Fotolia vs. Adobe Stock: A Comprehensive Comparison?

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON FOTOLIA - 2020.01.01Fotolia has closed in 2019 and no longer exists as a stand-alone agency. You can still find all their images in Adobe Stock‘s library.

More importantly, you can switch your Fotolia account to Adobe Stock, transferring all your existing credits and unused image downloads, so you don't miss out in downloads you already paid for.

Click here to switch your Fotolia account to Adobe Stock.

Fotolia is an Europe-based microstock agency that ranks among the top stock photo sites in the market, competing
with iStock, Shutterstock, and others.

In late 2014 the renowned design software company Adobe bought Fotolia in a multi-million dollar deal. While Fotolia continues to run their microstock service through their website, last year the new management launched Adobe Stock, a stock photography service that works within Adobe's Creative Cloud product, making it much easier for designers to find, buy and use stock photos in their designs, all in one place.

Although both stock photo services are run by the same company, there's some differences in their offers. If you've explored Fotolia and Adobe Stock, you might wonder, which one is the best option for me?

Here we will answer that question, providing a comparative review between each offer and their main features.

Fotolia, the Stand-Alone Stock Photo Service

Fotolia by Adobe LogoAs we said above, Fotolia is a microstock agency (read our Fotolia review here). They have a large library of stock photos (and vector illustrations, and video), built mostly on the base of contributors who submit their content to be licensed by the agency.

The company's catalog is online on their own website, where buyers can register and search and buy the photos they want.

It was created in 2005 in France, and later moved its main base to the USA. Since then the company steadily grew their library and their customer base, to the point of positioning among the top microstock agencies (what was called “the Big 6”: iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, Depositphotos and 123RF).

They have a prominent variety in European-styled images (i.e European models, locations and aesthetics), and they are very relevant in European stock photo market. But that doesn't mean their offer in more global-styled imagery is any less than great.

These are some of the reasons why this microstock agency called the attention of software company Adobe (creators of Photoshop, Corel, Illustrator and many other media design tools), who acquired Fotolia effectively in January 2015.

Highlights in Fotolia's Offer

Right now the agency has over 57 Million photos (and vectors and videos) in a wide variety of themes and styles, and are adding thousands of new images daily.

Learn more about this microstock agency in our full Fotolia review. 

As in most of other stock photo agencies, Fotolia's pricing and plans offer has been modified and adjusted a few times. Their pricing structure is complex.

This what they currently offer:

  • Over 57 Million photos, vectors, illustrations and video.
  • Images on demand, with credits (if you want to learn more about this microstock purchasing unit, read our full article explaining what are credits.)
  • Monthly image packs (similar to a subscription with monthly download limits)
  • Monthly subscriptions with daily download limits
  • Multi-seat rights (allowing more than one user access to the same account and downloaded images) and unlimited print run included in Standard license.
  • Extended license for usage in products for resale, available with credits only.

Do you want to buy photos at Fotolia? Then Sign Up for their website here! And don't forget to grab our special Fotolia Promo Codes to get up to 30% bonus!


Fotolia pricing

Fotolia's Plans and Pricing

Learn More About Fotolia's Pricing

As you read above, Fotolia has a pricing structure that, although complex, assures to cover all of your buyer needs. But to seize this system and get the best value for your money, you need to understand the details on how each buying option works and what benefits they have. So here it is:

Fotolia on DemandImages on demand: Fotolia works with credit packs. You must buy a credit pack, and then use the credits to buy the photos. Photos are priced in credits, so you know what credit pack you'll need to get the images you want.

  • Single image price depends on image size, starting at 1 credit for XS up to 10 credits for XL.
  • Credit price depends on the size of the credit pack bought, starting at $1.40 with a 10 credit pack (for $14), and as low as $0.74 with the large 9400 credits pack.
  • They have an offer for new customers until 2021, giving you a 20% off in your first credit purchase.
Fotolia On Demand Pricing *20% Promotional Discount
Credit PackCredit Pack PricePrice per Image - Large size
10 $11.20 $8.96
26 $28.00
112$112.00 $8.00
Cheapest On Demand Large Image Price

Fotolia Monthly PacksMonthly image packs: This option is very similar to a subscription with monthly download limits like the ones you can find at Shutterstock, iStock and other agencies. You buy a certain number of images paying upfront (no credits) and you have a one-month period to download them. These image packs can be renewed month to month.

  • Image packs allow different amounts of downloads depending on the size of the image.
  • There's packs from 5 XXL images (or 10 Medium ones) for $25 up to 1000 XXL photos (or 2000 Medium) for $800, with several options in between. This allows you to save between 20 and 84% from regular per-image price.
  • Image packs don't expire: as long as you renew your subscription, all unused downloads roll over to next month.
  • They have a special offer until 2021, for new customers, cutting 20% from regular prices in your first image pack purchase.
Fotolia Monthly Image Packs *20% Promotional Discount
Price per Image
Pack PriceMedium ImagesExtra Large ImagesSaves from On Demand
$32.00 $1.60
$60.00 $1.20
$80.00 $0.80$1.6068%
Cheapest Price per Image with Monthly Packs
$ 640.00 $ 0.32

Fotolia Subs MonthlyMonthly subscriptions: Fotolia stock photo subscriptions have daily download limits. This means you pay a flat rate every month and get a certain number of photos you can download every day. If you don't use your daily quota, unused downloads expire from one day to the other, they don't accumulate. So in general lines this is an option aimed at buyers needing large volume of photos every day.

  • All plans are for XXL size images
  • They are from 50 images per day (around 1500 images a month) for $249, up to 500 images (around 15,000 images a month) for $3735, billed monthly
  • They also offer to hire the plans for 3, 6 or 12 months, with discounts of 7% and up to 22%.

Multi-seat and unlimited print rights: Multi-seat right means you're allowed to grant access to a bigger number of people to your account, like your team or clients, to surf and buy photos or to see the already downloaded ones. Unlimited print run means you can use the photos in as many duplicates as you want (like leaflets, flyers, etc). Most stock agencies sell these rights as Extended licenses, for higher prices. Fotolia includes them in Standard license at no extra cost.

Extended license: There's only one Extended license that covers different bonus rights, the main one being the use of stock photos in products that you will then resell to others (like t-shirts, packacking, templates, etc.).

  • Extended license is available with credits only, and it costs 80 credits per image (between $59,20 and $112 depending on the credit pack you have).
Fotolia Daily Limits Subscriptions *20% Promotional Discount
Daily Images LimitMonthly PricePrice per Image
Cheapest Price per Image with Daily Limit Subscription
* There's options to hire subscriptions for 3 months and up to 1 year, with from 7% to 22% off

See Fotolia's full Plans and Pricing here.

Fotolia's Bonus: Exclusive Photos

As you can see, it can be hard to understand what's the best buying option with Fotolia at first, but their pricing offer is varied enough as to cover most of buyers' needs.

And Fotolia adds value to their offer with a selection of exclusive content. In their collections you can find photos that are only available at Fotolia. This not only means if you want that photo you must buy it at Fotolia, but also that said photo is not as widely distributed as others, and so potentially less-used in other projects, which can be beneficial for certain projects.

Sign up for Fotolia here! 

adobe-stockAdobe Stock, an Integration of Fotolia in Creative Cloud

Launched in 2015, Adobe Stock is a semi-independent stock photo service that integrates Fotolia's stock photo (and video) libraries into Adobe's Creative Cloud service. It's what is known in the market as “sales at point of use”.

v2_mnemonics updated

Creative Cloud members can search, discover, purchase and use stock photos and videos in their projects without ever leaving the design software interface they work with.

Adobe Stock_illustration update16nov

Read more about this service in our full Adobe Stock review.

Although Adobe Stock has its own website and pricing, their entire offer is Fotolia images and videos. Right now there's over 50 Million of Fotolia's images in Adobe Stock.

Here's what they offer:

  • Images on demand, priced in USD
  • Monthly subscriptions with monthly download limits
  • Team accounts
  • Extended license available on demand only
Adobe Stock pricing

Adobe Stock's Plans and Pricing

Understanding Adobe Stock's Price Offer

Adobe Stock's pricing is much simpler than Fotolia, so understanding how it works is not that difficult. But the details are important to know what are the benefits in this service. Here they are:

Images on demand: They are priced in USD and bought individually. This is a much more direct and simple for some buyers, and also avoids having to buy a minimum of credits.

  • Each image (photo, vector or illustration, and any size) is $9,99

Monthly subscriptions: Adobe Stock subscriptions come with monthly download limits. You pay for the monthly fee and you get a certain number of images you can download however you want: all the same day, or spread throughout the month.

  • 10 images a month for $49,99 and 750 images a month for $249,99, when hired monthly. And you can rollover up to 120 unused downloads to next month.
  • Hiring annual plan, 10 images a month cost $29,99 and you get first month refunded. 750 images a month are at $199,99. These prices are billed monthly. There's no rollover.
  • With a subscription, additional on demand images have discount. If you hire a 10 image a month plan monthly, you get additional images for $4,99. And for $2,99 if you have an annual plan. With 750 images a month, you get extra images for $0.99.

Team accounts. With a Creative Cloud for Teams account, your entire team members get access to the same, shared Adobe Stock account, to work in the images simultaneously, among other benefits.

Extended license: It's the same exact license from Fotolia, and it's available on demand only, at $79,99 per image.

Adobe Stock Subscriptions
Images per MonthMonthly PricePrice per ImageAdditional On Demand Images
10$ 49.99$5.00$4.99
$ 249.99
With Annual Plan
$ 29.99$ 3.00$ 2.99
750$ 199.99$ 0.27$ 0.99

See Adobe Stock's full Plans and Pricing here.

Adobe Stock: Great Service, Solid Base and Strong Development

Adobe Stock is relatively new, but the company is pushing this product further constantly.

Just in 2015 it expanded to include video, team features and Extended licenses. In 2016 they added 4K resolution video, and you can expect they have more improvements on the way.

Fotolia is a great base for this service. For example, the fact that the microstock agency includes multiple-user access in their standard rights makes possible for Adobe Stock to offer Team accounts without extra input, and so, at no extra cost for buyers.

Sign up for Adobe Stock here!

And you can try Adobe Stock for free for one month, plus get 10 Adobe Stock free images! Start your Adobe Stock free month trial now!

Get 10 Adobe Stock standard assets with your free trial. Cancel risk-free within the first month.

Choose What Works Best for You

So, these are two different offers by the same company, and based on pretty much the same content. Which one is best for you?

Logically, it depends on your individual needs as a buyer. But in this case the decisive factor shouldn't be the prices and buying needs, but rather your working preferences and target market.

Fotolia by Adobe LogoWhen is Fotolia the best option? If you're already a client with them, and have come to know your way around their pricing. Especially if you're in Europe or your work is aimed at the European market. And most of all, if you don't work much with Adobe's Photoshop and other apps from their design apps platform.

adobe-stockIf you work with Creative Cloud, if you have a design team you work closely with, and if you work with Photoshop and other design tools from Adobe, then Adobe Stock is the option that makes more sense for you. This will let you add the stock photo buying as integral part of your workflow, doing it right into Creative Cloud.

Comparing Prices to Find Best Offer

Fotolia vs. Adobe Stock Price Comparison

Price Comparisons
Adobe Stock
On Demand
L size from $4,77 to $8,96
All sizes $9,99
XL size from $5,96 to $11,20
Smaller sizes cheaper
750 images Monthly
25 Images Daily LimitMonthly Limit
From $0,26 to $0,33 per ImageFrom $0,27 to $0,33 per Image
*All Fotolia's prices have a 20% Promotional Discount

There are. however, clear pricing differences that can make one offer suit you better than the other.

Buying images on demand can be cheaper at Adobe Stock if you're using a small credit pack and you want large size images. If you want smaller sizes or you can purchase big credit packs, you can pay as little as $3 for an XL image at Fotolia, versus $9,99 at Adobe Stock, for example.

As for subscriptions, Fotolia has a wider offer regarding how many photos a month you need, and if you want to work with daily or monthly caps. Adobe Stock has less options, and the difference in volume between them is big, but the simple pricing is easy to use and it's still a great deal for buyers.

With a 50 daily images monthly plan at Fotolia, you're paying $0.16 per image, and you get 1500 photos per month in total, for $249. At Adobe Stock you get half that amount of images per month for the same price, but you don't have any daily restrictions (and you're still buying photos super cheap at $0.33 each).

When it comes to Extended license (to use images in products that you will then sell), Adobe's can be cheaper. With the minimum credit pack needed to cover the 80 credits of the price, Fotolia's Extended license will cost you $100. That's $20 more than Adobe Stock's. With larger credit packs you can reduce this gap and even revert it, but it demands a larger payment.

Find your Best Value Option

Despite pricing comparison, in the end the convenience of each service for your workflow can make up for the difference in costs.

If you use Photoshop and other Adobe tools to work with stock photos, it might be more productive for you to buy an Adobe Stock subscription. And you can try Adobe Stock for free for one month, plus get 10 Adobe Stock free images! Start your Adobe Stock free month trial now!

Get 10 Adobe Stock standard assets with your free trial. Cancel risk-free within the first month.

Yes, at Fotolia you can get twice as many images for the same price, but then you have to import the photos you download into Photoshop, give your team members access to your Fotolia account, etc, while at Adobe Stock you're searching, buying and using stock photos without ever leaving the design interface. Sign up for Fotolia here! 

If you have a Creative Cloud for Teams account, your Adobe Stock account can be extended to all the team members.

And if you need more images, Adobe Stock gives you a price cut in single image purchase when you have a subscription. So, you'll get less images but much more functionality and benefits. 

If you don't use Photoshop and Creative Cloud apps to work with your stock photos, then all those benefits will never make up for the pricing flexibility that Fotolia offers you. You can either buy credit packs and control exactly how many images to buy, with no periodic fees nor commitments, buy monthly image packs, or get subscriptions to download a number of photos per day.

Amos Struck
Amos Struck

Amos Struck, a renowned expert with over two decades in the stock photography industry, is known for his profound expertise in both stock imagery and artificial intelligence (AI). He is the founder of and a driving force behind the innovative AI-driven platform, His pioneering work in visual AI is marked by co-founding Ximilar AI. Amos also established the Microstock Expo Conference, a key event in the stock photography sector. As a regular speaker at major industry conferences like DMLA and a prominent member of CEPIC, he consistently contributes to the industry's growth and evolution through a blend of technological innovation and market insight.

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