panorama of Unitrans double decker bus driving through West Village Davis CA

Stock Photography

Using Stock Photography

If you can’t find the photo you need at UC Davis Photos, you may want to consider stock photography from a professional online distributor.

Stock photography can be a very helpful resource, but it can easily get you into trouble. When using stock photography, keep these things in mind:


  • Use professional online photo distributors, such as Getty Images and ThinkStock.
  • Use current images. Out-of-style fashions and other anachronisms can distract or confuse the audience, unless you’re working on a period piece.
  • Represent campus with actual campus photography. Stock images can be used to convey conceptual images but never to suggest people or activities on campus. For example, it’s OK to show a healthy family from stock to suggest a healthy lifestyle in a piece about nutrition, but never to suggest UC Davis students or faculty in that program.
  • Stay consistent from one image to the next for a single publication, webpage, or for a family of publications. It’s easy to come up with a mish-mash of strong and conflicting styles when using stock, so take care when choosing photos that work together.
  • Credit photography in accordance with the usage rights required by the stock provider. You can usually find this easily. If it isn’t clear, search for it.


  • Use photography found on the web unless it is from a stock photography provider and acquired through purchase. The only way around this rule is to contact the author/owner of the image and get permission in writing. You would also need to acquire the images at a resolution high enough to reproduce properly for the intended use.
  • Use an image to suggest or imply something that isn’t accurate. Stock photography must always be honest.
  • Use photography marked for editorial use only in anything that is not strictly journalistic.