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Do NOT Illegally Use Stock Imagery For Your Website

Ben Rios Blog by Ben Rios | Janurary 9, 2023

Stock images in general are used for many different purposes. They are used for flyers, marketing banners, websites, graphics, newsletters, print-outs and much more. The rightful owners of those photographs spend a lot of time searching for location after location, and model after model. They spend a great amount of time to achieve the best quality photo for online users. Their work should be appreciated and not undervalued.

Bad Practices With Stock Images

Unfortunately, there are some bad practices that some designers do in this field that may get their company into some legal trouble. I have heard of horror stories involving such carelessness among designers of illegally using stock imagery without paying for them. It is bad judgment and may result in not only the owner of the stock images coming after you, but your clients may drop you as well.

I’m sure some noobies out there may be naive and think that they won’t ever get caught, but that is hardly ever the case. There is a lot of new-age reverse image search software used to detect who is using stock images illegally. My best advice would be to break this habit immediately, and replace those images as soon as possible with images that you paid for. As long as you pay for a license on your stock imagery account, then you won’t have anything to worry about.

Do NOT Illegally Use Stock Imagery For Your Website
Do NOT Illegally Use Stock Imagery For Your Website

Standard Vs. Editorial Licenses

If you have ever downloaded stock images, you have either noticed the difference between standard and editorial licenses, or you never bothered noticing at all. It’s important to educate yourself on which image licenses you’re allowed to download, and that all depends on the type of website you are building.

Standard image licenses are pretty much images that you can freely use on your website, and commercially. Editorial licenses may only be used for educational purposes.

For best practices, it is best to contact the stock imaging company directly so that they can set you up with a specific package that suits your needs.

Enhanced Image License

An enhanced image license is the most expensive of all licenses. With these, you are able to use them on merchandise that you plan on selling. The indemnification is also much higher than the standard license, and may provide legal protection. You may also want to contact the stock image company of your choosing to make sure you obtain the right information before proceeding with your project. 


In conclusion, illegally downloading stock images without having an authentic license may get you into a world of trouble. You can easily prevent this from happening by signing up for a stock image account and purchase the licenses that you need. By doing this correctly, you will avoid cheating your company and more importantly, cheating your clients in the end. 

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