Published on 7 June 2017 | Updated on 17 January 2020
Free stock photos are great promotional tools both for stock photo agencies as well as their contributors.
We all love free things
The idea is to offer lower quality work for free (but still within quality requirements set by stock agencies) to attract more photo buyers/designers. They download free images but in a meantime can also browse paid content. If they are not happy with free stuff they can buy other images. Offering free content can be done in many different ways. From displaying one free image on an agency’s home page, on a separate page/site or 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. When properly advertised, it attracts more customers who anyway will search for better quality stock images.
Where do free stock photos come from?
From us, stock photographers who donate stock images and give our consent to distribute them for free. It means anybody can download our stock photos. Also licensing terms are usually the same as for paid images. You should read them carefully before deciding to donate your artwork.
The main reason for which you would like to donate some of your images is your portfolio exposure to more than the main collection only. This is a practice many stock photographers do. When you give one or two images for free you can attract potential customers to visit your portfolio and pay for other work.
How does it work?
Offering free stock photos is a process managed by stock agencies in various ways, and for example:
- All your images (in their smallest size) are available for free (FreeDigitalPhotos). They must be published with an acknowledgement to FDP 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 get an e-mail that some of your images are X years old without downloads so it is right time to donate or disable them (Dreamstime). The agency has this rule in place to get rid of low quality work that did not sell within specified period of time. 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) if they are not accepted to the main collection (Fotolia).
These are only examples and the process may vary from agency to agency. We understand that it is always difficult to give anything for free, but its main goal is to provide a wider exposure to your portfolio. This way you also drive more traffic to it by offering some of your images for free.