Frequently asked questions

Media buyers:

Why can't I download the image I am looking at?

If you are looking at an image with a Rights Managed licence there will be no 'shopping cart' option underneath it. Instead you will need to request a quote from the photographer using the appropriate icon above the image. This is not an automated process and the photographer may be out in the field. In addition the photographer may restrict access to images to particular media buyers. If you are in a hurry please use the advanced search option with a keyword, and untick the RM licence box (so that you are only viewing images available for instant download). If you do request a quote please tell the photographer if you are registered with CIC as an under-resourced Civil Society Member, as this may affect the price and availability of the image.

Can I search for free photographs only?

Yes! As long as you are searching using a keyword, you can use the Advanced Search facility to search for images that have a Creative Commons licence. Just untick the Royalty Free and Rights Managed boxes. If you are registered with us as a CSM, you should also leave the Royalty Free box ticked, because those images will be free for you to use as long as you have already contacted us and we have sent you the appropriate code to use in the checkout process.

What are the criteria for being registered with CIC as a CSM?

A 'CSM' is an 'under-resourced civil society member', which includes civil society organisations, community groups and students. In general we would consider organisations that are run by volunteers or have five or fewer staff to count as CSMs. CSMs are invited to self-identify. This is not a commercial operation and we aspire to provide a civil society resource based on the principles of collaboration and trust. In addition, the fees for Royalty Free images are low - if your organisation can afford to pay them then please do so, because this helps to keep the site going as a resource for users who really can't afford to pay.

How do I register as a CSM?

All you need to do is go through the normal user registration process, and then contact us on A brief explanation of why you wish to register as a CSM would be appreciated.

Why can't I see a Rights Managed Calculator?

If you are a media buyer and you can't see a Rights Managed Calculator under a Rights Managed image, it is because we do not currently have the ability to allow some photographers to use the RM calculator and others to set their own prices. We're sorry about this, we hope that this is something we can introduce at a later stage. For now all media buyers need to use the 'Request a Quote' icon above the image when purchasing a Rights Managed image.

Why can't I download an exhibition image?

Our exhibition images are for exhibition only, and may include images that are not for sale. At the end of an exhibition all participating photographers are asked if they want to include their images in the main image library, for sharing or for sale. In addition, we have had to customise off-the-shelf commercial software to set this image library up, so we have had to create some 'workarounds' to provide free images and exhibition images. This means that exhibition images are labeled as Royalty Free, even though they are not currently for sale. This is a quirk of the system that we cannot currently correct.


What has happened to my request to register as a photographer?

You should see a welcome message in your email box - you need to validate your registration by clicking on the link in that message. if you have not received a message please check that you registered in the correct place - the 'photographer's registration' button on the right hand side of the page, not the 'customer' registration option, which is for people looking for images.

Why can't I see the photographs I uploaded?

Please be patient if you have just uploaded some images. They need to be approved before they appear in the library. As we are a small organisation this may not happen immediately. It is also possible that the system has rejected your image because of unusual characteristics in the file name, so please check that it only contains letters and numerals.

Why haven't my photographs been approved?

Images need to conform to our Ethical Guidelines. We may also reject images that are poor quality, or images that are of subjects where there are already many images. Tip: if your image is of a particular project, you can geotag it. We are keen to build a strong collection of images of specific projects and campaigns around the world.