Sell Stock Photos

Who Buys Stock Photos and Why?

If you’re a stock photographer, it’s important to know who buys stock photos and what they use them for.

Whether you’re selling through a stock agency or directly to clients, it’s helpful to understand the different types of businesses and organizations that purchase photography.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the main buyers of stock photos.

Who Buys Stock Photos

Who Buys Stock Photos?

When it comes to stock photos, there are a number of different buyers out there.

Small businesses often need stock photos for their website or marketing materials, while advertisement agencies may use stock photos in their client’s campaigns.

News and media organizations also frequently use stock photos, both in print and online. And of course, stock photos are also used by book and magazine publishers, as well as bloggers and other online content creators.

In addition, many corporate marketing departments also purchase stock photos for use in their own marketing efforts.

So, as you can see, there is a wide range of buyers for stock photos. And with so many uses for stock images, it’s no wonder that they are such a popular product.

Stock Photography is a market of billions of dollars. According to Coherent Market Insights, the global stock photo market will reach $4.8 billion by 2028. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 5.2% between 2021 and 2028.

Photographers who understand the needs of buyers can be successful in this industry.

So if you’re interested in selling stock photos, make sure to do your research and understand who buys stock photos and why!

Let’s take a closer look at the types of businesses that buy stock photos, and why they need them.

Small Businesses

Small businesses are a major market for stock photos. They use photos for everything from marketing materials like flyers and website headers to creating products like calendars and coffee mugs.

As a result, there’s a huge demand for all types of photography, from lifestyle shots to more specific images like authentic images of people in everyday situations.

Small businesses typically buy smaller subscription plans, which are cheaper but cost more per image download. Because of this, the stock contributor gets a bigger share of the sales from small business buyers than they would from those who purchase larger and more expensive subscriptions.

Advertisement Agencies

Advertising agencies are another big market for stock photography. They often need very specific images to support their campaigns, and they’re willing to pay for high-quality photos.

Because of this, it can be worth your while to shoot stock photos with an advertiser in mind. Think about the types of products or services that might be advertised, and then brainstorm ideas for images that would grab attention and communicate the message effectively.

For example, take a look at billboards and print advertisements in cities to get ideas for what types of images will work best.

News and Media Organizations

News organizations are always in need of fresh photos, whether it’s to illustrate an article online or to accompany a story in print. While breaking news will always require photographers on the scene, there’s also a demand for generic shots that can be used at any time.

For example, if there’s a story about the economy, a news outlet might need a photo of someone counting money or looking at financial charts.

Book & Magazine Publishers

Publishers use stock photography to help break up text on the pages of their books and magazines. In addition to general lifestyle shots, they often need images related to specific topics, such as sports or travel.

While many publications have their own photographers on staff, they’ll also supplement these photos with images purchased from stock agencies.

Stock photos can often be seen on fiction book covers, as well. some stock photographers specialize in creating images for this market. This is a very fun and creative form of stock photography.


Bloggers often use stock photos to add visual interest to their posts. Many bloggers are also small business owners, so they may need photos for things like website headers or social media profiles in addition to blog posts.

Stock photos are popular with lifestyle bloggers, who may need images to accompany their posts on topics such as fashion or food.

Travel bloggers also often use stock photos to illustrate their stories, such as images of exotic locations or interesting sights.

As of being a blogger myself, I’ve also bought stock photos from Adobe Stock to illustrate my articles.

Corporate Marketing Departments

Large corporations use stock photography in much the same way small businesses do, for everything from marketing collateral to product packaging.

But because they have bigger budgets, they’re often able to purchase larger quantities of photos or commission custom shoots when necessary.

Why Do People Buy Stock Photos?

People buy stock photos for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s a matter of convenience. They need a photo to accompany an article or blog post, and they don’t have the time or resources to take their own.

For others, stock photos offer a level of quality and professionalism that they can’t get on their own. And still, others simply enjoy browsing through the vast array of images available and picking out the perfect one for their needs.

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that stock photos are a popular resource for both individuals and businesses alike.


Stock photos are a popular resource for businesses, advertisement agencies, news and media outlets, book and magazine publishers, bloggers, and corporate marketing departments.

People buy stock photos for a variety of reasons, from convenience to quality or simply because they love browsing through the vast array of images available and buying them for personal use.

As you can see, there’s a wide range of businesses and organizations that buy stock photos. And this is just a small sampling!

So whether you’re selling through a stock agency or directly to clients, keep all of these potential customers in mind.

With a little bit of planning and strategic thinking, you can increase your chances of selling your photographs again and again!

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