What is a royalty free image?
The most basic concept you must know to work with stock photos is that you are acquiring the right to use a photo in a certain way, not the property of the photo itself.
The photographer who created the photo is still the owner of the photo. He/she holds the copyright, the official term pointing the ownership of photos, music, paintings, texts, and other intellectual physical or non-physical creations. Retaining the copyright is what allows photographers and artists from other disciplines to sell their work multiple times and generate more income. These photos are NOT copyright free or free images at all.
Stock agencies sell licenses that give the buyers the rights to use the photos, but they don't transfer the copyright, the ownership of the images.
Photographer and agency split the profit from the license sold. With some licenses, the customer must pay royalties to the copyright owner, the agency, or both, every time they use the photo. With Royalty Free, this doesn't happen. Buyer pays only once for a varied set of rights, and that's it.
Are there model releases for all individuals on this site?
Yes. This website asks for the releases prior to any image being uploaded.
Isn't the sale of Indigenous images a form of cultural appropriation?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as "the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own,especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture."
This site has had these comments before. The main photographer for this site is from the Fishing Lake Metis Settlement and a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. The models shown have agreed to present their image on this site which has been ratified through an agreement.