New iStock Subscription Program introduced

iStockphoto, part of the Getty Images group, has started to offer their own subscription packages for images recently. We will show you what you need to know about those offers and how they compare to the competition.

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iStock Subscription Overview

Buying image licenses through subscriptions has become popular among image buyers in recent years. Shutterstock is known to almost everyone in the market these days, within the Getty family, Thinkstockphotos started offering subscription packages several years ago. Now market leader and microstock inventor iStockphoto started to offer subscriptions on their exclusive collection of images as well. (BTW still want to buy from iStock via credits? Check out our iStockphoto promo code here!

Expired iStock Promo Code

As the iStock library contains millions of images otherwise not available through subscriptions, they decided to offer two tiers of offers: The iStock Essentials subscription contains mostly imagery that is also available through other competitors and a selected amount of pictures from their exclusive collections. The Signature subs package contains millions of images from higher production value collections like the Hulton Archive, OJO Images or their exclusive photographers.

iStock Subscriptions, two price tiers

iStock Subscriptions, two price tiers

Those images would cost far more than the average microstock image when licensed through a single image or credit pack sale. Therefore, the price for the Signature subscription also is higher than the average subscription found in the market.

iStock Image marked as part of the Essentials collection

iStock Image marked as part of the Essentials collection

The images can be identified on the detail page: A note above the image will show which of them are contained in the Essentials collection and for what kind of image you would need to buy the Signature image pack.

Images from the high-value Vetta collection are not to be found in any of the two offers: Those images can still be licensed only through single image purchases or the credit packages offered.

How does the iStock subscription compare in the market?

The Essential subscription

iStock Essentials

The pricing for iStock Essential is below the market comparison: $199 for a month beats Shutterstock's offer of $ 249 and is well below the Thinkstock subscription at $ 299. You can read the iStock and Shutterstock full comparison here. As a speciality, iStock offers a monthly download limit of 250 images while the two competing offers contain an allowance for a maximum of 25 downloads per day. Also, the Essentials subscription only allows access to slightly more than half of iStock's image library.

  • Very competitive pricing, 20 to 33 per cent less than competitors
  • Monthly limit of 250 images instead of daily limits
  • Reduced choice of just about half of iStock's collection

The iStock Signature package


The iStock Signature subscription pricing is far above those found at competing sites: A monthly subscription costs $ 499, double the amount of Shutterstock. But it also includes the higher value images otherwise not found in the microstock market. Those images can range from $10 to $100 for single image sales, so buying a few images of this category can already make a significant impact on the overall price. And the price difference is not as big if you compare the annual fees: $ 3,999 for the iStock Signature pack compares to $ 2,559 at Shutterstock or $ 2,496 for Thinkstock.

  • Higher pricing than the competition
  • Includes millions of exclusive images and high-value pictures
  • Price difference smaller for annual subscriptions
  • Best offer for customers with needs for higher value content

iStock Promo Code 2019

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

More information

Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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