Font & Stock Photography Licenses: A Quick Guide

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If you’ve ever downloaded a font or a photo from the Internet, you’ve probably read the different ways it’s legal to use what you’ve downloaded. For example, just because you find a beautiful image through a Google search, doesn’t mean that image is fair for the using. I wanted to take a few minutes to share a few of the things I’ve learned regarding photo and font licenses. This is not an all-encompassing list, rather just some notes I’ve picked up along the way.

Please note: this is not legal advice. I’m not a lawyer. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and consult a lawyer if you’re not completely sure.

Font Licenses

When you buy and/or download a font you should receive an End-User License Agreement. This agreement outlines how you may use the font. It’s always important to note whether the font can be used for personal and/or commercial use.

Each specific license normally comes with a certain number of licenses, which is the number of computers where you’re allowed to install the font. This does not give you the permission to distribute the font to others and their businesses, however, rather just the number of computers you are planning to use it on. The license is specifically for yourself.

Just because a font is free, does not mean it can be used without restriction. It’s important to read the license to understand if it’s just free for personal use or can also be used for commercial use.

This article provides some good examples and explanations regarding fonts and their licenses. And this article breaks down some of the more complicated legal terms into easier to understand language - a great place to get started!

My Favorite Font Resources

Creative Market

Font Bundles

Image Licenses

When you’re looking for free stock images online, you’ll want to make sure you look for images that are licensed with the Creative Commons Zero License. These pictures are free to use both personally and commercially for any legal purpose. Pexels is a good site where the images are all free for use.

There are other types of Creative Commons licenses too. The creator of the photo is allowed to choose the conditions they would like to place on the photo. It’s important to read the fine-print of what you may be able to use the photo for. You can read more about their licensing here. A few important ones to note: whether attribution is required, whether you can use it for commercial work, and whether you can make edits to the photo.

Favorite Stock Photography Resources


Adobe Stock

Pexels (freebies)

Font & Stock Photography Licenses

While licensing can be confusing, it is important to read the fine-print to make sure that you know what you can and cannot use fonts/images for. I also recommend creating a list of some databases that you trust where you can source your images and fonts from.