Stock photos are an element of most covers (that are not illustrated).  they are photos, purchased on a specific licence, that are used on book covers.  Many books are considered composite – they use multiple stock photos to build and design the cover.
Because they are licenced, it’s important to check with your designer that they are available for the uses you need, and discuss both print and ebook covers to ensure you’re allowed to use them everywhere and what limitations they have.
The right stock photos can make or break your book so be sure you’re happy with them.

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