In graphic design and especially in visual marketing, when the creative process is the task of a team, the standard stock photo accounts just don’t cut it.
Licensing restrictions, single-login limitations, difficulty managing the download allowance, and supervising account use are just some of the woes to deal with when you have an individual stock photo subscription, yet you design and use stock photos as part of a team.
Enter multi-user stock photo subscriptions, plans specifically designed to address the needs of those who collectively create that, usually, come with the addition of unique features for businesses and enterprises.
Today we’ll break down multi-user accounts and identify the best offers in stock photo websites for you to find your team’s best match in stock photography services. Read on!
If you’re not well-versed in stock media licensing, you may wonder why is a multi-user or team plan even a thing. Can’t you just buy a royalty-free images subscription and give your login details to whomever you want? Well, no, you can’t. Doing so would get you in murky legal waters with any stock photo agency you tried this at.
A valid license is a MUST to use stock photos (or any other stock media file) legally and safely in your projects. Using images without a license or proper authorization from the owner constitutes copyright infringement and is a source of many legal problems. This is why free stock photo sites aren't the wisest choice when you need photos for commercial use –unless they're truly copyright-free images, such as those under Public Domain.
Stock photo companies prevent this from happening, too. For example, they restrict the number of devices your account can be logged into and disable simultaneous downloading of royalty-free stock photos from multiple devices.
The basic answer is obvious: team subscriptions are ideal for… teams. But when talking practically, not all teams really need a shared stock photo subscription. If you only download a handful of new images occasionally, and if your deadlines aren't tight, then using an account individually isn't all that troublesome.
Plus, these are often corporate or enterprise accounts with a lot of other features than just account-sharing, which is certainly useful but also impacts the plans' final price. If you don't see an immediate benefit in improved licensing, custom search, or batch downloading, then spending on a multi-user service isn't justified.
Now we’ve covered the ins and outs of multi-seat accounts, let's talk about where it is best to buy a multiuser stock photo subscription. We have reviewed the best stock photo sites out there, and these are, in our opinion, the top 5 offers. It comes as no surprise, they are all from agencies that also offer some of the best stock photo subscriptions of 2023!
1. Stock Photo Secrets Multi-User – Ideal for Small Businesses
At the Stock Photo Secrets Shop, we recently launched multi-user subscriptions that aim at being functional and affordable for all, especially for teams under tight budgets. We take pride in having created offers with some of the lowest price points you’ll find, while delivering a high-quality and flexible service.
Our multi-user plans are simple: you select a download limit for your whole team to share, select how many members you want to share the account with, and get a single login for everyone. All the plans are billed annually upfront, and they save you a lot of money!
For example, our most popular 99Club subscription gives you 200 downloads to use in one year. The single-user version costs $99 a year. In multi-user, up to 3 seats cost $199, meaning you’re saving the amount of a whole subscription. For up to 5 seats, the price is $299, which effectively means you’re paying for 3 users and getting access for 5! It's a similar scheme for our buyer-favorites Low Volume, and 299Club plans as well. See them all right here!
The images come with a standard license, but you get exclusive discounts for extended licenses and discounts in image packs (if you need additional images) and even video clips.
We also have plans with a monthly download limit, so there are options for everyone.
2. Shutterstock Premier – A Roundup Solution for Large Teams
Shutterstock is so popular thanks to its gigantic library and tech eagerness. They are also the pioneers of the stock photo subscription, so it makes sense they have one of the most complete multi-user services for enterprises and teams.
Shutterstock Premier, such is the name of the service, offers month-to-month and annual plans, and you can gain access for any number of users you wish.
The perks of being a Premier customer include a license with extra usage rights –different from the regular standard or extended license–, batch downloading for busy creatives, personalized search assistance, custom-curated lightboxes, and your own regional account manager.
This is a tailored offer, so the final price will depend on your particular needs, but it’s certainly a great and well-rounded option for businesses.
- Get the full scoop on Shutterstock Premier Platform
- Know the company better in our Shutterstock review
- Get your Premier Plan right now!
- Unlock an exclusive 25% off on the new 30-credit pack with our special Shutterstock 30-Credit Pack Coupon
- Save up to 15% in regular plans with our Shutterstock Coupon Code
- Try Shutterstock for free for one month with the Shutterstock Free Trial
3. iStock Teamshare – Exclusive Content for Up to 10 Users
iStock is well-known for dividing its catalog into budget, everyday images, and exclusive, higher-quality photos. Their corporate solution, dubbed iStock Teamshare, gives full access to the entire library, including the exclusive premium images.
They have plans for up to 10 users sharing one account, with a single login and a communal download allowance. Content licensed under a Teamshare plan comes with all the standard guarantees from iStock, including legal protection. iStock is one of the few agencies that enable the rollover of unused downloads from one month to the next.
To know how much a multi-seat account will cost you, you need to contact the iStock sales team directly and request a quote. But in general lines, it's a good deal.
- Learn more about the agency in our iStock review
- Get your iStock Teamshare account now
- Save up to 15% in regular plans with the iStock Promo Codes!
4. Adobe Stock for Teams – Multi-Seat Access for Creative Cloud Fans
Adobe Stock is not only a great stock photo service but one integrally linked to the Adobe Creative Cloud platform. While you can still use it independently, its core value is in the fact you can access, surf, test edit, and license content –stock images, stock videos, stock music, and more– from their catalog right on any of their editing apps’ interfaces. So if you and your team love to work with Photoshop or Illustrator, Adobe Stock is a dream come true.
All the more with their Adobe Stock for Teams offer, which has subscriptions and credit packs to use in a team account shared with as many people as you need. According to the volume of downloads chosen, prices range from $29.99 to $199.99 a month (keep in mind all plans are annual commitments). Credit packs –which have a longer shelf life– are between $49.95 and $3,999.99.
The bonus features for Teams clients include unique images, advanced search powered by AI technology, and pooled licensing that makes your company the owner of the license instead of you individually. All of this makes it a very good choice for a multi-user stock photo account.
5. Canva for Teams – Unlimited Resources for Multiple Members
Canva is a very popular website that offers a user-friendly image editor and a battery of other graphic resources for everyone to design beautiful visuals, regardless of skill level. There is a free-for-all version of Canva that you can technically use as a team because you get shareable links for other users to access designs and collaborate that way. But if you want full multiuser power, their premium Canva for Teams plans are exactly what you're looking for.
Canva for Teams offers real-time and seamless collaboration for multiple users, from brainstorming to designing to managing and publishing content. Its platform offers not only the flagship image and video editors but also special features like brand kits to keep all visual identity elements readily available and consistent, premium content libraries with professional graphic elements like templates, images, illustrations, and icons, infinite whiteboards to draft and share ideas, a content planner, team functionality to approve or reject designs, AI-powered editing tools like text-to-image generator, automatic image resizing and AI-generated copy, and much more.
One of the best things is that you get unlimited access to all those features, including unlimited downloads of all stock media, for a flat monthly or annual fee. Plans are priced according to the number of seats, and they have up to 5, 10, 25, and 50 user plans available. Custom-sized plans are also available upon request. Plans start at $12.99/mo for up to 5 users, and in all cases, if you're willing to pay for the year upfront, you can save 16% of the monthly price or more. Really competitive prices!
6. 123RF Corporate+ – Awesome Perks for Corporate Clients
123RF is a solid name in the stock photo industry that focuses on royalty-free media licensing and has a wide offer in terms of plans and prices. And this includes their Corporate+ service for businesses with large teams.
Corporate+ provides not only multi-seat access to as many users as you need but also a whole set of VIP benefits such as admin control for accounts, tailored licensing, workflow assistance in the form of sharable lightboxes and other features, special discounts as well as secret perks only unveiled to corporate clients. Important highlights are that they only charge for the content licensed (not for the extra benefits) and improve the service based on customer feedback.
Corporate+ is available upon request; the final cost depends on your business needs. But we can all agree it's a very complete and well-thought service, and coming for a respectable name in the industry, it's certainly worth considering.
Here, you'll find the most common questions about multi-seat stock photo accounts answered.
What is the best stock photo subscription?
There are many great stock photo subscriptions, but when it comes to multi-user plans, it's all down to your specific needs.
Stock Photo Secrets Shop has very low prices and a simple structure with an annual or monthly subscription. Shutterstock has extended license terms and VIP treatment bonuses on a bespoke service. iStock has exclusive content and plan sharing for up to 10 users. Adobe Stock has payment options for teams, including subscriptions and credit packs.
Where can I buy stock photos without a subscription?
Several stock photo sites have on-demand offers, but for teams, Adobe Stock is the most reliable one that includes ways to get credit packs to download images without a subscription, as part of a team account.
Can you get in trouble for using stock images?
If you use them without permission or outside the licensing terms, yes. This is why it's crucial to understand your plan's license and limitations. You can get in trouble if you have a single-user account and let more people access the same image. If you download an image from a paid site but don't pay for it, you can get in trouble. This is even riskier if you use the photos for your business or for client projects. So make sure to always read the fine print and do things the legal way.
What is the cheapest stock photo site?
The Stock Photo Secrets Shop website has some of the lowest and most flexible prices around for multi-seat downloads. Here you can find a high-resolution stock image for as little as $0.49.
Other affordable stock photo services with multi-user accounts are Shutterstock, iStock, Adobe Stock, and 123RF.
We’ve just seen how many benefits multi-seat accounts have for creative teams. From licensing to workflow organization to final costs, it makes a lot of sense to go for a team subscription when you have more than a pair of cooks in your creative kitchen.
At any of the aforementioned agencies, you will find deals that give you the best value for your money in reliable and truly useful service in multi-user stock photo plans with access to not only images but also illustrations, web templates, and much more.
Do you know of a multi-user service we didn’t name? Let us know in the comments, we’ll love to know more!