Royalty Free Report

Our general opinion of royalty free photography in the UK.
In our experience over the last couple of years we have noticed a large increase in the usage of RF photography – not only for our own convenience as designers (speed, ease of usage and cost) but in clients requesting that we use RF imagery only. At times, we have found this has been limiting but with more and better images on offer the selection process is improving. The ability to search for specific images over the web and purchase individual RF images has also been a positive factor - the convenience of being able to access the images 24/7 and to know immediately the costs involved is a big plus for us.
Compared to working in the States, we have found the budgets allowed for design over here to be generally tighter and under greater scrutiny. That’s not to say there isn’t the money just that there seems to be an attitude for “value for money”. Clients want the flexibility to use any images we incorporate on other materials without the costs or hassle involved with RP. More clients seem to be aware now of RF photography and the fact that we could use multiple images from 1 or 2 CDs and the obvious cost effects of that. Along with that is the general knowledge of Photoshop - to add some ownership to the images, we are asked frequently to manipulate or create montages.
With the increase in popularity of RF photography there has been a slight backlash - certain images have been overused and stand-out as RF – one case is PhotoDisc’s Supporting Cast figures and obviously more high profile work will use RP or commissioned photography. Overall though, a large majority of work is taking advantage of the benefits that RF offers. Projects where previously we wouldn’t have used photography due to budget or lack of image constraints are now able to maximise the effects of the availability of RF imagery.
Who are the users of RF?
The main users are design agencies, advertising agencies and...