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7 of the cheapest stock photo subscriptions


7 of the cheapest stock photo agency subscriptionsStock photo subscriptions decrease the price of stock photos by over 50% if not more and can save designers, companies and agencies a lot of money. If you need large amounts of stock photos on an ongoing basis, a subscription is your best choice. If you are about to start a project that requires a lot of stock photos, most stock agencies have one month or three month subscriptions.

This list defines 7 of the cheapest subscriptions. It breaks down the cost per photo and identifies the basic conditions of each stock photo agency.

1st – Adobe Stock Subscription

Adobe Stock LogoAdobe Stock 1 or 12 month subscription plans, they even let you try Adobe Stock one month free here. Adobe’s cheapest subscription is $29,99 USD per month and provides you with 10 images. But compared to Shutterstock they also allow “Rollower for up to 120 images” into the next months. That means you can save up image downloads if you don’t need them and use them within a year. Thats pretty awesome. Each image costs Additional images at $2.99 USD on the monthy basic subscription and can go as cheap as .26¢ USD per image for the one year plan. This is the cheapest stock photo subscription we tested here compared with Shutterstock and iStock. But they are not only allowing you to just buy the Adobe Stock subscription additionally to your Creative Cloud subscription. You can even get access and manage your images directly from Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC and other Adobe CC desktop apps.

2st – Shutterstock Subscription

ShutterstockShutterstock has 1, 3, 6 or 12 month subscription plans. The cheapest subscription is $249 USD per month and provides you with 25 images per day in the largest file size.  Each image costs .33¢ USD on the basic subscription and can go as cheap as .28¢ USD per image for the one year plan. This includes all royalty free stock photos and vectors.

2st – iStockphoto Subscription

cheapest stock photo subscriptionsiStockphoto has just announced a new and cheaper iStock subscription program which consists of a essentials and a signature edition.The cheapest subscription is $199 USD per month or for 1 year $1999 USD and let the subscriber download 250 photos, vectors or illustrations a month. iStock do not have a daily download limit anymore.  The cost of more expensive subscription, called signature edition, is $499 USD a month or $3,999 USD a year and can be used to download up to 250 stock photos from any collection, vector files, video and audio files. Besides these subscriptions, iStock still offers credit packs which you can get for cheap if we have a iStockphoto promo code at the moment.

3st – Fotolia Subscription

Fotolia LogoFotolia has 1, 3, 6 and 12 month subscription plans with a Standard  and Premium option. Number of downloads and users can be customized by the subscriber. Under the standard one month subscription with 25 downloads per day, the subscribers pays $199 USD with each photo costing .26¢ USD. The least expensive price for a photo under the largest subscription is .14¢ USD. Subscriptions renew on a 24 hour basis and is determined by the subscriber at the time of sign up.

The standard subscription defines a download as a x-small to large JPEG image. The premium subscription includes all sizes of images, vectors and video in their downloads, each being one download.

4st -Dreamstime Subscription

Dreamstime LogoDreamstime has one week, 1, 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions and customizes their subscriptions to include 10, 25, or 50 downloads a day.  The basic subscription for one week, 10 downloads per day is $44.99 USD with a download costing.64¢ USD. The largest subscription has a price of .20¢ USD per download.

It is important to note that Dreamstime categorizes their photos into three levels. One download includes level 1-2 images.  Other levels require a subscriber to use 2 or 3 downloads to be able to include them in their subscription plan.

5st – 123rf Subscription

123rf Logo123rf has 1, 3 and 12 month subscription options with 6 choices in total. The least expensive 30 day with 5 images per day subscription is $89 USD with each image costing.59¢ USD. The largest subscription is .33¢ USD per image.  Images on the subscription plans are XXL images with a standard license.

6st – Stockfresh Subscription

cheapest stock photo subscriptionsStockfresh has 1, 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions with a 5 or 25 image download per day option. The basic subscription for one month with 5 downloads per day is $99 USD with images being 66¢ USD per image.  The largest subscription is 33¢ USD per image. Image sizes that can be downloaded on the subscription plan are x-small, small and medium sized images.  Larger sizes need to be purchased with credits. Download limits are refreshed at 12 midnight.

7.) Ingimage Subscription

IngImage LogoIngimage is a new stock photo agency that focuses on quality not quantity. Their subscriptions are great value, offer 1000 downloads per month and provide 4 subscription options, 1, 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions. Their library is smaller, but there stock photos are hand picked by their editors to ensure unique images, great photos and quality photos to choose from. They too are offering new members a free subscription trial before you commit to their subscription services. The free subscription trial is for 7 days with 5 downloads per day, a total of 35 free stock photos.

  • Downloads per day – 35 images (250 images per week)
  • Subscription types – one subscription option only for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months
  • Image files – access to all image types; photos, vectors, illustrations

Ingimage as Shutterstock Alternative:

Confused? Review each of the agencies in detail to understand all membership benefits and and payment plans.


About the author

Amos Struck is the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, a publishing company which operates several German and international stock photo online magazines, including (buy photos), (sell photos) and He is also creator of the Microstock Photo Plugin for WordPress, and – a company introducing stock photo venders to new sales outlets. He’s committed to shaping the future of the stock photo industry through innovation and strategic investments.

  • Taylor

    Thanks so much for this article, it saved me so much time from doing the usual endless one by one search. As mu budget is very low I wanted to find a site that would allow me at least one image per day for a monthly subscription and photoxpress is perfect for that. A great help, thanks again.

  • Karin Holmqvist

    And not to forget AbsolutVision
    300 highres or vector pictures/month for $50/year.

  • Wedding Album Cafe

    Are you kidding me? There is nothing cheap about shutterstock! at almost $20 per image they have to be the most expensive agency out there. Why not add FeaturePics to this list? They have plans for as low as $1 per image.

    • Amos Struck

      You might did not read their plans correct – Download 25 images every day!! for $249 which is not $20 per image its 25 Images a day multiplicated with 30 days which makes it 750 Images for $249 ($0,332 per Image).

      • A. mohamed

        but this price not for commercial which I asked !!!
        there is very expensive price for commercial !

        • Amos Struck

          All of the agencies supply images for commercial usage. I don’t know where you referring at, sorry.

  • tinadevi

    This list is out of date and there are definitely cheaper subscriptions out there. is one of them. One other point to mention is that most of us looking for affordable stock photography are not looking for 1000 images and don’t have 30 days to dedicate to downloading images. Find us some practical and reasonable plans! Please!

    • Amos Struck

      You are absolutely right, we should include depositphotos within this subscription comparison. Every plan or offer fits another need of and niche of customers. What is a practical and reasonable plan for you?

  • Pingback: The PROs and CONs of Stock photography | captured moments()

  • marco colazingari

    Hi Amos, very helpful, thanks. I was thinking about offering subscriptions for digital library, and I would like to know which plan, among the ones that you have analyzed so far, do you favor?

    • Amos Struck

      Hello Marco, thanks for your question. I actually do not recommend to offer subscription for a niche stock agency like yours. Vintage and archive stock photos are quite special and most of the people might only want to use them for one or two purposes. From the 7 recommended stock photo subscription i do like the Fotolia and the Ingimage ones. Fotolia has a rollover from one month into another while IngImage has a good value for the money you pay.