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7 of the cheapest stock photo subscriptions

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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 – 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 3, 6 and 12 month customizable subscriptions. The cheapest subscription is $326 USD per month for 3 months ($979 USD) and awards the subscriber 30 credits per day.  The cost of each credit is $1.63 USD and can be used to download stock photos from any collection, vector files, video and audio files.  If you go for the largest subscription each credit is worth $1.08 USD.

One credit will buy you an xsmall photos, one small illustration, or 2 credits will buy an audio file. Video starts at 20 credits.  Subscriptions daily credits expire at 12 midnight and you gain the next set of your daily credits.

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

cheapest stock photo subscriptionsIngimage 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:

Exclusive Deal – Alternative

cheapest stock photo subscriptionsPhotozMania is a stock images bundle website. They offer thousands of high resolution stock photos within a bundle. You can buy bundels of Business Stock Photos, Beauty & Fashion, Baby, Kids, Sport & Fitness and a lot more topics. The cheapest bundles start at $15 but they also have a huge mixed stock photo bundle which consists of 1,000 high-end stock images. We have negotiated a special deal for you – you can now buy 1,000 stock images only for $37 (the value is $177). This is as low as $0,037 per image – insane!

  • Downloads  - 1,000 images (in one big bundle – mixed topics)
  • Image files - access to all high-res image files

PhotozMania as Shutterstock Alternative:

cheapest stock photo subscriptions

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 fotoskaufen.de (buy photos), fotos-verkaufen.de (sell photos) and StockPhotoSecrets.com. He is also creator of the Microstock Photo Plugin for WordPress, MicrostockCharts.com and GuteWolke.com – 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.



  1. Taylor says:

    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.

  2. And not to forget AbsolutVision http://www.absolutvision.com/
    300 highres or vector pictures/month for $50/year.

  3. Wedding Album Cafe says:

    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 says:

      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).

  4. tinadevi says:

    This list is out of date and there are definitely cheaper subscriptions out there. depositphotos.com 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 says:

      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?

  5. [...] 7 of the cheapest stock photo subscriptions [...]

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

    • Amos Struck says:

      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.


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