Stock photography agencies offer different payment options for their customers. “Pay as you Go” is one of the options that is open to stock photo users and buyers, and refers to a method that lets you buy images on demand, without further payment commitments. “Pay as you Go” usually references to the credit package option some agencies have, but it can also mean image download packs. Stock photo buyers who require few stock photos monthly, annually or every few years can buy credits or image packs and get the images they need without having to pay large upfront subscription fees.

How much is a photo when you Pay as you Go?

Stock photos are still cheap on the Pay as you Go system (although subscriptions have the lowest per-image rates).

Agencies using a credits system price each photo individually, in credits, and the final price will depend on how much you're paying for each credit. Companies working with image download packs don't price their photos per unit: the individual cost will depend on the pack you buy.

Whether it's credits or downloads, usually the more you buy upfront, the cheapest each photo will cost. Price per image can range from $5 to $20 each, and sometimes even less. Some agencies also price their photos according to size and/or resolution, or collection.

In all cases, this buying option does not imply a long-term commitment with the agency: you pay upfront, but only once, and you get a number of credits or downloads to use whenever. Some image banks set an expiration date for these on demand downloads, roughly around 1 year. Others let the on demand downloads be valid forever as long as your account is active.

What are the Best Pay as you Go Prices? Many agencies have great offers in on demand stock photos. One of the best deals around is the Stockphotosecrets Shop image packs. Starting at 5 images for only $39, you don't have to spend much to get the professional photos you need for your project. There's also a pack of 25 downloads for $149 and the largest of 100 photos for $360. Like this, you can buy photos paying as you go for as little as $3,60 each. Best of this deal is that image packs never expire, you can buy them upfront and use them whenever you want! Discover SPS Shop image packs here. 

For more alternatives on Pay as you Go offers, check our list of the best stock photo agencies to buy images on demand!


Who should use Pay as you Go option?

Stock photo buyers needing images for one project only, those who are new to online stock photos and want to test the waters, or anyone who needs only a few stock photos every now and then, are in general the best candidates for the Pay as you Go system. This is also a good option if you already have a subscription with one stock photo agency, but you find the perfect photo for your project on another site: with Pay as you Go system you will be able to buy that ideal image without having to invest in another subscription nor giving up to your current one.

After using a stock photo agency for a while with on demand method, if you find the service suitable and you think your monthly (or annual) image needs can benefit from a subscription, you can always jump into a monthly or annual plan. Do the math, calculate your budget and the savings, and when you are ready, buy the subscription of your choice.

Many companies opt for buying a subscription during their busiest months in terms of design, and then use pay as you go credits or image packs during less busy times. As a stock agency customer you have the freedom to choose the best buying system for your needs and budget at any time, and in most cases you can also use each system alternatively or both at the same time.

Checking stock agency prices, membership benefits and subscription rates is a good idea for all new users.  Each site has millions of stock photos to choose from and it may come down to price or pricing systems.  SPS Shop, Shutterstock, iStock, Adobe Stock and Depositphotos are all reliable stock photo agencies with competitive pricing and they can have you downloading ready to use stock photos in minutes.

Which stock agency buying system do you use? Would you recommend it?

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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