There are several types of stock media licenses you need to be aware of when you sell/buy stock photos. Royalty-Free is the most common license, Rights Managed offers exclusivity, and Extended License allows for extra uses. You should carefully read all licensing terms and conditions of each stock photography agency, as permissible uses may vary.
● Royalty-Free (RF) License (Commonly known as a Standard License) – it means your image can be used multiple times without paying a royalty. It is usually chosen by budget-minded designers, who do not want to spend a fortune on hiring a professional photographer. RF images are non-exclusive, meaning you can sell them multiple times to many customers (and on other stock photo agencies including your own website).
● Extended / Enhanced (EL) License – presently most stock photo agencies allow customers to purchase an Extended or Enhanced License. It gives them permission to extend the uses of a previously licensed work (usually Royalty-Free). It may include increased number of copies, use for resale purposes (prints, postcards, calendars, t-shirts, greeting cards, mugs, etc.). It also allows for other methods of distribution and use.
● Rights Managed (RM) License gives exclusive, time-limited use of a stock image. RM licenses are granted on a pay-per-use basis. It means your stock image can only be used by the licensee for one particular project, only for a set period of time, and/or only in specified geographical area. Rights managed images are expensive, but designers are willing to pay for it in order to make sure nobody else can use the artwork or to be able to run more prints.
● Editorial License – some agencies now accept Editorial Use Only images. It means the images can only be used in: a newspaper or magazine article, on a blog or website for descriptive purposes, (in a non-commercial presentation) and cannot be used for commercial advertising purposes.