What are Exclusive and non-Exclusive licenses?

In this Article, I will discuss Exclusive and Non Exclusive photos, What’s the difference and How to upload them.

What is the difference between Exclusive and non-Exclusive licenses?

This is the most common question of stock photographers at the beginning of their stock photography journey. In this article, we will help you to understand what does exclusive and nonexclusive license means.

What do exclusive photos mean? Or What is exclusive photos/license?

Exclusive License

Exclusive license/image means that only one particular agency can license that image commercially which you never licensed that photo/image commercially before. Exclusive license/photo offering you much more revenue opportunity compare to nonexclusive license and exclusive license/image will be featured more often by the agencies.

For example, You upload a photo in Adobe stock as Exclusive content. That means Only Adobe stock can license this image/content and you cannot license this photo to any other agency or you cannot upload this photo/image to any other site or agency. Very clearly to say, If you upload a photo as an Exclusive license to any website then that photo cannot be sold commercially to any other buyers.

An exclusive license is more profitable than a Nonexclusive license. Some agencies will give you more than 60%-70% commission for an exclusive license where non-exclusive going for around 25%-35% commission.

Some benefits of Exclusive license photo/content:

  • Higher royalty.
  • Higher upload limits compare to nonexclusive.
  • Higher ranking in search engines.
  • Quick review times.
  • Special features/opportunities.

Non-exclusive license

Nonexclusive license/photo means you can upload or sells that photo/content to multiple agencies.Photos which you already been licensed or sold in the past, you can resell or re-upload that photos to multiple agencies as Nonexclusive license.

Nonexclusive license/photo is not as profitable as Exclusive license. These photos/content will earn 25%-35% commission where The exclusive license has up to 60% revenue commission.

Benefits of Non-Exclusive license photo/content:

  • Great opportunity to work with multiple agencies.
  • Increase selling probability.
  • Multiple earnings.

How to upload photos as an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive license?

Normally when you upload photos/contents to any stock photography agencies then it uploads as a Nonexclusive license. If you want to be an Exclusive contributor then you have to select/mark some options.

If you did not find any option about Exclusively licensed or not then Understand that agency accepts your photos/footage only as Nonexclusive licensed.


Lets talk about 500px.

Normally your photos upload as Non-exclusive licensed. So, If you want to upload as Non-exclusive Make sure the following option is unmarked. That is “Exclusively licensed via 500px”.

If you want to upload your photos to 500px as an exclusive then make sure you have to mark the following option. Which is “Exclusively licensed via 500px”.

All the agencies do not provide an exclusive license. For example, the most popular stock photography agency “Shutterstock” provides only a nonexclusive license. That means you cannot upload photos in there as an Exclusive license.

All of your photos in “Shutterstock”  are non-exclusive.So, Photos you have already uploaded in “Shutterstock”. You can sell that photos commercially to any other buyers or other agencies.

Which one is best, exclusive or non-exclusive?

It’s a very tough decision to chose which one is best. But I want to say If you are a professional photographer then you can go for Exclusive. But if you are a beginner photographer then I will advise you please go for Nonexclusive.

And upload your photos/footage to multiple agencies.Because It will increase your selling probability and help you get lots of ideas and information.On the other hand, In Exclusive license, you will be bound by lots of terms and conditions for a long time.

Please note: If you face any problem with stock photography earning. Please do not hesitate to contact us. You can knock me on Instagram or direct email me, Or comment here.

Thanks for Visiting Our Site.
If you like this article
Please Share with your friends and support us.

Leave a Comment