Photo libraries

Photo libraries are kept and used by photographers who sell their work to magazines, newspapers, book publishers, web sites, and commercial companies.

Most libraries are relatively specialised, and target sales to a particular type of publisher. Examples are:

  • A collection of gardening photos which may be sold to gardening magazines; plant photos may be sold for use on plant labels, etc.
  • Food photos may be sold to cooking books, magazines and even food companies for their advertising.

Some photo libraries are offered for sale on a CD to publishers. Some photo libraries are supplied by I.T. businesses as a FREE service or as part of another product. Microsoft, for instance, provides a photo library with their Publisher program. Some web sites supply free photo libraries for their subscribers for visitors to use.

Electronic photo libraries can be useful for electronic publishing or low quality print media publishing; but for the highest high quality publishing, many photographers still choose to use film.

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Copyright-free material

Sometimes work can be obtained and used that is not subject to copyright. This type of material is considered "in the public domain"; which means it is free for use by the public.

There may be provisions for how these images canm be used though. For example, you may be obliged to reference or credit the source. Copyright-free material may include the following:

  • Copyright expired. Conditions for copyright expiry may vary from country to country. It is common for copyright to be considered “expired” once an author or illustrator has been dead for 50 years. You need to check this for your country though.
  • Material placed into public domain (eg. photo libraries on the Internet)
  • Press releases

Many web developers and computer users will make use of "free" images. While this can be both economical and convenient; there are some traps to be aware of:

  • Material which is declared to be free may often have conditions attached; such as "for private or personal use" and "not for commercial use" (Which means that it is illegal to use it on a web site or brochure for a business).
  • Material may be declared "free" one day; and then the next day be declared "protected by copyright and for sale".
  • Copyright laws can vary from one country to another; so whiole it may be legal to use something in one country; it may be illegal elsewhere. This may create a complex situation for web sites (for example).

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