Frequently Asked Questions

  • Company Questions

  • How long has Fotosearch been around?
  • Publitek, Inc., was founded in 1987. In 1998 we introduced the Fotosearch website, bringing together the multiple image publishers from our catalog to one searchable web site. Fotosearch features an extensive library of rights-managed and royalty-free photography, illustrations, video footage, and audio from more than 120 publishers located all around the world. Fotosearch continues to lead the stock photography industry. With innovative web site features and outstanding personal service we are dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs and making it easy for graphic designers to Find the Perfect Photo Fast!™

  • Where are you located?
  • We are located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Just outside Milwaukee. About 90 miles north of Chicago.

  • Who is Fotosearch?
  • Publitek, Inc., dba Fotosearch is a provider of royalty free and rights managed stock photography, illustrations, maps and video. We bring together many different stock agencies to provide "The World's stock photography at one website."™ The products on Fotosearch can be licensed and easily downloaded for use in your advertisements, promotional materials, websites, etc. When you purchase a license to use an image or video clip you do so based on the license agreement of the publisher of that particular content. The license agreement will be presented to you before purchase confirmation. For more information about Fotosearch go to:

  • Website Questions

  • After purchase are the Watermarks still visible?
  • All images displayed on Fotosearch have a watermark imposed on them. This watermark is designed to prevent theft, but the images once purchased will not have our watermark on them when downloaded.

  • Can I add text to an image?
  • Yes, you are allowed to add text to an image, but image editing software and know-how are needed. All of our images can be manually edited to add text, but in all cases you must use a capable image editing program (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP). Depending on the intended usage, Microsoft Word will sometimes suffice as well.

  • Can I purchase on account and be billed for my purchases?
  • If your company is Dun & Bradstreet rated, then you can apply for terms at Fotosearch. Please call our sales staff for details.
    If you have been notified that you may purchase with terms do the following to place an order:
    Add products you would like to your cart as usual and click checkout,
    Choose your shipping method (if applicable),
    On the confirmation page, under 'Bill My Account' - Enter the appropriate PO number in the Purchase Order box,
    Click Submit,
    You will be billed for the amount of the purchase as agreed upon in your purchase order.

  • Can I use an image in a newspaper / magazine?
  • Yes! This usage is permitted.

    However, note that some of the publisher's license agreements may limit printing to up to 1,000,000 reproductions. Please be sure to check the license agreement for your specific image(s). In some cases you may be able to purchase the image with an enhanced license that would remove the reproductions limit.

    Also, note that when an image is used editorially, an image credit is required.

  • Can I use an image on a product for sale such as a poster or greeting card?
  • With most Royalty Free images the publishers license agreement will allow for products for resale use. You will always want to check the specific license agreement for your particular image of interest. You can find the link to the publishers license agreement for an image on the image pricing page below the listed sizes and pricing.

    Also, you may find that some publishers license agreements put a limit on the number of products that can be made with their images. Again, a check of the specific license agreement for your particular image of interest.

  • Can I use an image on my website?
  • All of our images can be used for illustration use on your website(s).

    Just remember that you cannot share the files (i.e. encourage downloading), post them on websites that are not yours, and make sure that the image resolution of the image files does not exceed 72dpi.

  • Can I use images for advertisements and marketing material?
  • All of our Royalty Free images can be used in advertisements, brochures, flyers, banners, stationary, business cards, and other marketing material. Most of the Rights Managed images can be as well, however, there are some RM images that are designated 'Editorial Only'. Those images will not give you any options for licensing for anything other than editorial uses.

  • Can I use the image as my logo?
  • The publishers represented through Fotosearch do not allow their images to be incorporated into a logo, trademark, or service mark.

  • Can I Use the Image in a Book?
  • Yes! Our Standard License Agreement permits all of our images to be used on book covers, and inside books for illustration up to 1,000,000 copies.

    If you think you will eventually sell over 1,000,000 copies of your book, you will need to purchase the Enhanced License.

  • Can the images be used on Facebook and blogs?
  • You may use our images on your Facebook page and blog. If a recognizable person is present, then the image may not be used as a profile picture.

    Please regard the size restrictions: You may not publicly display Content: (a) as a standalone file in any digital format on the internet; or (b) display image files embedded within a website at a resolution larger than 1 megapixels (approximately 1200x800 pixels) without modifying over 33% of the original Content file (e.g. via addition to text, cropping, design editing, etc);

    We do request you add the credit attribution when you use images for your blog.

  • Can you purchase credits to buy and download images?
  • Yes, Fotosearch does offer credit options. You can view and purchase credits to license and download images at:

  • Do all images have backgrounds? What if I want a transparent image?
  • JPG images all have backgrounds, as the JPG file format is incapable of being transparent. However, with the right image editing program and know-how, most backgrounds can be easily removed.

    EPS files give you more control, and in many cases give you the option of easily removing the background - presuming you are using proper image editing program.

  • Do footage clips contain an alpha-channel/transparency?
  • Some of our footage clips do contain an alpha channel, for making transparent videos.

    These videos have the alpha portion appended to the end of the clip. They are easy to spot, as the first half of the clip looks normal, and then the second half of the video is the inverted alpha version.

    No clip is transparent on it's own, and all require the appropriate video editing program and knowledge.

  • Do I have to pay sales tax?
  • Because we are located in Wisconsin, sales tax will be collected only on purchases from customers in Wisconsin.

  • Do You Do Custom Work?
  • Fotosearch does not offer any custom images, or any custom work done to the images available in our library.

  • Do you have Unwatermarked High Resolution Comping Images Available?
  • By contract with the publishers represented through Fotosearch we do not have high resolution comping images available prior to purchase. You can download watermarked low resolution comping images from the digital image pricing page.

  • Do you offer a subscription service?
  • Yes, we do offer a subscription. Please copy and past the following link into your URL to get to our subscription database.

  • Do you take submissions?
  • Fotosearch does not take submissions directly.We represent 120 stock photography and video publishers that work with artists and videographers from around the world.

    We do work with a site that does take submissions. Clicking the link below will redirect you to Can Stock Photo.

    Can Stock Photo will review your images and video clips, and provide your approved contributions to Fotosearch.

    In order to submit your content the images must meet the following criteria: you must be the legal owner of the images you must have the ability to enter into a binding legal agreement in English you must provide a signed model release for all images containing recognizeable faces you must provide a signed property release for all images containing privately owned / copyright property you must provide keywords in English for all images all images meet minimum quality standards: (3.0 Megapixels for images) all images are available without restrictions for worldwide sales

    If you meet these criteria, please copy the link below and paste it into your URL.

    Clicking this link will redirect you to Can Stock Photo Can Stock Photo will process your images and provide those images to Fotosearch.

  • How can I add images to a lightbox?
  • Click the 'heart' icon which is located on the lower left hand corner of the image on the Search Results page. On the Image Detail pages you will find the option to 'add image to lightbox' below the image.

  • How can I get a comping image?
  • The image on the Image Details page is available for comping purposes. To download the image, place your cursor on the image. For Windows just Right click, and choose ‘Save Image As’ from the menu. For Mac hold down the Control key and click your mouse to access a similar menu.

    Unwatermarked comping images are available upon request.

  • How can I get a comping video?
  • Fotosearch does not currently offer video comps.

  • How can I request a return?
  • We will refund your purchase within 30 days of the original purchase date for any reason, with the exception of subscription, credits and print purchases.

    If you cannot use the downloaded image, or decide not to use the image you can return the purchase for a full refund within 30 days. To do so you will need to call or email us with your order number within 30 days of the purchase. We will then email you a return form that you can print, sign and then send back to us. Once we receive the signed form we can process the return and issue credit to the original form of payment used on the order.

    Subscription purchases can only be returned within 30 days IF the purchaser has not downloaded any images through the subscription service. Likewise, credit package purchases can be returned within 30 days only IF the credits package has not been used.

    Print purchases may be subject to a 20% restocking fee on a return for any reason other than damage. Damaged prints will be replaced.

    If a print arrives damaged we will need to know within 7 days of the print being delivered.

  • How can I update my account information?
  • Log into your account using your username and password. Once in your account click the 'Account Information' link. There you may choose to Change Profile or Change Password. (You cannot change the billing information on an accounts payable account.)
    Choosing 'Change Profile' will allow you to change basic information such as your email address, the email format or the contact frequency. (Decide if you would or would not like to receive promotional emails for discounts and specials.)

    You can also click the 'Billing Information' link to change the billing information on an account. (You cannot change the billing information on an accounts payable account.)

    You can also click the 'Shipping Information' link to change the shipping information on an account.

    *You cannot change your username.*

  • How Can I Upgrade an Image?
  • You can actually upgrade the images to a larger size directly through your account. Simply log into your account at by clicking 'My Account' at the top center of the page. Once you have logged into your account you will see the downloads for the images. Under the image thumbnail for each image you will see a link 'Need a larger size?'. Simply click the link to upgrade the image.

  • How do I download my purchase?
  • If you have registered with a username and password you will be taken back to the account to download the files. You can access your downloads for up to 90 days after purchase.

    If you have purchased as a 'Guest' you will be able to download immediately after purchase. Without a username or password this will be the only time you will be able to download your purchase. If you cannot find the image, or you need to get the download again you can request that the file be emailed to you.

    To start the download process just click on the "Download" button below the image or disc thumbnail to download the files. Clicking on the thumbnail of the image will not download the image.
    It is very important when downloading images to follow the on screen instructions completely.
    If you can't find the image on your computer after downloading, try the download again, this time selecting your desktop as the destination of the downloaded file.

  • I received a $0.xx fee on my credit card from Fotosearch. What is this?
  • All payments that we charge are displayed directly in the email receipt that is sent to you.

    The fee you're likely referring to is often called an "International Transaction" fee, which is actually charged by your credit card company. This fee is usually for under a dollar, and shows up as a separate charge from your original order.

    This fee is NOT charged by us, even though it may be misleadingly displayed in our name. Some credit card companies charge their customers for all orders that take place outside of their home country. Since we are a US company, we may be considered to be an international merchant.

    We would like to note that many credit card companies do not charge any such fee, which we think is fairest for their cardholders. If you were charged a fee, you can of course confirm this directly with your credit card company.

  • My EPS file won't open in Corel Draw. Why?
  • Many of our EPS images are created with modern software packages, with Adobe Illustrator being the most common. Unfortunately some versions of Corel Draw are unable to open more modern EPS file formats.

  • What are Rights-Managed Images?
  • Rights-Managed images are images that must be licensed for a specific use. The fee for these images is calculated from several factors including size, placement, duration, and geographic location. Rights-managed images are licensed for a specific use and cannot be used for any purpose other than what is specified when licensing the image. If you are looking for a unique image, then look to Rights-Managed images. They will often provide a more distinct image than will royalty-free.

  • What can I do within my account?
  • Once in your account you can:
    Review and print invoices from past purchases
    Re-download images from a completed order for images that were purchased
    within the past 90 days
    Update your account profile

  • What does Royalty Free mean?
  • Royalty Free is a type of license in stock photography where the image pricing is set by the publisher by file size not usage. Once you have paid the license fee to use the image you can use the image again and again without paying royalties each time you use it. The royalty free licenses have no expiration date and are good for worldwide use.

    You still must always use the images within the legal licensed terms.

  • What is a lightbox?
  • A lightbox is an area where you can save images to review or purchase later on. You do not need to use lightboxes to purchase. Lightboxes are great for saving images that you are interested in, and are the best way to have images approved by a client or supervisor before you buy. Only registered, logged-in users can save a lightbox in their account. You can add images to a temporary lightbox during your current session on our site that can be emailed to you or your client.

  • What is a model release?
  • A model release is a release signed by the person(s) shown in an image. In the release the person depicted in the image gives consent for his or her likeness to be used for commercial purposes - including advertising, publishing, promotion, etc.

  • What is an EPS file?
  • EPS files / vector images, are different in that they are computer generated. This allows for quick and easy editing of all of the images components and the ability to enlarged to any size without any loss of quality.

    To open an EPS file, you will need a vector based image editing program. Common programs are Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Inkscape (free). Adobe Photoshop also can open EPS images, although it cannot edit/view the individual layers.

    EPS files are delivered within a ZIP file, so remember to unzip the individual EPS image first. We also include a JPG version of the image for your convenience.

  • What is a property release?
  • A property release is a release signed by the owner(s) of the property shown in an image. In the release, the owner gives consent for the image depicting his or her property to be used for commercial purposes - including advertising, publishing, promotion, etc.

  • What is a ZIP file? How can I open it?
  • Some of our images are delivered inside ZIP files. These are like buckets, which can hold multiple images and shrink the size of the images they hold. We use these to deliver large files, or deliver multiple image files at once.

    Most computers come with software that can open ZIP files, already loaded. There are also many free programs available as well, with (WinRAR) being the most popular for Windows computers.

    Once you open the ZIP file, copy/export the file(s) to your desktop, or anywhere else you would like to save the files. You can then access the images from your computers copy.

  • What is File Compression?
  • When you purchase an image from Fotosearch, that image will be delivered to you in a compressed format. The file size listed for the image may be 10 or 28MB but the file that you download will generally be less than 10% of that size. After you save the file in an uncompressed format, it will expand to the listed size.
    Most of our vendors offer their images in JPEG format. When using JPEG images no image degradation is noticeable after a single compression/decompression cycle. However, further compression(s) to and from the JPEG format will degrade the image quality to an extent that eventually it will become visible. To retain maximum quality in these images simply avoid re-saving the image in JPEG format and use uncompressed formats such as TIFF or EPS or a loss-less compression format such as TIFF with LZW compression.

  • What type of payment options are available?
  • Fotosearch accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal.

  • When will my print order ship?
  • Print orders take 1-2 business days to process at the printer before shipping.

  • Where did my files save to?
  • We do not directly control where your purchased files are saved, as that is up to you and your browser. Usually they are saved to your Desktop or "My Downloads" directory.

    You may want to search your computer for "fotosearch".

    If you can't find the file, you can re-download it.

  • General

  • Are the images Free?
  • No, Fotosearch does not have any 'Free" images. "Royalty Free" and "Free" are not the same thing. Royalty Free is a type of license in stock photography where the image pricing is set by the publisher by file size, not usage. But once you have paid the license fee to use the image you can use the image again and again without paying royalties each time you use it

  • Can I order what is in the picture?
  • Fotosearch only sells images of objects, and not the objects themselves.

  • Does Fotosearch offer prints of the images?
  • We do offer prints on most of the images that we have available for digital downloads. Some publishers do not allow us to sell prints of their images yet, so not all images are available as prints. If an image is available as a print you will see a box labeled "Available as a PRINT" below the image on the pricing for the image. Click on the blue box to go to the print options available.

  • Do I have to pay to become a member of your website?
  • Fotosearch does not charge a membership fee. However, the images must be licensed for the pricing listed on our website before they may be used for any purpose (with the exception of brief comping use to obtain client approval).

  • Do you offer discounted or special pricing for government, educational or reseller use?
  • Fotosearch is a reseller for more than 120 publishers. Each publisher sets the pricing for their images, clips or collections. As a reseller and per our contracts with each of these publishers there is not any separate pricing for government, education or other resellers. In fact the license agreements from the publishers does not allow for reselling the licenses to use the images or clips.

  • Do you provide image editing services?
  • We do not do currently offer any custom design work in-house

  • How do I find a specific image?
  • Every file that we sell has a unique image number or name. This number is displayed below the image on the digital image pricing page, in the URL (link), and in the downloaded image file name. Simply copy this number into our search box and hit enter, you should then be taken directly to the file.

  • What does an image/video cost?
  • For Royalty Free images and clips we have several sizes available for each file that you will find, to help fit your need & budget.

    To see the price of a image file or video clip, simply click on the image/clip thumbnail that you're interested in from your search. The image or clip will come up on the left side of the page you will find our digital image pricing and various sizes to the right.

    For Rights Managed images you will see the image on the left and the 'Image Price Calculator' on the right. You will need to select a usage and then fill in the corresponding factors to get a price for your particular usage.

  • What is the ordering Process for an image?
  • The following is a brief summary of the purchasing process.

    1. Please type the image number, or keywords, into the search box to find an image that you are interested in.

    2. Click on the image thumbnail found in your search to get to our pricing page.

    3. Please select the size needed from the list of options; then click the download button.

    This will add the image to your shopping cart and take you to the shopping cart.

    4. When you have added all of the images you are interested in to the shopping cart please click the green "checkout" button to proceed.

    5. The next screen will ask you to either login to your account(if you have one) or proceed as a guest purchase. Once you have completed the login, or guest purchase set up, process you will be taken to the payment screen.

    6. Please select a payment method (credit card or PayPal) on the checkout page.

    7. You will need to click the check box for "I agree to the license agreement" before clicking 'Submit Order' to complete the order.

    8. Finally, when the purchase is completed; please click on the "Download" button for each of the images in your account and begin the download process.

  • Licensing

  • Can I license the use of an image for exclusivity?
  • Some Royalty-Free images may be available for exclusivity. This would have to be negotiated. In some cases we may be able to license a Rights-Managed image for exclusivity based on the industry (for a period no longer than 5-years).

  • How can I get a invoice/receipt for my purchase?
  • If you have an account with a username and password you may log into your account anytime and download a copy of the invoice or receipt under the 'Invoices' tab. For a copy of the invoice/receipt on a 'Guest' purchase you can download that at the time of download or you can contact Fotosearch to request that paperwork.

  • How can I re-download my purchase?
  • If the purchase was made more than 90 days ago you can contact Fotosearch to have us turn the order back on again for another 30 days. As long as the publisher has not discontinued the image for license we can do this for you. You would then just log into your account with your username and password.

    If you made your purchase as a "Guest" you will need to contact Fotosearch to have us send you the file. We can do this as long as the publisher has not discontinued the image.

  • How long is my download available?
  • If you have an account with a username and password you may log into your account anytime during the 90 days after purchase to download the files again. You can do this as many times as you'd like within the 90 day period. As a 'Guest' purchase your download is only available immediately after your purchase.

  • What is your refund policy?
  • We will refund your purchase within 30 days of the original purchase date for any reason, with the exception of subscription, credit packages and print purchases.

    Subscription purchases can only be returned within 30 days IF the purchaser has not downloaded any images through the subscription service. Credit packages can only be returned within 30 days IF the credits package has not been used.

    Print purchases may be subject to a 20% restocking fee on a return for any reason other than damage. Damaged prints will be replaced.

    If a print arrives damaged we will need to know within 7 days of the print being delivered.

  • What size should I purchase?
  • We have a number of sizes available, depending on the type of file and your intended usage:

    Most images are provided in .jpg format, which is a form of compression. The .jpg format is the most commonly used format for stock photography. The compressed .jpg format makes downloading the image files quicker and easier.

    The files size, resolution and image dimensions of each image is displayed in inches, beside each purchase option. You can also click the 'px' to see the image listed in pixels, or click 'cm' to see the dimensions listed in centimeters. The 300dpi files are recommended for printing.

    Small/web or Web Resolution (If available) - Best suited for website and small media use.

    Low Resolution: Full screen PowerPoint presentations, website banners, may be able to be used for printing up to business card size.

    Medium resolution - Post cards, greeting cards, cd covers and half page brochure printing.

    High resolution - Full page (8x10") printing.

    Super high resolution (If available) - Large format printing and magazine quality prints.

    EPS Vector (If available) - Maximum quality digital illustration printing of any size, digital editing.

    TIFF – the uncompressed format of images. Most images can be downloaded in the .tif format as well.

    Low Resolution (If available) - Embedded website use

    Standard Def. - Medium size web based media (YouTube)

    HD (If available) - Broadcast, film, and maximum quality media

  • Why did my subscription automatically renew?
  • When you purchase a subscription, you are given the option of having it renew automatically at the end of its term or not. This comes down to a user's personal preference. Your account setting will be remembered for future subscriptions.

    If you elect to set your account to not auto-renew, your subscription will expire normally at the end of its term. If you opt to have it auto-renew, it will re-bill as usual when your first subscription expires.

    You can check & modify your renewal status at any time by logging into "your account and click on the tab 'Manage Subscriptions'. You will see the 'Auto-renew' box under the expiration date.

    PayPal users should note the renewal of their subscriptions is managed directly by PayPal. We do not have the ability to directly bill your PayPal account. So you may cancel your subscription directly through your PayPal account.

    Note that if you have an accidental renewal that you have not used yet, just contact us and we'll be happy to refund it.

  • Why was my purchase declined? I know my card is good?
  • If you are receiving a "declined" message and are sure that you entered your card number and expiry date correctly, then this means that your credit card company denied the purchase.

    The reason for this often has nothing to do with your credit card balance. Most cards in this case are declined because they are not set to allow online or international purchases. Or the transaction may look unusual in the context of your purchasing history, which prompts your bank to deny the purchase.

    In all cases, this can be easily and quickly resolved by calling your credit card company. Explain the situation and let them know that your purchase was just declined. If you ask the representative specifically, "can you look to see if there has been an attempt on my card in the amount of the attempted purchase", they can check and provide you with more information, and likely resolve the issue for you.

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