Could You Sell This Photo as Stock?


Can you sell this photo as stock without a model release?

Reader Maggie Martin submitted the above shot to the Snap & Sell Photo Club Premium Challenge,“Travel Stock Photography.”

She doesn’t have a model release for the monk… but she’s selling this photo on a stock site. I’ll tell you how in just a sec. If you like to take travel photos, or even shoot around your hometown, it can be hard to take photos with no people or trademarks in them.

And we all know that photos including recognizable people or trademarks can’t be sold as stock… right?

Not necessarily.

Take a look at these photos. They all sell online as stock, and yet they all include recognizable people and legible shop signs and brand names:

Istanbul, Turkey

Bangkok, Thailand

Dublin, Ireland

Nottingham, England

The reason these photos are allowed onto stock sites is because they’re all designated as editorial stock. That means that the photo buyer agrees to only use them for editorial purposes, such as in a magazine, newspaper, blog article, or text book.

If you decide to try this, make sure you:

  1. Inspect your editorial photos at 100%. And hold them to the same standards as your other stock photos: well-composed, well-exposed, noise-free, etc.
  2. Don’t do any major processing. With editorial photos, you’re not allowed to alter the “truth” in any way. So no Photoshopping anything like power lines or logos out of the photo.
  3. Write a caption, including who, what, when, where, and why. Where did you take it and what was going on? Newspapers, blogs, and magazines may need that information for their article.

Enjoy your weekend!