A stock photo is a professional photo available for commercial use with certain usage limitations. Stock photography is used for commercial purposes such as marketing materials instead of hiring a photographer to create original images.
Stock photos are available with a variety of settings, backgrounds, events and people depicted in the images. An individual or company wishing to use a stock photo typically pays a fee for the right to use it for specified purposes. The photographer or photo owner retains ownership of the photo and may set restrictions, such as not allowing any alterations or only using the photo in certain types of materials. Stock photos are generally less expensive than hiring a photographer to create images for commercial use.