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Commercial and Editorial Use: What do they mean?

Photos on Twenty20 can be licensed royalty free under two types of usage: Commercial or Editorial.

When a photo is uploaded to Twenty20, it is reviewed by our rights and clearance team before it can be cleared for Editorial use and/or Commercial use. While most photos are available for Editorial Use, not all photos are available for Commercial Use.

Here's why:

Commercial Use

Why should I care about Commercial clearance?

"When your photo is cleared for Commercial Use, your likelihood of selling the photo increases exponentially."

This is because a customer can use your photo for a greater variety of use cases (for both Commercial and Editorial Use). Don't worry, you always own the rights to your photos. This just means you can sell the same photo to more customers, so you can earn more money.


Why are some of my photos not cleared for Commercial Use?

Some photos cannot be cleared for Commercial Use due to protected properties in the photo. This is to protect customers from using photos with elements in the photo that they do not have permission to use for commercial purposes.

Some of the main reasons a photo cannot be cleared for Commercial are:

  • Lack of property or model releases
  • Visible company branding, trademarks, or logos
  • Isolated buildings, recognizable interiors or other identifiable property
  • Visible artworks and design (ex: digital art, illustrations, graffiti or a designer piece of furniture)
  • Anything that could be linked back to a person's identity/property is shown (ex: license plate)

Try to focus on uploading photos that can be cleared for Commercial Use. If your photo cannot be cleared for Commercial Use, a smaller number of customers can still license it for Editorial Use (ex: some blogs or social media)

If you have experience with shooting for stock catalogs or commercial purposes, we recommend checking your photos for protected elements (like logo) and removing them in Photoshop or other photo editing apps.

Learn more about what makes a photo available for Commercial Use by adding the Commercial filter in search or collections from our website to see photos available for Commercial Use.


When do customers need my photos to be Commercially cleared?

Customers need photos with Commercial Clearance when promoting a product or service or when using your photo in any promotional way. Some examples of when customers need commercially cleared photos:

  • For advertisements (digital or print)
  • On websites, apps, and other places that promote or sell a product


Editorial Use

Why are some of my photos not cleared for Editorial Use?

Photos that have not been cleared for Editorial Use have been flagged by our system as pending ownership verification.

When a photo is uploaded to our site, our legal team runs it through our system. If the photo is found elsewhere on the internet, we flag the photo and put a hold on its clearance. Our system detects that the photo may not belong to the Twenty20 photographer because it exists somewhere else. If you can provide information showing that the photo is yours, or other sites that the photo is on and your affiliation, we can clear the photo.

Note: Photos that are not cleared for Editorial Use are automatically not cleared for Commercial Use.


If my photo is only Editorially cleared, how can a customer use my photo?

Photos can be used editorially to accompany internal presentations, news articles, blog or social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) where the purpose is solely to inform, educate or entertain and not to promote a product or service.


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