iStock photo License agreements

Good afternoon

I was wondering want stock photo companies everyone uses for their e-learning products?  Are some better than others?  What type of license agreements should I watch for?  For example, we want to use a specific photo, or background in one of our courses that will be viewed Nationally.  What type of agreements allows this?

Any help, advice or direction is greatly appreciated.


11 Replies
Daniel Brigham


I find istockphoto to be the best in terms of photo quality and price. is a cheaper way to go (you can get a month subscription and basically download all the photos you'll need for approximately $250), though the quality and selection aren't as good as istockphoto's, in my opinion.

If a client wants to use shutterstock, I'll bid the project slightly higher, because it's going to take me longer to find suitable photos. is also supposed to be pretty good.

Scott Hewitt

With all stock images you need to check the type of license that you need. If you are looking to re-sell you course you will need a different license (normally full) and this is usually a lot more expensive than the basic cost.

You should also check the worldwide distribution and also the media type depending on your project requirements. 

Hope this helps,

Todd Thornton

BigStockPhoto is basically Shutterstock content that's pay as you go/credit based. Good when you need high resolution images because their smallest resolution is generally larger than the other sites so even if you need to go up one level from the base, it's only around $2 per image. (depending on the number of credits you purchase) 

I agree that Istock quality has always been good, (and one of the only places to buy stock video clips that are reasonably priced) but recently the quality gap between them and the other sites is shrinking. (IMHO)