Stock photo websites like Shutterstock are the answer for companies with high imagery needs like digital agencies. Shutterstock itself is a subscription-based stock photo website, which means that photos are not sold per item like Getty Images. This sale model allows you to get multiple photos at once in a lower price.
For instance, the cheapest subscription plan of Shutterstock, which cost $29 per month, allows you to download 10 images per month. If you think this still too expensive (or too cheap may be), there are other alternatives to Shutterstock you can subscribe to.
Below is the list of subscription-based stock photo website alternatives to Shutterstock. Before getting started to download any photo, you might want to read this page to learn several terms regarding photography copyrights and licenses
Vecteezy offers the most affordable subscription in the industry. For just $9 per month (billed annually) or $14 per month (billed monthly), subscribers get unlimited downloads of stock photos, stock video clips, and vectors. Vecteezy has been a leading source of high-quality vectors and illustrations for more than a decade, and photos and videos were added in 2020. As a result, their collection of photos is smaller than the major sites in the industry, but it’s growing quickly. With unlimited downloads for subscribers, the value is the best you’ll find anywhere. For those who don’t want a subscription, download credits can be purchased ($10 for 1 credit, $15 for 5 credits, or $20 for 10 credits).
iStock is the answer provided by Getty Images for those who want to download multiple images at once with a lower price. iStock is a subscription-based stock photo website that was bought by Getty Images in 2006. The subscription plans offered by iStock are a bit more expensive than Shutterstock. The cheapest subscription plan, which cost $40/month, only allows you download 10 images per month. This plan still limited to essentials images only. You won’t be able to download images labeled “Signature” unless you subscribe to Signature Subscription. In iStock, you can search for images by uploading certain images. iStock will display images similar to one you uploaded.
123RF is also a subscription-based stock photo website just like Shutterstock, despite there are two other buying options. If you want to download more images with a lower price then 123RF is a better option. The cheapest subscription plan offered by this website allows you to download up to 150 images per month for only € 59. You will also have a daily download option (5 images per day). 123RF itself is a stock photo website based in Malaysia that has been around since 2005. At the time of writing the website has had 88,658,846 royalty-free stock photos. This website also has “search by image” feature to ensure you get the best possible search image results.
On September 2009 Shutterstock announced that it purchased another stock photo website called Bigstock. Since then, Bigstock is officially Shutterstock’s subsidiary. In selling photos, Bigstock also applies subscription model. But, a bit different to Shutterstock, Bigstock offer cheaper subscription plans. Bigstock tends to similar to 123RF. The cheapest subscription plan offered Bigstock allows you to download up to 150 images per month for $79. Or, if calculated individually, each photo is priced less than $1. Each plan also offers daily download option. At the time of writing, Bigstock has 58 million contents.
5. Adobe Stock
If you are a designer who work with Adobe’s products then Adobe Stock is the stock photo website that suit you the most. Just like the name suggests, this website is owned by Adobe. Adobe Stock itself is a new player in the stock photography market. Adobe launched this platform in 2015 with the aim it would be a place to go when you need a photo. Adobe Stock not exclusively sells photos. You can also get other visual contents including templates and videos. Contents offered by Adobe Stock are called assets.
Adobe Stock also applies subscription model in selling its contents. In general, there are two subscription plans offered by Adobe Stock, monthly and annual. The two subscription plans still divided into several options. While monthly subscription plans give you flexibility, annual subscription plans are good to get more contents in a lower cost.
Before announcing Adobe Stock in 2015 Adobe has actually had a stock photo website called Fotolia. Adobe bought this website in 2014, a year before Adobe Stock was announced. Or it’s probably Adobe’s strategy to get in into the game?
Despite Fotolia is basically Adobe’s part, it has its own subscription plans. One of the offered subscription plans is “Monthly pack” which allows you to download 5 image per month for $25. At the time of writing Fotolia has about 103 million royalty-free images, vectors and videos.
Crestock is another good choice if you need more images in a lower price. Crestock applies several options in selling its contents. One of the offered options is subscription model. The cheapest subscription plan offered by Crestock, which cost $199, allows you to download up to 600 images per month. If calculated individually, each image is priced about $0.33. This puts Crestock as one of the most affordable stock photo websites.
8. Can Stock Photo
Can Stock Photo can also be a great alternative if you are looking for a Shutterstock alternative. With 20,000 new photos added each day, Can Stock Photo also has abundant photo collections to fulfill your imagery needs. This website was founded in 2004 and based in Canada. Can Stock Photo offers two buying options, credit-based and subscription-based.
Can Stock Photo is the best choice if flexibility is the thing you consider the most when choosing a stock photo website. Unlike all sites above which offer monthly subscription plans, Can Stock Photo allows you to subscribe for only a week with a daily download option. The cheapest subscription option, which cost $39 for a week, allows you to download 10 photos per day. Or 70 photos in total.
Last but not least. Another affordable stock photo website you can rely on to fulfill you imagery needs is Dreamstime. This site offers two buying options, credit-based and subscription-based just like other websites in this list. Dreamstime has one thing in common to Can Stock Photo. It also offers weekly subscription plan which make you be far more flexible. In addition to photos, Dreamstime also offers other type of contents including illustrations and videos.