I'll try to make this short. Also if this doesn't belong here, can someone direct me to a proper place to ask this question?

  • I have a photo found on two stock photo websites (for a price) and a wallpaper website (free to download)
  • I intend to use it on a web resume, which will likely only be viewed by those I direct to it
  • I have altered the image slightly

  • Original(?) from iStockPhoto

  • My altered version [Imgur link]

So, where do I stand with this? Can I use the image? If so, do I have to do anything special, like display credit on the front page?

Thanks for any help!

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it has nothing to do with photography.
    – scottbb
    May 1 '16 at 23:36
  • @scottbb It definitely seems off-topic, but I don't know where else to ask. I found this website from a similar question (here) in the first place.
    – Cameron
    May 2 '16 at 0:35
  • 1
    Chances are, if you found it on a stock photo site, it probably wasn't made available for "free" at the free download site: photos at wallpaperup (I assume that's the free one you're talking about) for the most part aren't submitted by the authors. If you want to use it and be legal about it, pay for it at iStockPhoto. Don't rely on legal opinions from random people on the internet.
    – scottbb
    May 2 '16 at 1:18

It is really very simple:

  1. Do you own the rights to the image? If your answer is yes then you can use it for personal use. If the answer is no then see #2.
  2. Do you have permission from the owner of the rights to the image? To alter in any way? To use for a specific purpose? If not, then you can't use it.
  • Thanks for your response! It does seem a relatively simple concept; I suppose my confusion stemmed from the same image appearing in two different stock photo websites. However, upon closer inspection it appears as though iStock and Thinkstock are both owned by Getty Images. I don't see why they need two different websites under separate domains with the same images, but I suppose I'll just have to buy the rights for the image from them. Thanks!
    – Cameron
    May 4 '16 at 12:50

You can tell by reading the provided license from iStockPhoto: http://www.istockphoto.com/help/licenses

If you don't understand the plain English version of the license, they link to the full license which you likely would need an attorney to understand fully.


Can I use the image? If so, do I have to do anything special, like display credit on the front page?

Yes, and yes. You can use the image, including your modified version, and the only special thing you have to do is to pay for a license that lets you use it. iStock prices its photos in "credits," and this is a 3-credit image. You can buy 3 credits for $33 or choose one of their various credit packs or subscription plans. If you can get a license from someone else who has the right to give/sell it to you, then that's also an option.

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