Great digital signage will not do much for you or your business without great media. One avenue for quality media is, of course, the stock image industry. In this article, we will detail some important licensing terms that are important to know when using stock image providers. Also, we will review several stock image websites that you can put to use with your digital signs and accompanying media players.
Some stock image legal terms…
It is important to understand the common legal terms associated with stock images. First, it all revolves around the “copyright.” The term “copyright” refers to the legal ownership that an individual or entity has over their images. This includes the right to sell, license, and distribute their images. Second, the term “license” refers to a contract with the copyright owner. This contract allows one to use the copyrighted content.
There are different types of copyright licenses. The two big sub-groups can be labeled as “rights managed” and “royalty free” licenses. Rights managed licenses typically have strict restrictions on how one can use the stock images. Often, rights managed licenses have restrictions on the duration for which an image can be used. Also, rights managed licenses are often only granted to only one individual at a time. Because of this limitation to one individual, rights managed licenses are usually more expensive than royalty free licenses.
Royalty free licenses are the licenses typically associated with stock images. Royalty free licenses imply that there is there is no royalty. This means there is no fee associated with each use of the stock image. While there is no cost per use, royalty free licenses sometimes have a one time, upfront fee. Royalty free licenses are often significantly cheaper than rights managed licenses. This is because royalty free licenses for the same image can be sold to thousands of people.
You may also hear of “Creative Commons” licenses. This type of license is a type of royalty free license. The special feature of a Creative Commons license is that there is no fee whatsoever. This license allows the unlimited use and alteration to the image by other individuals. Also, the image can be redistributed by others for commercial and noncommercial purposes.
There are several types of Creative Commons licenses that each have special limitations. However, one common type is called the “Creative Commons Attribution License”. This license type allows the free use of an image, but it requires the user to “attribute” the image to the source author. You can find the variations of this license here.
Another frequently seen Creative Commons license is the “CC0 License”. The CC0 License permits images to be used for free for noncommercial and commercial use, permits individuals to change and modify the images, and permits individuals to share the image without the need for attribution to the image’s original author.
Great stock image websites for your Screenly digital signage…
Now we understand the different terms and licensing agreements surrounding stock images. It’s now time to discover some websites with the best stock image offerings. Stock images from these websites are sure look great in public spaces for enjoyment by your customers and employees. You can use stock images from these sites for personal or commercial use, be it outdoor advertising, restaurant menu boards, etc. You just cannot resell these photos.
Unsplash originally started as a Tumblr blog. The site now boasts a collection of 550,000 photos. These photos are all high-resolution. Each is free for immediate download. Its images all have a unique, modern feel and will look great across your digital signage network. Unsplash also offers an API integration with popular SaaS products, and the website’s image library can likely be integrated into your content management system.
You can use these images for free, for commercial and noncommercial purposes, and without attribution. You can find their license details here.
StockSnap also features a wide range of high resolutions photos. They have a vibrant and generous community of contributing photographers. StockSnap also features a very useful “tag-based category system.” This feature allows users to search and find photos based off of mood or environment. For example, users can search tag collections such as “happy” or “people”.
These images are all under the Creative Commons CC0 license, and you can find more details from StockSnap here.
This image is from Gavin Whitner on Flickr.
Pexels offers a collection of 40,000 free, high-resolution photos. Interestingly, each of these photos has been hand-picked and curated by their team. Pexel aims to add about 3,000 photos a month to its collection. The site is committed to its mission of “empowering creators”.
Pexels images are also all under the Creative Commons CC0 license, and their license page can be read here.
iStock is one of the largest stock image sites. It is powered by the famous Getty Images media company. iStock also offers illustrations, audio, and video clips for your digital displays and digital menu boards. Also, the audio and video content is great for interactive digital signage or video walls.
iStock does charge for its stock content, and users will have to purchases website credits in order to download images from iStock. iStock has its own specific licensing for its stock images, however it allows you to use the images much like a CC0 license with some limitations that you can find here.
Flickr is an immensely popular photos sharing site started in 2004. Flicker has “tens of billions of photos,” so you will certainly be able to find something for any digital signage solution. Flicker aims to “help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.”
Flickr has photos under different variations of the Creative Commons license. You can find these photos grouped by license here.
PixaBay is a relative newcomer in the stock image space. However, it is certainly a powerful site. Pixabay has 1.4 million photos and videos combined. You’ll find that each photo has a unique, delightful aesthetic.
PixaBay’s stock images and videos are royalty free and are all licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 license. You can find PixaBay’s license information and terms here.
NegativeSpace is another useful stock image site. All images are free to download and free to use under a Creative Commons CC0 license. You can find the details of NegativeSpace licensing [here(https://negativespace.co/license).
NegativeSpace aims to create a community of photographers who want to share their photography with the world. After viewing the quality of the photos on their site, it is clear that NegativeSpace has succeeded in this goal. You can sort through images based on categories, tags, and even color.
Go! Make Your Digital Signage Beautiful
We hope this post was helpful. We hope that you’ve learned a bit more about legal terms regarding image licensing and where to find royalty-free stock images for your digital signage content. These listed sites are just a few of many stock image websites. However, these sites stand out. These sites will provide plenty of stock images for use with your digital signage software.