Stock photography consists of existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. Publishers, advertising agencies, graphic artists, and others use stock photography to fulfill the needs of their creative assignments.
A customer who uses stock photography instead of hiring a photographer can save time and money, but can also sacrifice creative control. Stock images can be presented in searchable online databases, purchased online, and delivered via download or email.
A collection of stock photography may also be called a photo archive, picture library, image bank or photo bank. As modern stock photography distributors often carry stills, video, and illustrations, none of the existing terminology provides a perfect match.