Use of photos from iStockPhoto

I don’t quite understand iStockphoto licence and wanted to clarify…

Lets say that I work on a website project for my client, basically I develop website for him/his business and getting money for my work. So I buy photo from The photo size is 3000px times 3000px. I buy it for lets say 15$, modify, crop, change colors etc. etc. and use in as large background of size 1920x1000 so larger than 800x600.
In addition to that I use it on the same website but not as background but for other element, further modified.

Is this use ok with standard licence?
Thank you all for your help, I did my research but am still very unclear about use of photos from various sites, iStockphoto in example above.

Pretty sure that’s ok. On the license comparison page (, it says that the standard license allows (emphasis mine): “Online or electronic publications or uses, including web pages to a maximum image size of 800 x 600 pixels; video image size limitation is 640 x 480. Any size reproduction is acceptable with substantial changes to the content” So your background image is ok because you’ve modified it significantly. The other occurrences of the image just need to be less than 800x600 and you’re fine.

Thanks for that :slight_smile: now my worry is that what is exactly considered as “significant” change :slight_smile: I would probably change colors a bit, maybe duplicate background etc. Anyway, so you think it would not be ok to use the photo (larger than 800x600) for background as is, without actually changing anything? Up to 800x600 would be ok though, am I right?

On a side note I cant believe that sites of this caliber do not have licence that non-lawyers would be able to decipher.

Have you tried contacting customer service at iStockPhoto to clear things up for you?

I recently got “pushed” into iStockPhoto from StockXPert who closed down and got bought out by them… that same clause really worries me too because if you want to do a “big background” design that spans the full width of a page, the clause in that contract means none of the images they provide are even suitable for that usage. Arguably after reading their license agreement and seeing their “weasel wording” it feels to me that iStockPhoto is entirely unsuitable for web design (in every sense of the word). There’s some nasty sub-clauses which would allow them to take action against you for putting those images into an online format. :frowning: