where it can be used. But mostly they can be used wherever you need. On probably the biggest source for the free stock image on the web (correct me if I’m wrong), most of the images say “Free for commercial use, No attribution required.” so in other words, can be used on print or web without any restrictions.

At Web And Design Agency, we always use allowed images. Either bought, from a free source or created by ourselves. As we also explain under our Graphic Design page.