Stock photo market is a volume-based market: the more images you buy, the less each of them costs. Stock photo subscriptions are pretty much the quintessence of this industry, and they offer the best prices for stock photos you'll find.
Introduced years ago by pioneer agency Shutterstock, nowadays every major stock photo company includes different subscription options in their offer, so you have a lot to choose from.
First things first: what are stock photo subscriptions? Are they suitable for your needs? What are the best sites to get a stock photo subscription? At Stock Photo Expert we bring you all the answers. Read on!
What are Stock Photo Subscriptions?
Stock photo subscriptions are plans that give you a determined amount of image downloads per month, for a fixed monthly rate (although there are also options for annual download limits and annual payment).
In general, these plans are for high volume purchases, and they give you hundreds of downloads, while reducing image price to less than a dollar each.
For example, the most popular subscription option across different agencies is for around 750 images per month for $250 monthly, which means each photo costs around $0.33. And there are even better prices if you hire the plan for a year.
There are various options in between, however. From low volume plans as little as 10 images per month, to unlimited downloads deals and daily or weekly download limits. The range of offers is wide and there are alternatives for everyone.
What's important to know is that a stock photo subscription is not just a volume-based deal, but also a long-term commitment deal: the more time you are willing to be bound to the subscription, the more money you save in your images.
Best Stock Agencies to Buy Stock Photo Subscriptions
It's no surprise that the best and cheapest stock photo subscriptions can be found at the Top 5 Stock Photo Agencies. These agencies are reliable and serious: they are all well-established (or backed by well-established parent companies) and they take care of image licensing with professionalism.
The best stock photo plans are for Royalty Free images, being the lowest-priced and most flexible stock photo licenses in the market. Want to discover them? Dive in!
Bonus: 99club at StockPhotoSecrets Shop
99club is our star offer at StockPhotoSecrets Shop. It is a stock photo subscription specially tailored for small and medium sized businesses, and for any buyer under a limited budget.
The 99club plan gives you 200 downloads for a year, for only $99. And you can choose your images from StockPhotoSecrets Shop's library with 4 Million Royalty Free stock photos, vectors and fonts.
- 200 XXL images for a year, for $99 – only $0.49 per download!
- No download limits: up to 200 downloads, whenever you want
- Additional downloads at only $0.99 each
- Auto-renew: Secure the super low price
This offer is one of the very few in the market that charges you a one-time, annual fee, instead of requiring monthly payments. You pay $99 once, and you get 200 downloads that you can use whenever you want within one year from purchase date. There are no daily nor monthly download limits, you can download from 1 and up to 200 images whenever you want.
It's a subscription specially suitable for small budgets, as it gives you a relatively low volume of downloads, with flexible download limit and really great per-image rates.
All images are high quality, and your plan lets you get XXL-sized photos, perfect for pretty much any project you want. With our Royalty Free license, you are granted usage in both commercial and editorial projects. If you run out of downloads and still need more, as a 99club member you get extra downloads at cut price, only $0,99 per image. Also, the subscription is auto-renewable, securing you the low price deal for as long as the offer is live. Of course, you can cancel at any time.
If you want to get hundreds of high quality photos at low cost, and you don't want to be paying monthly fees nor dealing with monthly download limits, then you must try 99club right now!
Shutterstock is nothing more and nothing less than the inventor of the stock photo subscription: back in 2003, this stock photo agency was the first in offering these plans to their customers, and it was so successful that soon all competitors replicated it. In present day, Shutterstock is one of the top companies in the market, famous for having the largest Royalty Free images collection with over 100 Million files. They are also known for their super cheap prices, and the high tech of their site.
This company works with high volume subscriptions only, and has two size tiers, that also include options in terms of duration of the plan. Their subscriptions come with monthly The longer you hire it for, the cheaper your monthly plan will be.
350 Images a Month
- Monthly for $199 – $0.56 per image
- Yearly for $169 per month – $0.48 per image
750 Images a Month
- Monthly for $249 – $0.33 per image
- Yearly for $199 per month – $0.26 per image
Subscriptions give you access to Shutterstock's library of over 100 million stock photos, vectors and illustrations. All images are high quality, and have been revised for technical quality, legal status and commercial value. They have lots of images covering every possible topic, theme and style you can imagine.
Each subscription download corresponds to one image, in any size and resolution available. All images are Royalty Free, suitable for commercial and editorial usage. Plus, as a Shutterstock customer you will benefit from their artificial intelligent search engine, their free online image editor, and several other perks from their website.
At less than 35 cents per image, this is certainly a great deal in cheap stock photos. If you liked how this sounds, get your Shutterstock subscription today!
BONUS: Shutterstock also has the new Shutterstock Flex subscription, with multimedia downloads! This means you can download images, videos and music tracks, all with the same plan. Really cool.
Adobe Stock is a stock photo service by Adobe. Although younger than the others (it was launched in mid 2015), it's increasingly popular, thanks to its large library with over 60 million photos and vectors, and to its core value: full integration with Adobe Creative Cloud applications. You can access Adobe Stock's collection from within any of Creative Cloud design apps, and you can browse, test edit, license and apply stock images to your designs without ever leaving your browser.
Adobe Stock offers monthly subscriptions, and they have three tiers that range from low to high volume downloads. All of the plans come with monthly and annual options:
Adobe Stock Subscriptions
- 10 images a month: $49,99 monthly ($4,99 per image) – $29,99 per month with annual plan ($2,99 per image)
- 350 images a month: $199,99 monthly ($0.57 per image) – $169,99 per month with annual plan ($0.48 per image)
- 750 images a month: $249,99 monthly ($0.33 per image) – $199,99 per month with annual plan ($0.26 per image)
One benefit in Adobe Stock's offer is that they include a low volume plan for those who only need a handful of images every month. Their 10 images a month plan cuts a minimum of 50% off regular image price (which is at $9,99 per download), letting you save a considerable amount even in a small monthly purchase. Of course, high volume plans offer you the best rates, where you pay only a few cents per download.
To all this you have to add the aggregated value of having the entire library integrated to Creative Cloud platform, which also saves you time and effort in your workflow. Plus, all images are high quality and Royalty Free, ensuring they are perfect for any commercial or editorial project. Adobe Stock doesn't stop there: they've added computer vision technology to their search feature, to make it easier for you to find the photos you want.
If you are a designer or creative working with Creative Cloud apps, then Adobe Stock might be the right fit for you. Get your Adobe Stock subscription now!
iStock was the very first “microstock” agency, meaning it was the first company in selling Royalty Free stock photos online under a small minimum purchase model. And is still one of the leading stock photo agencies in the market today. Now backed by parent company Getty Images (one of the most renowned in the industry worldwide), and famous for their exclusive and highly curated photo library.
iStock's catalog is divided in two main collections. Essentials, featuring millions of budget, high quality images covering most common and sought-after topics and styles. And Signature, which hosts millions of exclusive, high-value images that you will only find at iStock. And they offer subscription plans with access to one, or both collections.
Essentials images only – Monthly plans
- 10 images for $40 ($4 per image)
- 25 images for $65 ($2,60 per image)
- 50 images for $100 ($2 per image)
- 100 images for $149 ($1,49 per image)
- 250 images for $199 ($0.79 per image
- 50 images per month for $89 monthly ($1.78 per image)
- 100 images per month for $119 monthly ($1,19 per image)
- 750 images per month for $159 monthly ($0.21 per image)
Essentials + Signature images: Monthly plans
- 10 images for $100 ($10 per image)
- 25 images for $149 ($5,96 per image)
- 50 images for $230 ($4,60 per image)
- 100 images for $299 ($2,99 per image)
- 250 images for $399 ($1,50 per image)
- 50 images a month for $189 monthly ($3,78 per image)
- 100 images a month for $249 monthly ($2,49 per image)
- 750 images a month for $319 monthly ($0.42 per image)
As you see, iStock's offer in subscriptions is very varied. As you could expect, the best price rates and the greater savings are for high volume, long-term plans. But if you only need a few images, getting a low volume subscription for 10 or maybe 50 images for one month (which you can always renew) will still give you a much better price than buying images individually.
iStock offers reputation, a high level of image curation and a huge collection of exclusive imagery, at very affordable prices. If this sounds good to you, get your iStock subscription today!
Depositphotos is a well-established stock photo agency, with years in business and that has earned a respectable position amongst the top 6 companies in the space. They have a collection of over 50 million Royalty Free images, and they are known for their multiple buying options and low prices.
This agency offers subscriptions from low to high volume. They have monthly and annual plans, and they are one of the few stock agencies in setting a one-time, annual fee for the latter option.
- Flexible plan: 10 images a month for $9,99 monthly ( $0,99 each) and $99 yearly ($0,82 each) – Plan includes extra downloads at $1 each, and rollover of unused downloads
- 75 images a month: $69 monthly ($0.92 each) and $699 yearly ($0.77 each)
- 150 images a month: $99 monthly ($0.66 each) and $999 yearly ($0.55 each)
- 750 images a month: $199 monthly ($0.26 each) and $1999 yearly ($0.22 each)
This company's subscriptions have some of the lowest prices and rates in the market, and their Flexible Plan is a great deal for any buyer needing only a few images, but wanting to take advantage of subscription prices.
If you want a great deal in cheap stock photos, you should consider to sign up for a Depositphotos subscription right now!
Is a Stock Photo Subscription a Good Deal for Me?
To know this, the main thing to take into consideration is: how many images do you need, and how often. Being a volume deal, a stock photo subscription only makes sense if you have use for the large amount of downloads you will get, every month.
If you know –or think, at least– that you will make use of all or at least most of the downloads in the subscription, then it's definitely worth to get one, since you will get the best possible price for the images. If on top of that you know you will need that volume of images constantly, it could be a good idea to sign up for a long-term plan. The maximum duration of a subscription is commonly of one year, and it gives you the lowest price available, cutting a nice percentage from monthly price.
However, now you have options to save money even if you buy a small number of photos. Our 99club deal, or Adobe Stock or Depositphotos' low volume plans (all seen above) are good options to get a small amount of images at the low, subscription rates.
Whether is a high volume deal or a small downloads plan, subscriptions are a very good option to buy stock photos cheap.
Are you signing up for a subscription? Let us know which agency you choose!