Download iStock Images Without Watermark: 4 Free or Cheap Ways! homepage

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!

Why Are iStock Images Watermarked?

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! pricing

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! 

#1. iStock Free Trial (FREE)

This is the best way to download iStock images free and without watermark! free trial to download istock images without watermark

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.

#2. iStock Free Files (FREE)

This is a very good alternative to get free iStock photos, unwatermarked and safe to use.

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.

You can find iStock’s free files at the bottom of the homepage right here!

#3. iStock Subscription Plans (Exclusive Discount – SUPER AFFORDABLE)

This is the perfect solution to get all the iStock pictures you wish, without annoying watermarks, at the lowest possible price. pricing

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. exclusive discount

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!

Don't waste time, and buy your choice of stock videos and stock images at iStock: 15% discount on everything: subscriptions and image packs.

You can buy your iStock subscription right here. 

#4. iStock Credit Packs (Exclusive Discount – AFFORDABLE & FLEXIBLE)

This method is perfect if you want flexibility regarding how and when to download images at iStock.

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. 18 credits exclusive discount

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.

Don't waste time, and buy your choice of stock videos and stock images at iStock: 15% discount on everything: subscriptions and image packs.

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! 

Get an exclusive 25% discount on your purchase of large credit packs at iStock! This discount applies to packs from 18 credits and up, only.

Here, you can buy your iStock credits. 

WARNING: Illegal Methods Are Dangerous and Not Worth It

We cannot stress enough that downloading images from iStock without using the “Download” button is illegal. You do not get a license authorizing you to use the file if you do it this way; thus, you’re infringing the artist’s copyright and iStock’s terms. 

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.

iStock Watermark FAQ

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/, all rights reserved.

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

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