Guide to Buy Stock Photos Online

Your activity demands you to use professional images constantly? If you are a designer, a creative or a publisher, this is likely your case. And with the world becoming more and more visual every day, the realm of people needing compelling imagery for their goals is constantly growing. Marketing and advertising, websites, blogs, social media… you need images for everything. And that's where the question arises: where can I get professional images to use? The answer is much simpler that you'd think: you can buy stock photos online at these best 5 stock photo agencies.

When buying photos online, you get a license that gives you right to use the images in multiple ways, legally and without having to worry about copyright or other issues. The best option is the Royalty Free image license, that gives you a wide range of usage rights, for a one-time, very low fee.

Stock Photo Expert tells you all you need to know to buy stock photos online, and where to find them.

Avoid Free Images and Legal Risk

You might be thinking: “why not to just download pictures from a free photo site or from Google Images, and pay nothing?”. Well, you must then know that free photo sites almost never check the legal status of the images they index, and that “right-click” download and use of photos found with Google Images is pretty much illegal.

Know all the legal risks in using free images from the web, and you will soon realize buying photos is the smartest way to get visual content for your work.

Buying Images online at Stock Photo Agencies

The best way to find and buy stock photos for your designs or projects is to visit a stock photo agency. These are online image banks offering catalogs of thousands to millions of stock photos, vectors and illustrations, that you can license and use commercially for a very low fee. All the images are professional and high quality, and you can use them in different print and digital projects.

The core value in this is that these companies offer only legally-verified images: the copyright owners have agreed to licensing them, and that all rights for people and property depicted have been cleared, so you can rest assured you won't get into legal trouble when using them for your website, flyer, advertisement or social media channels.

At most stock agencies you can buy photos on demand, one by one and paying as you go, for prices that in average range from $1 to $20. And at many of them you can also get a stock photo subscription: a membership plan that gives you a preset –and often large– number of downloads per month, for a fixed, periodical rate. Stock photo subscriptions are the cheapest option to buy stock photos, as they take the individual image price down to just a few cents each.

Top 5 Online Stock Photo Agencies

Next, you will find the best 5 stock photo agencies in the market, where you can buy high-quality stock images at the best prices, finding variety in content and styles, and with great bonus benefits and services.


99club & Low Volume – StockPhotoSecrets Shop – the best deals

stockphotosecrets-logo-whiteThe Stock Photo Secrets Shop is our very own stock photo service at Stock Photo Press, born out of the need to better serve stock photo buyer needs. Our offer is unique because our subscription plans have been specially designed by our Stock Photo Expert, Amos Struck, whom used all his expertise to create options that are a perfect fit to small-and-medium sized businesses working on a reduced budget. Here's our plans:

  1. 99Club: 200 XXL images, for one year, for only $99 ($0.48 per image). 
  2. Low Volume (limited-time offer): 600 XXL images, for one year, for only $199 ($0.33 per image). 

Ours are the best stock photo offers in the market and here's why.

  • Large library: you can download images of your choice from a pool of 4 Million stock photos and vector illustrations
  • Low prices: our 99club and Low Volume plans have some of the cheapest price points in the industry
  • Discount on additional images: having a 99club or Low Volume membership you can get additional downloads at only $0.99 per image
  • Royalty Free license for multiple uses with no time restrictions
  • No download limits: download your full quota whenever you want, at your own pace
  • Cancel whenever you want, no hidden fees

If you have a small-to-medium business and you have a tight budget for visuals and graphic design materials, Stock Photo Secrets Shop has you covered with our 99club plan. For less than one hundred dollars you get access to 200 XXL images, suitable for print and digital uses, for one year. And if you require more images but you can't spend much more, our limited-time Low Volume deal is perfect: it gives you 3 times more images than 99club, for only $199. If you want great images that won't break your pocket, Stock Photo Secrets Shop is the answer.


Shutterstock – if you need lots of images

Get 15% off on Shutterstock footage products
Get 15% off on Shutterstock image subscriptions and image packs

shutterstock-logo1Shutterstock is one of the top agencies in the market, and the pioneer in stock photo subscriptions, which are still their core offer. Here's why they are at top:

  • Largest online photo library: over 100 Million stock photos, vectors and illustrations covering all kinds of subjects and themes
  • The cheapest stock photo subscriptions: get monthly or annual plan, for 750 images per month, and pay as little as $0.28 cents per download
  • Image packs on demand: buy a fixed number of images upfront, as an image pack, and use it to download images whenever you want, paying as little as $3.81 per photo
  • New! Shutterstock Flex subscription: a mixed-asset plan that lets you download images, videos, and audio tracks all with the same subscription
  • Royalty Free license, flexible use and no further payments
  • User-friendliness: their website is very easy to use, and their library is neatly organized in popular categories and topics
  • Advanced tech tools: visual search engine based in computer vision, free online image editor, mobile apps, and more.

If you want lots of images, high quality, cheap prices and great functionality, then Shutterstock is the place to go.


iStock – for more unique photos

Get a 15% Discount on all credit packs and subscriptions. Exclusive iStock coupon code is valid only until expiration date.

istocklogo300iStock is nothing more and nothing less than the very first “microstock” agency, the pioneer in selling Royalty Free stock photos online. This is one of the first microstock sites in the world. To date, they are still one of the top companies in the space, and here's why:

  • Leaders in exclusive imagery: their Signature collection hosts millions of images that are exclusive to iStock, being high-value and technically superior
  • Great offer in non-exclusive images: their Essentials collection includes millions of every-day-need images
  • On demand credits: buy a credit pack and use the credits to get as many images as you want, for as low as $8
  • Options in stock photo subscriptions: choose between Signature or Essentials downloads, and get from 10 and up to 750 downloads per month, paying as little as $0.21 per image
  • Royalty Free license, get wide usage rights for a one-time fee
  • Simple to use: their site is easy to navigate and their library is simple to search using their search engine and advanced filter tools

If you are after more unique images with a higher production value, maintaining low prices and a reliability, iStock is for you.


Adobe Stock – fully integrated in Photoshop and Co.

Get 10 Adobe Stock standard vectors with your free trial. Cancel risk-free within the first month.
13 days left

adobe-stock-logoAdobe Stock is a stock photo service provided by Adobe, that is fully integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud platform, making it the ideal solution for graphic designers or creatives using Creative Cloud applications. With little over one year in the market, here's some of the reasons for their increasing popularity:

  • Fully integrated library: they have over 60 Million royalty-free images in their catalog, which is accessible from library tab in any Creative Cloud application like Photoshop
  • Add images without leaving Photoshop and Co.: search, test edit, license and apply stock images to your designs directly from your app's interface, saving time and effort
  • Images on demand: only $9,99 each
  • Stock photo subscriptions: options from 10 and up to 350 images per month, annual or monthly, lowering image price to as little as $0.26 each
  • Royalty-Free license, pay once and use forever
  • Advanced search: reverse image search and sketching search, powered by computer vision technology

If you are a Creative Cloud user and you want to add great imagery to your designs in a quick and simple way, Adobe Stock is your solution.


Depositphotos – one of the cheapest stock agencies

Depositphotos is a well-known and established stock photo agency, with a respectable position among the top companies in the space. They have a wide offer in prices and buying systems, ensuring every buyer finds a suitable option. Here's the highlights of what puts them in the top list:

  • Varied, big collection: they have over 50 million images covering various topics and themes
  • Wide offer: they have lots of options to buy on demand and with subscriptions
  • On demand image packs: buy pre-paid image packs and use them whenever you want, getting images for as low as $2,99 each
  • Subscriptions: choose plans for 75 and up to 750 downloads per month, monthly or annually, and pay as little as $0.22 per download
  • Royalty Free license for flexible usage rights and low prices
  • Great user experience: their website is user-friendly and very simple to use

If you are after cheap stock photos and wider buying options in a serious and well-established company, Depositphotos is the agency for you.

Buy Stock Photos for your Specific Needs

If you already know which buying system you want, or you have defined image needs, then you can have a look at these stock photo agencies that better meet your criteria:

  • Find the best stock photo agencies to buy images on demand
  • Check the top stock photo agencies to buy a stock photo subscription
  • Discover the best stock photo services for graphic designers and online publishers

Get Low Price and Use Flexibility with Royalty Free Stock Photos

There are different types of licenses to buy photos online and use them in your work, and each license comes with its own usage terms. Of all of them, Royalty Free license is the most convenient option for most people, because of its very flexible usage terms, its one-time fee structure, and its low prices.

Very important to know is that Royalty Free does NOT mean the images are free to use. The name refers to the fact that you only pay for the image once, and you are not required to pay any further royalties for the use, ever again. But you still have to pay for the license to use the photo. We also do not recommend to use creative commons images or just download photos from a creative commons website.

Royalty Free license allows to use an image in multiple ways, for commercial or editorial purposes, without time nor geographical limitations: once you buy the image, it is yours to use forever, for as long as you want and wherever you want. Even more, this license grants use in multiple different projects, simultaneous or over time. It's very simple, you pay once, and you retain the rights to use the image in all the accepted ways, forever.

Royalty Free stock photos are the cheapest stock imagery resource in the market, costing from around $20 and down to $0.30 or less per image, depending on the buying system you use.

The best of all is that these images are professional and high quality, suitable for various print and digital uses, and are legally safe to use. If you could put price to tranquility, we are sure a dollar or less comes out as a fantastic deal!

Get Compelling Images for Your Business or Project Cheap

Royalty-Free images are a great resource to add professional-quality visuals to your work at very low cost and with zero legal risks.

Buying images online you can add compelling photos to your website, adverts, marketing campaigns, social media posts, blog posts, eBooks, corporate materials… the possibilities are huge, the benefits are clear, and the expenses are low.

Stock Photo Expert is here to guide you through the world of buying stock photos online to make sure you get the best imagery at the best possible price.

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