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Adobe Stock Licenses Explained

Adobe Stock Licenses Explained Thumbnail

Searching and buying stock photos is easy, but which license to choose? Each comes with a particular set of rights you must understand to get the right one. Getting the right Adobe Stock license is vital, so you don’t break any copyrights. This guide will teach you precisely which Adobe Stock license to get.

Adobe Stock offers three licenses: Standard, Enhanced, and Extended. These differ in the price, how you can get them, the number of allowed copies, indemnity, and whether or not you may use the asset for merchandise and resale.

Get 10 Free Standard Licenses for Images

Adobe Stock offers a 30-day free trial, during which you may download 10, 25, or even 40 (depends on the plan you choose) free images. You get to keep the images even if you cancel.

How Much Do Adobe Stock Licenses Cost?

The price of the licenses varies based on the number of images or videos you buy at once. You get the lowest prices when buying in bulk, for example, credits for 50 images, while single purchases are the most expensive.

  • Standard License: $0.26–$9.99 with subscriptions and $8.00–$9.99 with credits.
  • Enhanced License: $0.26–$9.99 with subscriptions and $8.00–$119.88 with credits.
  • Extended License: $79.99 with credits.

What is an Adobe Stock license?

An Adobe Stock license is permission to use a certain asset you download from Adobe Stock within the terms of the license. Adobe Stock licenses allow you to use your assets anywhere in the world and forever. You may use it in print, websites, social media platforms, presentations, broadcasts, and merchandise.

Every Adobe Stock license is a form of a royalty-free license.

Standard License

The Standard License is the most common and cheapest Adobe Stock license used most of the time. You can get it the cheapest with subscriptions ($0.26–$9.99/image) or on-demand ($8.00–$9.99/image). It is available for images, HD videos, templates, 3D, and music tracks. The Standard License is best used for blogs, websites, PowerPoint presentations, social media posts, and emails.

You may:

  • reproduce up to 500,000 copies in any medium, including product packaging, marketing materials, digital documents, or software;
  • use it in email marketing, mobile advertising, broadcast, or a digital program when you expect fewer than 500,000 viewers;
  • upload the asset indefinitely to a website or on social media;
  • include the asset in specific products, such as a textbook, as long as the product’s main value isn’t the asset and it’s not reproduced more than 500,000 times;
  • share unmodified content with collaborators and contractors who have agreed to the license terms;
  • license the asset to a client or employer.

You may not:

  • distribute a stand-alone file;
  • create goods, templates, or other products whose value is tied to the asset. You can’t print the asset on a poster, a T-shirt, or a coffee mug and sell it;
  • unless you have a separate license, you may not distribute the license to multiple employers or customers.

Check out our Adobe Stock Buyer’s Guide for more information on the best buying option.

Enhanced License

The Enhanced License comes with Adobe Stock videos, templates, 3D assets, and the Premium Collection. You get the Enhanced License any time you download an HD video, template, or 3D model through a subscription (but not for images and music tracks). You also get the Enhanced License whenever you download any asset from the Premium Collection.

You may:

  • use the assets with the rights granted by the Standard license;
  • exceed the 500,000 copy limit per viewer.

You may not:

  • distribute stand-alone files;
  • create merchandise, templates, or other products whose value is tied to the asset. You may not print the asset on a poster, t-shirt, or coffee mug and sell it.

Get it with:

  • credits (when you buy any video, template, 3D asset, or assets from the Premium Collection).

Adobe Standard vs. Extended License

The main difference between the Adobe Standard and Extended Licenses is that the Standard License allows up to 500,000 copies but not the use for merchandise. The Extended License allows unlimited copies and the use for merchandise, where the asset may have a major role.

Extended License

Extended license is separate from the Standard and Enhanced licenses. You can buy it for any asset when you need it for merchandise or resale.

You may:

  • use the assets with the rights granted by the Standard license;
  • exceed the 500,000 copy limit per viewer;
  • produce merchandise for resale or distribution where the primary value is the asset itself, such as a coffee mug or t-shirt.

You may not:

  • distribute a stand-alone file.

Limited License – Creative Cloud Express

Some Adobe Stock assets in the Creative Cloud Express app come with the Limited License – Creative Cloud Express. To even get this license, you need to have an active Adobe Express subscription in the first place. Once you have Adobe Express, you can browse the Adobe Stock assets. Those that will have a little crown icon are licensed under the Limited License.

You may:

  • use the asset within the Creative Cloud Express app;
  • add the asset to your Creative Cloud Express project, and then publish or download it.

You may not:

  • download, export, or share the asset;
  • use the asset as a stand-alone file outside of the Creative Cloud Express app;
  • use the asset after your Creative Cloud Express membership expires;
  • include the asset in merchandise or template files for sale or distribution unless the final project is an original. You cannot print the asset for sale on a poster, t-shirt, or coffee mug.

Editorial Use

In addition to the restrictions of the Standard license, the assets marked “For editorial purposes only” have additional restrictions:

  • You may only use them in newspaper or magazine articles, news blogs, or similar media to describe current events or issues.
  • You may not use them for commercial purposes, such as promotions, endorsements, ads, commercial blogs, or merchandise. You may not use them for commercial purposes, even with an Extended License, without the prior written consent of the copyright owner of the asset and additional permission.
  • You may not alter the image except for minor quality adjustments, cropping, or resizing while maintaining the context and integrity of the original.
  • All uses must include the credit line provided on the website and in the IPTC credit field of the file, such as “Agency Name/Contributor Name – stock.adobe.com.

Audio Assets

With Adobe Stock royalty-free audio licenses, you may use any licensed music track worldwide as often as you like. The Audio Standard License applies to social media, websites, digital advertising, and corporate presentations. The Audio Extended License is required for:

  • TV or Radio,
  • paid-access on-demand or streaming video,
  • apps or video games,
  • theatrical releases,
  • physical point-of-sale locations

Restrictions for both audio licenses:

  • No stand-alone distribution. You must alter audio files somehow (synchronized with images, narration, etc.).
  • No remixes, mashups, or other track modifications.
  • Audio files cannot be used in templates, logos, or branding.

License Comparison

In the following table, we summarize and compare all four licenses that you can get with images.

UseStandardEnhancedExtendedEditorial
Unlimited web views
Email marketing, advertising, social media, broadcasts
Modify the asset*
Transfer the license
Copies500Kunlimitedunlimited500K
Indemnity$10,000$10,000$10,000$25,000
Used in products for resale 
Product where the primary value is the asset  
Distribute the stand-alone file   
*See Editorial Use Only restrictions. We covered only Adobe Stock licensing for individuals and Creative Cloud for team members. Enterprises should refer to the Enterprise License Page.

How To Get an Adobe Stock License

Each asset you download comes with a license that sets you a certain set of rights dictating how you may use the license. You can choose which license you get at the checkout by picking the right buying option.

  1. Go to Adobe Stock: You can click this link for a safe redirect to Adobe Stock.
  2. Go to the pricing page: Find and click the “Pricing” button in the top right corner.
  3. Pick the right buying option: Based on your requirements, pick either subscriptions or credits to get the right Adobe Stock license. You can also make single file purchases by finding the asset first, but this is the most expensive option.
  4. Complete your order: After you find the plan for yourself, head to the checkout, enter your payment information, and confirm.
  5. Download assets: Now that you have an active plan or credits, find the assets you want (images, videos, etc.) and download them. Along with the file, you will also receive the license, which grants you the right to use that asset.

You may also switch the order and do points 5 before 3 and 4, but we found that our way is easier and more clear for new customers.

Can I get an Adobe Stock license for free?

Yes, Adobe Stock’s free trial gives you 10 free downloads of Standard assets (images, 3D, templates) that come with the Standard license.

Adobe Stock Licenses FAQs

Can I use Adobe Stock for commercial use?

You can use all Adobe Stock assets for commercial use, except for those marked “editorial use only.” This means you may use the assets in any creative project, such as print ads, brochures, presentations, posters, book covers, commercials, websites, and annual reports.

Can a business use Adobe individual license?

Yes, businesses may use Adobe’s individual license, but they may not share the assets because the individual license will only be valid for one employee. Therefore, Adobe Stock’s plans for teams or enterprises are the best business option.

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a photographer, graphic designer, and stock photographer. For over ten years he's been helping photographers improve their photos and graphic designers find the best images for their designs. His work has been featured by Lifewire, Skylum, and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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