Using iStock files


Photos

Using photos in your projects

When you download a photo on iStock, you're purchasing a royalty-free license that gives you the rights to use that photo in a wide variety of uses, including: advertising, publishing, websites, blogs and presentations.

All of our photos come with our standard license, which means you only have to pay for the initial download of a file and won't have to pay the photographer a royalty each time you use the image in a way that's allowed under that license. Adding extended licenses to your download can let you use the photo in even more ways.

For more information on how you can use iStock photos, please refer to our license comparison page.

Editorial use only photos

Unlike the majority of our collection, editorial photos don't have any model or property releases, which means they can't be used for commercial, promotional, advertorial or endorsement purposes. These images often include news, sports and entertainment images that portray real-world people, places, events and things and are intended to be used only in connection with events that are newsworthy or of general interest (for example, in a blog, textbook, newspaper or magazine article).

Modifying iStock images

You are welcome to modify photos and illustrations downloaded from iStock. Feel free to crop, cut out, flip, rotate, add text, edit colors, or apply any other creative effect you can think up.

You can quickly edit for digital or online use using iStock Editor. You can crop, resize, add text, upload logos and apply filters to your creative photos all for free.

Learn more about iStock Editor

Image resolutions

Our images and illustrations are provided by many different contributors who may set the default resolution on large files lower than 300dpi. Any image file can be saved at varying resolutions without changing the quality or physical size of the image. Changing a 72dpi image to a 300 dpi will not alter the quality or size of the image. To change the dpi, open the image in your image editing tool and change the resolution.

Illustrations and vectors

Using illustrations and vectors in your projects

From basic sets of icons to digital masterpieces, photo-realistic raster images to infinitely scalable vectors, you can use iStock illustrations and vectors for a wide variety of commercial and editorial purposes, including advertising, publishing, websites, blogs and presentations.

All of our illustrations come with our standard license, which means you only have to pay for the initial download of a file and won't have to pay the artist a royalty each time you use the image in a way that's allowed under that license. Adding extended licenses to your download can let you use the illustration in even more ways.

For more information on how you can use iStock illustrations and vectors, please refer to our license comparison page.

What vector files are and how to edit them

When you download a vector illustration from iStock, you can choose which file format you want it in: an editable EPS (vector) file or a fixed JPEG (raster) file available in a range of sizes.

JPEG or JPG raster files are made up of thousands of pixels arranged in a fixed grid to form the image (just like a digital photo). When you choose to download a JPEG of your illustration, you're essentially getting a flattened 'photo' of the vector illustration.

Editable EPS (Encapsulated Postscript) vector files, on the other hand, are more flexible because they are resolution independent — they’re not made up of tiny pixels like a JPEG. That means it doesn't matter how close you zoom in on the shapes, they will stay sharp and smooth, making them ideal for graphic applications of almost any size. You can use the same vector for a tiny icon printed on the side of a pen or for a large billboard.

EPS vector files are also easily editable. Using vector editing software like Adobe® Illustrator® you can move objects, isolate them from the background, change colors, and rescale shapes generally faster than editing an image in Adobe® Photoshop®.

Modifying iStock images

You are welcome to modify photos and illustrations downloaded from iStock. Feel free to crop, cut out, flip, rotate, add text, edit colors, or apply any other creative effect you can think up. However, your modifications must not violate the content. View license agreement.

Image resolutions

Our images and illustrations are provided by many different contributors who may set the default resolution on large files lower than 300dpi. Any image file can be saved at varying resolutions without changing the quality or physical size of the image. Changing a 72dpi image to a 300 dpi will not alter the quality or size of the image. To change the dpi, open the image in your image editing tool and change the resolution.

Video clips

Using video clips in your projects

iStock's collection of stock video can help you tell powerful stories with clips you can crop, manipulate and combine for a wide variety of commercial and editorial purposes, including advertising, websites, video productions and more.

All of our video files come with our standard license, which means you only have to pay for the initial download of a file and won't have to pay the artist a royalty each time you use the clip in a way that's allowed under that license. Adding extended licenses to your download can let you use the video clip in even more ways.

For more information on how you can use iStock video files, please refer to our license comparison page.

Finding video clips

The easiest way to search for video clips on iStock is by typing keywords into the search bar at the top of the site and selecting "Video" as your file type.

After you've entered a keyword, you can use our video filters to further refine your search by aspect ratio and resolution.

Once you've begun your search, hover over the thumbnail on the search results page or click through to the file's detailed information page to preview the file.

Frame sizes and formats

iStock video clips are available in MOV and MP4 formats.

MOV files are ideal if you need to edit video clips and combine them with other elements such as text, music or graphics. You can also use them as a source file for other formats. When dealing with compositing, keying, or any post special effects, it is usually easier to work with progressive footage. The same holds true when working with video that will be displayed on a computer monitor.

MP4 files are better for smaller multimedia projects, presentations or web-based projects that don't require extensive modifications. These files do not scale up well, so it's important to get the right size file and format for your purpose.

By default, all iStock video files are available in their native frame size, frame rate, and codec (with a progressive scan type), as provided by the contributor.

iStock offers multiple sizes of videos (only options applicable to the specific file are available):

4K DCI
  • Frame size: 4096x2160
  • Aspect ratio: 17:9
  • Format: Quicktime MOV
  • Codec: ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, or Photo JPEG
  • Frame rate: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, or 60p
4K UHD
  • Frame size: 3840x2160  
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Format: Quicktime MOV
  • Codec: ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, Photo JPEG, or H.264
  • Frame rate: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, or 60p
Full HD
  • Frame size: 1920x1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Format: Quicktime MOV
  • Codec: ProRes 422 HQ, Photo JPEG, or H.264
  • Frame rate: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, or 60p
HD
  • Frame size: 1280x720
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Format: Quicktime MOV
  • Codec: ProRes 422 HQ, Photo JPEG, or H.264
  • Frame rate: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, or 60p
HD Web
  • Frame size: 640x360
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Format: MP4
  • Codec: H.264
  • Frame rate: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, or 60p
Some older files may have an interlaced scan type and/or compressed with an HDV or DVCPro HD codec, (both of which have non-square pixels). Full HD video files with an interlaced scan type may be compressed with the Motion JPEG codec (square pixels). Older files where 4K or HD video is not available will only come in standard definition in either NTSC or PAL formats.

Original version

The largest size available is always the original file as supplied by the contributor. As such, it is also the best quality technically, and can be used as source footage in editing systems while retaining that original quality.

For files that are offered in only PAL and NTSC, it can be a bit harder to tell the difference between them. You can usually tell by the contributor's description. This description is supposed to indicate which clip was the original. If HD is offered along with PAL and NTSC (there are three frame view tabs at the top of the preview), then the largest HD size is the original.

Can't find a file

If your search ends up with zero results, you're probably being a little too specific (or you're searching for something really unusual). If you've entered multiple keywords, try entering one or two that best describe what you're looking for. If you've applied filters in the refine panel, you may want to remove them to widen your search. Also, make sure you have the right file type selected in the drop-down menu next to the search bar, or by choosing the file type on the top left. Searching for a photo while on the video page (or in the search bar while video is selected) will give you zero results.

If you're searching for a specific file using a file number and can no longer find it, it may no longer be available for download. Contact us and we'll see if we can track it down for you.


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