How Much Does an Image Cost?

Stock photos are not technically sold; they are licensed. This means that the photographer retains the ownership of a photo, but grants permission for others to use it, usually for a fee. The following overview of stock photo pricing is provided for authors or publishers who may not have licensed photos before and wonder what to expect with regard to prices, or who would like to compare our price quotes with typical industry rates.

Two Methods of Pricing Stock Photos

Generally speaking, there are two main ways of licensing and pricing stock photography:

How We Price Our Photos

All photos on Art History Images are rights-managed and license fees are determined on a case-by-case basis. We think this is the best way of accurately determining the value of an image in a way that is fair to both the buyer and the photographer. Our licensing prices are based primarily on how the photo will be used. The fee may also take into account the uniqueness of the particular image - for example, if it required special access, captured a rare event, or cannot be found elsewhere.

Because we are a relatively small operation with low overhead, our fees are typically a fraction of those asked by other stock agencies. As an example, for editorial print use (like a book or magazine) other than on the front cover, with a moderate print run, our license fees are typically under $100. (You can compare this with other sample rates using the links below.) Fees are lower for web and mobile uses and higher for commercial uses.

Because we license images for specific uses that are described by the buyers, the publishing history for almost any photo is available on request. Exclusive use of a photo is often available as well - just ask if this is something you need.

To determine the license fee for any of our photos, simply click the "Request License Quote" button on any photo page and fill out a form describing how you'll use the photo. We'll respond personally, usually within 24 hours, with a price quote. There is no obligation to license a photo for which you've received a quote.

Further Resources on Photo Pricing

Stock image prices vary widely depending on the market, the photographer, and the perceived value of the images. But to get an idea of some "typical" prices, here are some resources:

By Holly Hayes of Art History Images, March 15, 2010. Last updated February 7, 2012.