Glossary of Terms found on Royalty-Free Sites
Bitmap (or BMP) is used in the electronic storage of images. Bitmap images are made up of pixels
(or "bits") that store color information.
A bitmap can be any size, depending on the number of pixels it contains. Its resolution is fixed so
it can't be resized or manipulated without losing image clarity. Some popular bitmap formats are
JPEG, GIF and TIFF. A common synonym for bitmap is "raster".
A clipping path is a vector line that outlines the separation between an image and its background.
It assists designers in "clipping" an image from its original background and inserting it seamlessly
into a new image.
Digital cameras record images electronically and store them as an electronic file that is often
manipulated later in a software program.
A digital watermark is an imprint used to brand images as property of an online retailer.
The imprint is removed once the image is sold.
One of the ways in which resolution is expressed is DPI (dots per inch).
It refers to the number of pixels representing one square inch of image information.
A high DPI results in greater image detail for printing purposes, but it also means
larger file sizes and memory usage. For example, a 1" x 1" image at 72 DPI contains 5,184
(72 x 72) dots (pixels), while the same 1" x 1" image at 300 DPI contains 90,000 (300 x 300) dots.
File Transfer Protocol. A standard that allows users to transfer files from one computer to
A popular image format and image file extension. "GIF" refers to the Graphics Interchange Format
of images, a popular image file used on the World Wide Web. Common GIF images are illustrations
or utilities graphics such as buttons, headings and logos. GIF files normally don't require a
lot of storage space - especially if they comtain a few colors.
The sand-like or granular appearance of a print, slide, negative, or digital image.
Grain becomes more noticable with higher ISO settings, the degree of enlargement or
length of exposure time.
The process of increasing the resolution of a photo.
The amount of data stored in an image file, measured in pixels per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI).
A popular image format and image file extension. "JPEG" (jay-peg) stands for
Joint Photographic Experts Group, the organization that developed the format.
The JPEG (or JPG) format is widely used because it can reduce an image file size by as much
as 90% without losing a lot of image quality visible to the naked eye.
The more an image is compressed, the more the image quality will be negatively affected.
A lightbox is a convenient way to store a selection of images for a certain
client, project, or any other use. Lightboxes act like an image keeper for images you select
as you browse the collection. They can be named, edited any time, emailed to another person,
or deleted completely using the attached features.
See Royalty-Free Licensing.
This is a signed release from the person/s depicted in a stock photo, giving consent for
his or her likeness to be used for commercial purposes as described in the release.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct model releases for your
licence use and that you comply with the relevant local laws.
This is a signed release from the owner/s of property depicted in a stock photo, giving consent
for the image depicting his or her property to be used for commercial purposes.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct property releases for your
licence use and that you comply with the relevant local laws. For more information see our
release information page.
Pixel is the common term for "picture element", the smallest part of television,
monitor or photographic images. There are millions of picture elements in any digitized
photograph (a 1"x1" square inch image at 72 DPI contains 5184 pixels). Pixels are the
units that are manipulated in photo editing software. In bitmap images, the more pixels,
the higher the resolution. Enlarging a pixel-based image too much can compromise its quality.
In digital photography, resolution is a measurement of the number of pixels
that make up a digital photograph. Resolution is one of the benchmarks of digital cameras and
images. More pixels allow producing bigger prints. Any of the modern 3, 4 & 5 megapixel
cameras will allow making great 8x10 inch prints. Usually for prints 11x14 inches or more,
it's more preferable to use 4+ megapixel camera models.
In film photography or printing, retouching refers to a process of altering a print or
negative after development by use of dyes or pencils to alter tones of highlights, shadows,
and other details, or to remove blemishes. In case of digital photography, use of the digital
image manipulation software to enhance or modify the digital image.
The Royalty Free sites don't sell images to you; they license them on behalf of the photographer
or stock photo library. Royalty-free images can be used repeatedly without having to pay for every usage or
reporting each usage for legal documentation. By selling a royalty-free photo, a photographer permits a buyer unlimited use of the photo,
including any photo alterations such as, but not limited to cropping, color alterations, etc.
Photographer remains a copyright owner of the photo.
Rights-managed products are licensed on a use-by-use basis. The fee for using the product
is calculated from several factors including size, placement, duration of use and geographic
distribution. At the time you order a rights-managed product, you will be asked to submit
information that will specify the usage rights to be granted.
Saturation is the density of a colour.
Stock photography is photography or other imagery of common landmarks, concepts, and events that can be
used and reused for commercial design purposes.
A popular image format and image file extension. "TIFF" is an acronym for Tagged Image File
Format, a complex but flexible file format used to store digital images. TIFF can compress
large images without losing information in the process or causing damage to the file.
TIFF picks up where JPEG may leave off when it comes to larger files requiring greater
Miniature images, resembling slides. Thumbnails are small, low-resolution images,
typically used to display search results because they are easy to browse through.
When you upload an image to a royalty free stock photography site, it will be
displayed as a thumbnail.
A logo or mark that is superimposed on an image. Preview images are watermarked
because they can be saved from the browser without purchase. Hi-resolution images purchased by the buyer
are not watermarked.