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24 June 2014 Stock Photography

Free stock photos

Free images are a great promotional tool both for stock photo agencies as well as their contributors.

We all love free things, offers, discounts, etc., so the idea is to offer lower quality work (but still within quality requirements set by a given stock photo agency) for free to attract more photo buyers/designers so they download free content, while directing them to or displaying paid content in case someone is not happy with free stuff and wants to pay for other images. This can be done in many different ways, from displaying a free image on an agency’s website home page, on a separate page/site or simply by including links in newsletters, etc.
It is very clever, as free content is usually lower quality work that do not sell well or at all, but when properly advertised it attracts more customers who anyway will search for better quality stock images.

Where do free images come from?

From us, stock photography contributors, who donate stock images and give our consent to distribute them for free. It means anybody can download our stock images and usually terms and conditions of royalty-free license are the same as for paid images, so be advised to read them carefully before you decide to donate your artwork.

The main reason for which you would like to donate some of your stock images is an exposure of your portfolio to more than the main collection search engine only. This is a practice many stock photographers/artists do, because when you give one or two images for free you can attract a potential customer to visit your portfolio and pay for other work.

Giving your photos for free is a process managed by stock photography agencies in various ways, and for example:
- all your images (in their smallest size) are available for free (FreeDigitalPhotos), but they must be published with an acknowledgement to a stock photo agency and the image creator/owner on the same page or screen where the image is used. If for any reason buyer does not want or is unable to publish an acknowledgement, they must purchase the image to avoid this requirement.
- you can decide to donate any of you images and at any time (123RF);
- you are sent an e-mail to remind you that some of your images are X years old without downloads so it is right time to donate it or disable it (Dreamstime) - this is the rule the agency worked out to get rid of low quality work if it does not sell within specified period of time, so instead of deleting it off their database you can donate it and increase your portfolio exposure;
- while uploading your stock images you can tick a box to donate individual images (subject to approval by reviewers) in case they are not accepted to the main collection (Fotolia).

These are only examples and the process may vary from agency to agency, and we also understand that it is always difficult to give anything for free, but its main goal from contributor’s perspective is to provide a wider exposure to your portfolio and drive more traffic to it by offering some of your images for free.

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