Using 123RF.com to Get Royalty-Free Stock Photos
The digital stock agency "123rf.com" provides royalty-free and low-cost stock photos, vectors, video clips, and audio files for a variety of professional and personal uses. The company adds up to 90,000 new creative works to the site each day and offers a 100% money-back guarantee on purchases.
You must register with "123rf.com" before you can buy stock content from the company, but registration is free. Before you make a purchase, be sure to read up on the types of licenses and products that are available so that you know what you're getting and how you can use it.
Types of Content
The 123RF website offers royalty-free content, which means you can purchase content for a flat fee, and after that, you don't have to pay again each time you use it. Buying royalty-free content is usually more affordable and flexible compared to rights-managed licensing, which often restricts how often, when, and where you can use content once you buy it.
Content available on 123RF includes stock photographs, vectors (illustrations, clip art, graphics), video footage, and audio clips. The majority of the stock content is ready to use, scalable, and appropriate for use on professional or personal websites, or in commercials and promotional materials.
The website also offers editorial images, which are different from stock royalty-free images. These types of images depict newsworthy events or celebrities and can't be altered significantly or used for advertising.
Types of Licenses
123RF offers several different levels of licensing and copyrights. The basic license is the Standard royalty-free license.
With the standard royalty-free license, you can buy an image one time and use it multiple times. This makes purchasing images affordable if you plan to use an image more than once, and you're not using it for mass production or on items or merchandise for sale (see below). With a royalty-free license, you do not have to worry about renewals, as you do with some other services.
The Extended license is for content that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- It has become an integral part of the product, and it adds value to the product itself.
- It is being distributed as a part of the product offering.
- It's being used as part of a product that is being given away for free but has a money generation model attached to it, such as third-party advertising.
An extended license would apply to prints for sale, prints on merchandise for sale, design elements in packing material, and design templates or elements for sale.
Types of Plans
Three main types of plans are available on 123RF, as well as customized plans on request. The prices and plans featured here were effective as of August 2018.
This type of plan allows you to purchase a certain amount of credits to download standard and editorial images, vectors, video footage, audio clips, and extended-license content. The most popular package is 40 credits for $39; packages of 90, 200, and 400 credits are also available. You can also choose to buy a custom amount of credits, but the minimum is 10. Single pieces of content range from two to 10 credits and are based on license type, size, file type, and resolution. All unused credits expire after one year.
There are two image subscription plans available on 123RF. The first plan includes 150 images per month, with a daily download limit of five images, for $79 a month. The second plan includes 200 images per month, with no daily download limit, for $139 a month. The company touts these options as its best value.
With this option, you can download a specific number of standard, editorial, and vector images any time within a year of purchase. Five images cost $39, and 25 images cost $169.
You can also find some free images on the "123rf.com" site, but the selection isn't nearly as big as that for the images you purchase. You can download and use them as long as you attribute them appropriately.