iStock is a great place to find the perfect image for your project. It’s a reputable stock photo agency. it has great premium and budget-friendly pictures, and they all come with a royalty-free license, making them suitable for marketing, advertising, social media, creative designs, and more.
However, if you visit the iStock website, you’ll quickly notice they place a watermark over all their images. Why do they do this? And how do you download iStock images without watermark, then?
We have the answers! Read on and find the best free and paid ways to download iStock photos, fast, easy, and risk-free without a watermark!
iStock (previously iStockphoto) offers professional images under a royalty free license. On the iStock site, the agency lets you surf, search, and view the entirety of the iStock image catalog for free; checking images won’t cost you money.
But with a few exceptions –that you’re about to discover– these are NOT free stock photos: if you wish to download and use an iStock photo on your design, you must do so using the on-page “Download” button, which automatically issues a license to use the file – depending on which method you use you may be able to do this for free, or might be required to pay a fee.
To avoid visitors using the photos without permission (without using the official iStock downloader button and obtaining a license), iStock uses “image previews,” image files in smaller resolution, and the good old tool of watermarks across the pictures to let you see what the photos look like and even test them in your project, but make sure you cannot use in finished designs.
If you want to remove watermarks from the photos and get the original, high-resolution file, you're in the right place!
For more details on the agency, read our full iStock review.
Download iStock Images Without Watermark
Without further ado, here are the best ways to get iStock photos without a watermark to use in your designs, legally and safely!
If you're new to iStock, you can take advantage of their exclusive free trial offer.
This trial lasts one month and lets you download up to 10 images in full size and without the watermark, completely free of charge!
Even better? You can choose any 10 images (including photos and illustrations) you wish from iStock’s large catalog, and they come with a royalty-free license enabling commercial use!
To sign up for the free trial, simply click here and follow the simple steps in the guide. It’s very easy.
Remember that this free trial is an initial free month for an annual plan, billed at $29/month. To start the trial, you will be required to fill in the payment information, but if you cancel your account within 30 days of activation, you will not be charged a penny (and you can keep the images you downloaded). If you stay subscribed, you will be billed from the second month onwards.
To see more offers like this, check out our list of stock photo free trials.
iStock has a permanent selection of free files available for download on their website. These files include three photos, three illustrations, and three iStock videos and get updated periodically. While they are usually less popular or older images, they can still be useful for certain projects.
The free files are also available without a watermark and still come with an official iStock license, making them a great option for those who don't want to pay for a subscription or credits.
Remember that as the selection of free images changes frequently, it’s a good idea to check back often to see if any new additions could work for your project.
For those needing access to numerous images, an iStock subscription is by far the best option. With a subscription, you can access a set number of monthly downloads, depending on your chosen plan. When you download an image with a subscription, the system will remove the watermark automatically.
Several different subscription plans are available, ranging from 10 to 750 downloads per month. The subscription cost varies depending on the plan you choose –they have options to access the entire library or for the budget-friendly section only, and you can opt between renewing month-to-month or committing for a whole year –the latter offers the lowest per-image prices of all. Overall, images with an iStock subscription can cost only a few dollars each and as little as $0.22 per download, making it a cost-effective option for those needing many images.
The greatest news, however, is that our exclusive iStock coupon code will give you a 15% discount on any iStock subscription you choose!
Using iStock credits might be the best option if you only need a few images, especially if you aren’t sure when to download them. With this system, you can buy a credit pack upfront and then use those credits to download images individually whenever you need.
Images cost in credits varies depending on the collection they’re in (Essential or Signature, more on this here). Downloading images with credits will also automatically remove watermark from the file.
The great benefit of the iStock credits is that they never expire: as long as you log in to your account once a year, your credits will remain active and ready to be used. Those credits let you download more than just images; iStock video clips, music tracks, extended licenses, and more resources can be bought with the same credit packs.
iStock offers packs from one and up to 300 credits, where the individual credit price (and thus, the final image price) is lower as the volume of credit gets higher. Normally, a budget-friendly Essential image at iStock will cost you between $8 and $12, for example, depending on the pack you have.
But we have excellent news! Our iStock Promo Code applies a 15% discount on any iStock credit pack you buy.
Even better? We have an exclusive iStock Discount on Large Credit Packs that will save you 25% off the regular price for packs from 18 credits and up!
Furthermore, using any “trick” to remove the iStock watermark that isn’t by automatic removal done by the agency during the download process is illegal and could get you in a lot of trouble.
We do not recommend using third-party online tools like watermark removers to get rid of the iStock watermark, not only because many tools give imperfect results and the final image is lower quality anyway, but mainly because this procedure is not legal.
iStock’s parent company, Getty Images, is well-known in the industry for constantly monitoring how its photos are used, easily detecting unauthorized uses across websites, social media, and other popular placements, and often pursuing legal compensation.
Trust us, it’s not worth the risk when you can download iStock photos legally for free or at a very affordable price.
Before we go, we’ll address the most common questions about the iStock watermark and how to remove it.
How to download iStockphoto without watermark?
Go to the iStock website, create a user account, select the image you want, open the image URL where you'll see all the details of the file, and then click the “Download” button. This will give you the full-resolution picture without the watermark, including the corresponding license for its use. You may download it for free with the iStock free trial or from the iStock free files section, or you will be required to pay for an iStock subscription or iStock credit pack.
Can you use iStock photos for free with watermark?
Yes, but only for personal and non-commercial purposes. iStock allows you to download the image preview, in lower resolution and watermarked, for free, for you to test into your designs or share with your team, among other possible pre-publishing uses. But you cannot use watermarked previews in finished, published designs.
How do I get free pictures from Istockphoto?
You can activate the iStock free trial and get 10 free pictures for one month. Or visit the iStock free files section and download any images you like from there. All without paying.
How do I download Istockphoto?
The agency is web-based; you can access it on your favorite browser, and you don’t need to install anything in order to see the image libraries and download photos.
To download a file from iStock, just use the button to download on the file’s link.
4 Safe and Easy Ways to Download iStock Free Without Watermark
As you can see, there are several risk-free ways to download iStock images without watermark. In this article, we listed the four best ones.
Whether you take advantage of the free trial, download the free files, sign up for a subscription, or use credits, you can find the perfect image for your project without breaking the bank, legally, and safely.
Which method are you going to use?
Header image: Copyright: Thomas_Zsebok_Images/istockphoto.com, all rights reserved.