7 Best Stock Photo Subscriptions (Updated Dec. 2021)

Posted on December 3, 2021 | Updated on April 7, 2022

Last Updated: December 3, 2021

Whether you design websites, create graphic art or complete any number of other visually-related tasks, stock photo websites can save you time. Finding the best stock photo subscriptions requires a lot of footwork. A search for the term “best stock photo subscriptions” pulls up 198 million results. It’s impossible to figure out which sites truly are the best stock photo options with a list so large. Fortunately, we’ve narrowed your choices down to 10 we think work for most needs and offer a wide range of options.  

The best stock photo subscription for you may not be the same as one of your competitors. A lot will depend upon the types of images you use in your designs and your clients’ needs. 

What to Look for in the Best Stock Photo Subscriptions

So, how can you tell if that subscription is actually a good deal for you? Some things you should look for in a stock photo website include:

  • Frequent uploads of new images. How active are the photographers and videographers on the site?
  • Reasonable price? Know how much you can afford for each image.
  • Generous licensing. If the license agreements are extremely limited, you may have to pay out additional fees. 
  • Scalable format so you can adjust sizing for different ad campaigns or uses

Pay attention to the subscription link. If you pay for 30 photos per month and don’t use them all, will the credits roll over or do you just lose them?

Here are 10 excellent best stock photo subscriptions to get you started. You may find one or  more that perfectly meet your needs. If not, pay attention to the features of each plan so you can find one that works best for you. 

  1. Alamy
  2. Depositphotos
  3. Shutterstock
  4. iStock
  5. Dreamstime
  6. Storyblocks
  7. Adobe Stock

1. Alamy

Alamy has more than 275 million stock images and creators add about 150,000 more daily. The variety is enough to meet the needs of nearly any designer. Because of the wide selection, it’s also unlikely you’ll choose the same image as one of your competitors, giving your designs a unique look. 

They offer multiple image packs, so you can find just the right shot for your project. You’ll need commercial licensing packages for single use for marketing. You’ll love the scaleable package sizes to meet the needs of both individuals and teams.

Subscription Cost: $83.99 for a 5-pack download package for personal use; $211.99 for a 5-pack for website; $848.99 for a 5-pack for commercial advertising

2. Depositphotos

You’ll find many of the same gorgeous stock photos you’ll find at pricier stock photo reseller sites. Depositphotos often ranks on the lists of the best photo subscriptions because of their collection of over 220,891,573 options. 

They serve over 26 million customers. Make sure you pay attention to the licensing options when choosing a download as some usage requires an extended license plan rather than the standard. However, if you’re looking for images to use on your blog or in social media advertising, this site is an excellent choice. 

They do offer some on-demand pricing options for those who only need an image or two occasionally, but their subscriptions offer the best value. We love that the unused images transfer each month, so you don’t lose credits along the way if you have a slower period.

Subscription Cost: 30 images per month for $29; 75 images per month for $69, 150 images per month for $99; 750 images per month for $109; additional images over the cap are $1 each

3. Shutterstock

Photographers everywhere love the versatility and deals at Shutterstock. If you’re looking for the highest quality photos imaginable, this is a good option for most designers. One of the things particularly appealing to those who work in multiple mediums is that you can pay one subscription price to gain access to everything on the site. 

They offer 350 million images and 104,000 new ones added each day. The site also offers stock music, which is a little different than some of the other available best stock photo subscriptions. They also offer on-demand credits. If you want an enhanced license, you’ll have to grab an on-demand package. There are also team and enterprise packages available. 

Subscription Cost: Flex mixed-asset package with 25 images, 6 music tracks, 3 video clips or a mix $49 per month; 10 images a month $29 with additional packages available

4. iStock

Originally titled iStockPhoto, the name was shortened as additional assets became available. They were one of the first companies to sell digital rights to images online. They are very picky about which photos they curate, allowing only professional-quality images and working alongside Getty Images. Their licensing package includes usage for most commercial projects, which is appealing to those working on client projects. 

Their pricing reflects whether you need only images or multiple formats, such as videos.

Subscription Cost: 10 image downloads starting at $29 per month and going up for more downloads; all images including premium at $70 per month for 10 downloads; all premium images plus video for $125 per month for 10 downloads

5. Dreamstime

Dreamstime features some unique images you won’t find elsewhere. They have about 174 million stock photos with around 38 million users. Their prices can be as low as $0.20 per download. They also frequently offer freebies. 

They offer a wide range of options, including vectors, photos, illustrations, audio and video. They’ve been around for about 20 years and also offer both a standard and extended license. You’ll need to extend your license if you resell images for web templates, greeting cards or print-on-demand products and services.

Out of the best stock photo subscriptions out there, Dreamstime offers some of the most flexible pricing and licensing. They also offer video subscriptions and you can pay based on the resolution you need, with the lowest cost being for web quality videos. 

Subscription Cost: 5 image downloads $22 per month; 100 images $49.99 per month; 10 video downloads $63; all-in-one 10 downloads $199 per month

6. Storyblocks

If you’re looking for an option to create videos for your business, Storyblocks is best known for their video clips, but they also offer images and audio you can easily add into your videos. Because you can plug stock photos into video clips right from the site, you’ll save time and energy. Try their built-in video editor for a new powerful promotional tool for your business. You can also download and edit Adobe After Effects templates.

There are around 150,000 creators on the site and options for different size businesses. Because they cater to business, their packages include the best licensing options for promotions. 

Subscription Cost: Unlimited all access for $30 per month; custom packages for companies 

7. Adobe Stock

Adobe is known for their photo and video editing software, so if you’re looking for a more integrated solution you might enjoy tapping into their stock photo subscription service. They offer images, illustrations, videos, audios and templates. They have some really unique offerings from some of the best photographers in the world. Drop them directly into Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator. 

Their standard license gives you permission to use the image perpetually but not commercially or more than 500,000 times. For assets used in resale and large print runs, you’ll need an extended license. 

Subscription Cost: Get 10 free credits; 10 assets for $29.99 per month; 40 assets for $79.99 per month; 350 assets for $169.99 per month; 750 assets for $199.99 per month; extended licenses additional

Finding the Best Stock Photos

The site you choose to get your stock photos should have plenty of options and a wide range of categories. Choose the best package with the pricing you can afford. You can always scale up if you find you need additional photos or licensing.

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