Hydro Stations

Image licensing rights can get confusing. Generally speaking, if you want to use photo packs as a source of reference for your concept art, 3d work, texturing, matte painting, photo-bashing or anything that is not a direct usage of the image for promotional or advertising purpose then feel free to use both Commercial and Editorial packs.

However, if you are a graphic designer, and you want to put an image on a book cover, online ad or any other promotional material, then you can't use Editorial content.


Commercial content allows you to use photos for virtually any purpose except for:

  • Use in any logo or trademark
  • Pornographic, obscene or libellous works


Editorial Use Only content means that the image can only be used for non-commercial purposes. In other words, an image is used as a descriptive visual reference – an example of a specific person, place, thing or event.

An Editorial Use Only image can be used:

  • In a newspaper or magazine article
  • On a blog or website for descriptive purposes
  • In a non-commercial presentation

Example: You are giving a slideshow presentation in your company about a recent business trip to London. You add some photographs of the office and your British coworkers you took. You can also download an image of the London Tower from FOTOREF to add some context about the city of London for the audience. This is an acceptable usage of an Editorial Use Only photograph.

Example: You are writing an article for a magazine about furniture. You can find images of the particular types and models discussed in the piece at FOTOREF and use them to illustrate your article.

An Editorial Use Only image cannot be used:

  • In any kind of advertising or promotional material
  • In a creation of items or products for resale (e.g., prints, posters, mugs, stationery, calendars, electronic templates, etc.)
  • For any 'advertorial' purposes (i.e. in sections or supplements in relation to which you receive or pay a fee)

Example: Your company is launching a new product in the UK market. You download London Tower photopack from FOTOREF and have a graphic designer to use photos to support the new product. You use images in an email ad campaign. This is not acceptable editorial use.


FOTOREF photo packs contain a lot of photographs. In some cases, if a photoshoot is done on a vast location photographer can capture an identifiable person, vehicle or a certain building. In this case, all photos that contain editorial-only material are put in Editorial folder and all photos that are free for commercial use are put in Commercial folder of the photopack.

Example: Angkor Wat photopack contains around 20 reference photos with potentially identifiable tourists or members of staff present. Removing these photos completely would result in some important details of the location be missing in photopack.