What’s An Editorial Photo?

This is a guest post by our presenting sponsor, Bigstock

[quote type=”small” align=”left”] Last week’s mission required our contestants to add at least one appropriate image to their page or post and then optimize it for SEO by including an alt-text tag. In that vein, we’re sharing a blog post from our Presenting Sponsor, Bigstock on some of the legalities of taking and/or using photos with real people in them. [/quote]


Photo: LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 15: Actress and supermodel Brooklyn Decker on the red carpet of the 2010 ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theater at LA Live, on July 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA. © Allen Berezovsky/Bigstock.

Consider this situation… you’re designing a brochure that will be used to promote football uniforms and you’d like to include some dynamic images in the design. You search through Bigstock’s extensive library of over 3 million images and see a great photo of football players that would fit perfectly in your design. However, you notice that below the photo it reads “Editorial Use Only” in the release information.

What Exactly Does “Editorial Use Only” Mean?

This question comes up quite often. Images that are marked as “editorial use only” are ones that have not been released for commercial use and have also been taken without the consent of the individuals in the photo. In the design scenario above, you would not be able to use the photo of the football players because you are promoting football uniforms and generating sales from the brochure. In addition, the players have not given their permission to be included in the photo.

When Can I Use “Editorial Use Only” Images?

Usage would be different if you‘re designing the layout for a sports magazine and you‘re using the photo to illustrate a story about football playing techniques. In this situation, the photo was not being used to sell the magazine but rather to enhance the effectiveness of the story. Other mediums where you can use “editorial use only” images are newspapers, news broadcasts and other non-commercial applications. As a general rule of thumb, Bigstock doesn’t provide the service of researching and/or obtaining any needed additional releases. It also doesn’t make any representations or warranties whatsoever with respect to the use of names, trademarks, logos, uniforms, registered or copyrighted designs or works of art depicted in any image. So it’s important to review your license agreement to make sure that all necessary rights, consents or permissions as may be required for reproduction of any image have been secured by you.

At Bigstock, we encourage our photographers to submit images with model releases and, if appropriate, property releases, so buyers have the flexibility to use the images in advertisements.

Sometimes, however, it makes more sense to submit an image as an editorial image—like the celebrity red carpet photo seen here. This post will help explain what those cases are  and why they’re different from a regular model release image.

Keep in mind our review team enforces quality standards on editorial images as they do on every image in the collection. Customers see a notice before they download editorial images letting them know there are usage restrictions on these images.

If you’re a photographer interested in starting to shoot editorial images, here are some tips to consider before you submit them to Bigstock.

About Tea Silvestre

Executive Producer of Prosperity's Kitchen, author and marketing coach to solopreneurs.