Adobe Stock review 2023: superb choice for designers thanks to Creative Cloud integration

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Is it worth it?

Adobe Stock is a valuable stock photo site for graphic designers who use Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop or Illustrator. Since it is very affordable and has a royalty-free license, it is a practical option for any buyer who needs high flexibility and low prices.


  • Creative Cloud integration.
  • AI image search.
  • Diverse subscriptions and flexible credits.
  • Great image variety.
  • The largest free trial with up to 40 free images.
  • 800K free assets.


  • Expensive premium images.
  • Poor music track variety.
  • Extended licenses cannot be bought in bulk.
  • Customer support could be better.
Adobe Stock logo
Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 4.9/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.
Images326 million
Videos26 million
Extended license$79.99
Free trialYes (10, 25, or 40 images)

Adobe’s push into the stock photo domain with Adobe Stock isn’t just a side venture—it’s a calculated, integrated move. Seamlessly woven into the expansive Creative Cloud suite, this platform caters especially to graphic designers, video editors, and essentially anyone dabbling in the creative arts.

Here’s the deal: Adobe Stock provides not just photos but vectors, illustrations, and even 3D models and audio tracks. Their library is vast and categorized into standard and premium segments, ensuring options for projects of all budgets. And for those just testing the waters, Adobe’s generous 30-day free trial and a forever-free collection of 750,000 assets make for an enticing invitation.

But let’s talk pricing. Adobe Stock does come with a heftier price for its smaller or larger subscription plans. Yet, when stacked against rivals like Shutterstock, the picture becomes nuanced. While Adobe Stock leans slightly towards the pricier side with subscriptions, its on-demand offerings provide both affordability and flexibility.

However, every silver lining has a cloud. Navigating Adobe’s customer service can sometimes feel like a maze—complex and a tad frustrating. But this hiccup is counterbalanced by Adobe Stock’s deep roots in the photography community. Many contributors are seasoned pros, familiar with Adobe’s software arsenal, leading to a gallery teeming with unique and striking content.

Drawing a parallel to tech innovations, Adobe Stock feels like a fresh start, an evolution in the stock imagery landscape. Curious? Their 30-day trial might just be the perfect introduction. In our book, Adobe Stock is certainly worth the investment.

Who is Adobe Stock best for?

Thanks to its integration into the Creative Cloud, Adobe Stock is best for graphic designers. Because of the flexible pricing options or broad royalty-free license, it’s also great for any buyer, both commercial and non-commercial. However, Adobe Stock is slightly more expensive than its competitors. Although Adobe Stock is a versatile stock photo agency, it’s better for some customers than others.

  • Graphic designers. Adobe Stock is specifically designed to improve the workflow of creative professionals such as graphic designers, artists, and website owners. First, it’s integrated with Creative Cloud so that you can browse all assets directly from Adobe apps. Second, high-quality photos are licensed under a royalty-free license, which is ideal for most of these projects. Third, in addition to stock photos, you can get vector graphics, Adobe Photoshop templates, 3D elements, footage, music, and fonts.
  • General buyers. You don’t have to be a designer to benefit from Adobe Stock. With a comprehensive royalty-free license (one of the few with unlimited legal protection) and a variety of pricing plans, Adobe Stock is the best choice for anyone who needs stock photos. You can use them for personal or commercial projects and resale (in which case you’ll need an extended license).
  • Those already using Creative Cloud. If you’re already using Adobe apps, getting Adobe Stock also makes sense. However, don’t forget that other stock photo sites can also be integrated with Creative Cloud, namely Shutterstock and iStock.

How much does Adobe Stock cost?

Adobe Stock’s pricing is divided into subscription plans and credits. Subscriptions ($0.26–$9.99/image) come in four sizes (3 or 10, 40, 350, and 750 monthly downloads) and with two commitments (monthly and annual). You can also buy content on-demand with credits, which is more expensive at $8.00–$9.99 per image and up to $119.88 for premium photos.

Monthly Subscriptions

Monthly subscriptions ($29.99–$249.99/month) are more expensive than annual subscriptions but are better if you need images for up to 8 months. They’re available in sizes of 3–750 downloads and cost $0.33–$9.99/asset. Instead of images, you can also purchase 3–25 HD videos for $9.99–$22.39/video. Monthly Adobe Stock plans don’t include a free trial, though.

Assets per monthPricePrice/assetFree trial?
3 (US market)$29.99/month$9.99/image
10 (EU market)$49.99/month$9.99/image
25 (or 3 HD videos)$69.99/month$2.79/image ($22.39/video)
40 (or 6 HD videos) (US market)$99.99/month$2.49/image ($14.99/video)
750 (or 25 HD videos)$249.99/month$0.33/image ($9.99/video)
Monthly subscription pricing.

Annual Subscriptions

Annual subscriptions ($29.99–$199.99/month) are cheaper than monthly subscriptions but lock you into a yearly contract. You can get up to 750 standard assets, each costing $0.26–$2.99. Annual subscriptions with 10, 25, and 40 assets have a free trial period, meaning you get 10, 25, or 40 standard assets for free in the first 30 days. The annual subscriptions are better if you need images for at least 8 months.

Assets per monthPricePrice/assetFree trial?
25 (or 3 HD videos)$49.99/month$1.99/image ($15.99/video)
40 (or 6 HD videos)$79.99/month$1.99/image ($11.99/video)
750 (or 25 HD videos)$199.99/month$0.26/image ($7.99/video)
Annual subscription pricing.

Credit packs

Credits ($8.00–$9.99/credit) are used to buy content on-demand. To get credits, you first buy a credit pack, available in sizes from 5 to 150 credits. The larger credit packs are cheaper than, the smaller ones because you get a lower price per credit. You should use credits if you only need images occasionally or need content not sold as part of a subscription, such as the extended and Enhanced licenses, videos, premium images, and editorial content.

  • Standard images: 1 credit (Standard license).
  • Standard templates & 3D: 1 credit (Enhanced license).
  • HD videos: 8 credits (Enhanced license).
  • 4K videos: 20 credits (Enhanced license).
  • Premium images: 12+ credits (Enhanced license).
  • Editorial: 12+ credits (Enhanced license).
Number of creditsPricePrice/creditYou save
Credit packs pricing (Savings are calculated as price/credit for 5 credits multiplied by the number of credits, minus the price. For example: ($9.99×40) – $359.99 ≅ $40)

Free Trial

Adobe Stock offers a 30-day trial period where you can download 10 or 40 (depending on your subscription) standard assets (standard images, music, templates, 3D). There are no hidden fees or tricks, but you must cancel the free trial before the first billing to avoid getting charged.

  1. Go to Adobe Stock.
  2. Click on the “START YOUR FREE MONTH” button.
  3. Enter all your details.
  4. Click the “Place Secure Order” button.
  5. Wait a couple of seconds to get a confirmation.
  6. Start downloading free images.

Adobe Stock Pricing FAQs

How Can I Pay?

The best way to pay is with credit cards since the transactions are 100% secure and do not carry hidden fees. Alternatively, they also accept GPay, but Paypal no longer seems to be an option.

Is Adobe Stock free for students?

While students and teachers get a hefty 63% discount on the Creative Cloud subscription services, the price of Adobe Stock can’t be reduced. Students still get a 30-day trial but must pay the same subscription fee as everyone else when it expires.

What is Adobe Stock Premium?

The Adobe Stock Premium collection contains only the best images from world-renowned photographers, artists, and agencies. These images have greater commercial potential and are valuable, making them more expensive than regular images.

What is Adobe Stock 10 assets a month?

Adobe Stock 10 assets a month is the cheapest and smallest subscription plan that lets you download ten standard assets per month for a fixed fee of $29/month, with the first month free.

How much are Adobe Stock images?

Adobe Stock images cost between $0.26 and $9.99 when bought with subscriptions or on-demand. Subscriptions for images cost between $29.99 and $249.99 per month, depending on the plan size and duration.

Pricing for Teams

Plans for teams differ in from the plans for individuals in that the assets may be shared among the team members. In contrast, if you bought each of your team members a separate plan, they wouldn’t be allowed to work on the same projects.

Plans for teams are the best for companies because

  • Team members can collaborate and create together.
  • One shared plan for the entire team within one company.
  • Licensed assets belong to the company, so they can be shared by everyone within it.
  • Licensing history for complete control over what you own.
  • Admin console to control subscriptions and control what everyone’s downloading.

Subscriptions for teams

All subscriptions for teams are available only for one year, meaning there are no monthly plans. But you cannot get a free trial.

Assets per monthPricePrice/assetFree trial?
40 (or 6 HD videos)$79.99/month$1.99/image ($11.99/video)
750 (or 25 HD videos)$199.99/month$0.26/image ($7.99/video)
Annual team subscription pricing.

Credit packs for teams

Number of creditsPricePrice/creditYou save
Team credit packs pricing.

Unlimited downloads for teams (Pro Edition)

Adobe Stock teams Pro Edition gives you unlimited downloads of Adobe Stock standard assets. If you have 5 or more Creative Cloud teams seats, everyone on the team gets unlimited downloads of Adobe Stock standard assets as part of your plan.

Don’t forget that you may also get a free trial.

  • Unlimited downloads. Adobe Stock gives you access to millions of standard photos, vectors, illustrations, templates, and 3D assets. With no asset quotas and the ability to use watermark-free, full-res assets even for comps and layouts, Adobe Stock is the perfect platform for all your design needs.
  • Enhanced licensing. Adobe Stock Pro Editions come with Enhanced Licenses for unlimited copies or views of all Adobe Stock standard assets. With pooled licensing, assets belong to your company even as team members come and go. This makes Adobe Stock Pro Editions the perfect choice for businesses that need a reliable stock asset solution.
  • Seamless transition. Adobe Stock Pro Editions allow you to keep using the same login credentials to access your Creative Cloud apps and keep all assets saved in your Creative Cloud Libraries. This makes upgrading to a Pro Edition a seamless process.

Do we recommend Adobe Stock?

From our experience, we recommend Adobe Stock to anyone who needs stock images, videos, fonts, or music, but it’s particularly good for graphic designers and other creatives who can take full of advantage of its integration with Creative Cloud. This includes artists, designers, marketers, and everyone else working with visual content and uses or plans to use Creative Cloud apps (i.e., Photoshop, Illustrator).

Who shouldn’t get Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock isn’t a good choice for anyone on a tight budget who needs a few images per month (around 10 to 30). For those, we recommend Depositphotos, which is 2–3 times cheaper than all the other stock photo sites in this range.

Is Adobe Stock worth it despite being more expensive?

Adobe Stock is more expensive only for the smallest and the largest subscription plans (10 and 750 downloads per month with monthly commitment) and for stock footage.

Compared to Shutterstock, its biggest competitor, Adobe Stock is only slightly more costly with subscriptions and considerably cheaper on-demand. On top of that, Adobe Stock’s on-demand plans (with credits) are a lot more flexible than Shutterstock’s image packs.

Adobe Stock for Enterprises

Adobe Stock for enterprise gives creative teams access to more than 300 million images, videos, templates, illustrations, audio files, and 3D assets—all from within the creative apps they use every day. With such a vast library of assets at their fingertips, creatives can easily find the perfect visual to communicate their message and achieve their goals.

Key features

  • Unlimited users. Adobe Stock for enterprise gives you unlimited access to all assets for an unlimited number of users in any geographic location. This makes it the perfect solution for businesses that need a reliable stock asset solution.
  • Overview of assets. Adobe Stock for enterprise gives you better visibility into your assets with badges and reports. You can also control user access to assets through one centralized console. This helps you save costs by avoiding duplicate stock purchases.
  • Unwatermarked previews. Adobe Stock for enterprise gives you unwatermarked, high-resolution comps for preview. This allows you to test images without watermarks before licensing. Edits also automatically sync when you license the asset, saving you time.
  • Extended license on all assets. Adobe Stock for enterprise gives you an extended license on all assets. This allows you to use images without expiration dates or geographical restrictions. You also get unlimited impressions and print runs.


Adobe Stock sells content under three licenses: Standard, Enhanced, and Extended. Each license is a different form of a royalty-free license, and each comes with other obligations, prices, and uses.

Unlimited web views
Email marketing, advertising, social media, broadcasts
Modify the asset*
Transfer the license
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.
  • Standard license is the basic form of the royalty-free license, which means it’s perpetual and worldwide. Though it limits you to 500,000 prints or copies, it comes with unlimited web views. You can get a standard license when you download content through subscriptions or buy standard assets with credits.
  • Enhanced license is like the Standard license but comes with unlimited reproduction, meaning no limits on prints and copies. You can get it by downloading premium assets and stock footage with credits.
  • Extended license is a supplementary license to the Standard and Enhanced. It has only one purpose: to give you the right to use the asset for resale.

Related reading: Adobe Stock Licenses Explained

Are Adobe Stock images royalty-free?

All Adobe Stock images are royalty-free and licensed under a Standard, Enhanced, or Extended license. All three are a form of royalty-free license but vary in the number of allowed copies and uses. Consequently, Adobe Stock does not offer a rights-managed license, making it a non-exclusive stock photo site.

Can I use Adobe Stock images for commercial use?

Yes, you may use certain Adobe Stock images for commercial purposes. The only exclusion is images marked as “Editorial Use Only,” which may only be used for informational purposes and news.

Does Adobe Stock license Rights-Managed?

No, Adobe Stock only offers royalty-free (RF) licenses. There are three RF licenses: Standard, Enhanced, and Extended, which differ in the allowed reproduction rate, price, and usage rights.

Is Adobe Stock music copyright free?

All Adobe Stock music and audio tracks are royalty-free, meaning you may use them as often as you need in any project, anywhere in the world. Even after you cancel your Adobe account, you’re free to use the downloaded assets. You may also use the music for your client’s projects, but only you are allowed to download and use it. Adobe Stock audio is not free with the Creative Cloud. But you can get 10 or 40 free audio tracks with the Adobe Stock free trial.

Adobe Stock: Buyer’s Guide

Here we’ll explain how to choose the best plan at Adobe Stock based on your requirements:

  • Free trial: when you’re not sure whether Adobe Stock is suitable for you or if you want 10 to 40 free stock images.
  • Subscriptions: when you need stock photos, vectors, illustrations, templates, 3D, or music tracks regularly, meaning at least 3 per month.
    • Monthly subscriptions: when you need downloads for a maximum of 8 months.
    • Annual subscriptions: when you need downloads for over 8 months.
  • Credits: when you need:
    • Any content only occasionally, for example, 1 or 2 downloads per month.
    • 4K videos.
    • Premium images.
    • Extended licenses (when you need over 500K prints or resale rights).
Adobe Stock Buyers Guide Infographic


Features are the main advantage of Adobe Stock over other stock photo sites. They are why it’s ranked first among stock photo sites for graphic designers.

1. Creative Cloud integration

Adobe Stock is naturally part of most major Adobe apps, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro.

Integrating Adobe Stock’s database into Creative Cloud lets, you browse all assets from within the apps. This feature helps you find the best asset (image, video, 3D, template, etc.) without first downloading it. You can import as many watermarked assets as you want, but you will pay only for the ones you use in the final cut.

Browsing Adobe Stock inside Photoshop (2022) 23.2.2.
Browsing Adobe Stock inside Photoshop (2022) 23.2.2.

In the example above, we used Photoshop 2022 to browse Adobe Stock’s library and import a photo for free. Then we could use the picture to create a design for free and only pay for the image when we’re done. This workflow speeds any designer’s workflow, which is crucial for successful projects.

How to use it?

  1. Log in to your Creative Cloud.
  2. Open your design apps, such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Go to the Library panel and click “Explore libraries“.
  4. Select an image.
  5. Edit it as much as you want.
  6. When done, click on the image to buy it.

Adobe Stock puts a lot of effort into making the image search as valuable to its customers as possible. Looking for stock images is all about finding the right content, and Adobe intelligent search does that exactly.

Adobe Stock search filter
Screenshot of Adobe Stock search for “cake”. (Image credits: Adobe Stock)

In the left sidebar (see the screenshot below), you can filter by categories, price, orientation, number of people, colors, and even depth of field. With the intelligent use of these filters, you can narrow your search in a matter of seconds to find the perfect image for your project.

3. Diverse subscriptions

Most major stock photo agencies offer subscriptions for each content type separately, i.e., subscriptions for photos, music, videos, etc. However, Adobe Stock subscriptions include all standard assets, i.e., standard photos, HD videos, music, 3D, and templates.

4. Flexible credits

We’re not fans of image packs, like those you can get at Shutterstock or Depositphotos because they limit you to one type of content. For example, Depositphotos offers 18 types of video packs and 7 types of image packs.

Adobe Stock credits

In contrast, Adobe Stock lets you buy any asset with credits, which are universal for the entire site. The only choice you have to make upon buying is how many credits you should get (the more you buy, the cheaper they get).

4. Over 284 million images with great variety.

Although Adobe Stock has ~28% fewer images than Shutterstock (284 million vs. 397 million), the diversity is just as great. We attribute this to the fact that Shutterstock accepts more similar images for each shot, which quickly add up to the largest image database.

It’s also worth noting that Adobe Stock, despite having a smaller image library than Shutterstock, is still the second largest of all stock photo sites.

5. The largest free trial (up to 40 free images).

Adobe Stock honors itself with the most generous free trial among all stock agencies, with 10, 25, or even 40 free stock images. You can get it by subscribing to annual plans, upon which you get the first month free, worth $29, $49, or $79, respectively.

Adobe Stock free trial checkout
Adobe Stock free trial checkout

The free trial doesn’t come with any tricks; you may cancel it within the last hour of the 30-day trial period without repercussions.

6. Free assets

If you currently can’t afford to spend money on buying images, you can use Adobe Stock’s free collection. It includes 750 thousand images, 10 thousand videos (8K of them are in 4K res), 3,6K templates, and 1.2K 3D assets.

Adobe Stock free asset downloading
Adobe Stock free asset downloading

The free assets come with the Standard License, which allows unlimited web impressions and 500,000 prints or copies, and provides $10,000 in legal protection insurance. In the past, you had to credit Adobe Stock as the source when using the free assets, but that is no longer necessary.


1. Premium images are expensive

The role of premium images is to provide the highest possible quality and impactful content. Based on that, they are the most suitable for reputable advertising campaigns, blogs, and websites with high budgets, and for merchandise.

Browsing Adobe Stock premium images
Browsing Adobe Stock premium images

However, they are also quite expensive, costing between $96.00 and $119.99. In comparison, iStock also sells premium images with subscriptions, bringing the price down significantly to $0.44-$9.90/image.

However, the higher price for premium images on Adobe Stock is the result of the broader royalty-free license, known as the Enhanced License, which removes the limitation of 500,000 copies and reprints. By comparison, iStock licenses its premium images with the Standard License, and you must purchase the Enhanced License ($144-$216) for similar rights.

2. Poor music track variety

Although Adobe Stock currently holds around 60,000 music tracks and sound effects, many customers complain that it can be difficult to find specific sounds and chords.

3. Extended Licenses cannot be bought in bulk

Because you can buy Extended Licenses only individually, the price is higher. However, at $79.99/Ext. Lic., Adobe Stock is not very expensive, compared to $1,000 per license at Dreamstime or $216 at iStock.

However, certain sites that sell extended royalty-free licenses in bulk offer them at considerably lower prices, around $68, such as Shutterstock and Depositphotos.

But a discount is only available when you buy 25 extended licenses. For single purchases, they are more expensive than at Adobe Stock.

Survey: What do customers think about Adobe Stock?

While we are experts in the field of stock photography, we sought the opinion of 250 Adobe Stock customers to give you the most accurate insight into this stock photo service. These are our results:

What do customers like about Adobe Stock?

We found that 84% of Adobe Stock customers like the variety and quality of stock photo assets, particularly images. 45% of customers also liked the integration because it helps them save money and time.

Moreover, almost 19% liked the image search, 14% thought that subscriptions were worth their money, and over 7% said that Adobe Stock’s website was easy to use.

Graph of What customers like about Adobe Stock

What do customers dislike about Adobe Stock?

We found that 32% of customers think that Adobe Stock is expensive. However, most of them keep using it because they like its features. 22% of customers complained about the poor customer service, which either doesn’t reply or doesn’t help. Over 21% of Adobe Stock customers had nothing to complain about.

Other complaints included the lack of tutorial on using image search (17%), poor image variety or stocky-looking photos (14%), not enough audio files and sound effects (8%), and the inability to browse their downloaded content (<7%).

Graph of What customers dislike about Adobe Stock

Survey Methodology

Photutorial conducted an online survey/research on 250 Adobe Stock customers to find what they like and dislike about this stock photo service. The customers were allowed to give multiple answers, which explains why the percentages don’t add up to 100%. We then categorized their answers into 7 categories.

The outdated or untrue answers (both positive and negative) are not presented in the graphs (i.e., complaints about scams, although Adobe Stock explicitly states the terms and conditions).


Our survey shows that 83% of customers are satisfied with Adobe Stock services because they appreciate the high image quality and variety, integration with Adobe CC, and search features. However, 17% of customers think Adobe Stock is overpriced, and 8% are dissatisfied with customer service.

Best Alternatives

Adobe StockShutterstockiStockDepositphotos
Best forBest for Graphic DesignersBest overallBest for Commercial UseBest for Bloggers
Images280 million392 million140 million180 million
Extended license$79.99$67.96–$99.50$144–$216$63.96–$89.00
Free trialYes (10, 25, or 40 images)Yes (10 images)Yes (10 images)Yes (10 images)
Review(current article)Shutterstock reviewiStock reviewDepositphotos review

» What is the best Adobe Stock alternative? Find the best Adobe Stock alternatives

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Adobe Stock safe to use?

Adobe Stock is one of the most secure stock photo agencies to use because its royalty-free license includes unlimited indemnity. As a result, you are entirely protected even if there is a problem with the image you used. Furthermore, all transactions on Adobe Stock are encrypted and secure.

Is Adobe Stock any good?

Adobe Stock is excellent, especially for graphic designers and other creatives, thanks to its integration, which allows them to easily browse all content in Adobe apps, such as Illustrator or Photoshop. Adobe Stock is slightly more expensive than some competitors, but it pays for improved workflow and image quality.

Is Adobe Stock worth it?

Yes, Adobe Stock is worth considering for stock photos, vectors, footage, music, and other assets. It received the highest Photutorial rating (5.0/5.0) among stock photo sites thanks to impeccable image quality, great variety, the largest free trial, and reasonable licensing terms.

Are Adobe Stock images free?

No, Adobe Stock images are not free. However, you can get 10, 25, or 40 free stock images with the free trial when you subscribe to a monthly plan or download any of the 1 million free assets, which require attribution upon use.

Is Adobe Stock included in Creative Cloud?

Adobe Stock is integrated into many Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, After Effects, InDesign, XD, Adobe Spark, and Dimension. You can get a 30-day free trial along with other subscriptions.

Is Adobe Stock free with Photoshop?

Yes, Adobe Stock can be free with Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop is available with two plans: the Photography plan ($9.99/month) and the Photoshop plan ($20.99/month). Each plan, even the Photoshop free trial, lets you add Adobe Stock free trial.

Is Adobe Stock free with Creative Cloud (CC)?

You can get up to 40 free images with the Creative Cloud by choosing the Adobe Stock free trial at the checkout. So, Adobe Stock is free with Creative Cloud only for the first month. After the trial expires, you must pay for every Adobe Stock image you use.

Does Adobe Stock have free images?

Along with paid premium assets, Adobe Stock lets you use free stock assets, including photos, vectors (illustrations), and videos. There are 800,000 free photos, 172,000 free vectors, and 8,500 free videos. But remember—if you use an unmodified asset, you must attribute the creator.

Is Adobe Stock free for commercial use?

You can use Adobe Stock assets for commercial use, even the ones you download with the free trial. However, beyond the free trial, the assets are not free for any purpose, including commercial. But since all Adobe Stock assets are licensed with a royalty-free license, you can use them for commercial projects as often as you want, anywhere in the world.

Adobe Stock review: The verdict

Adobe Stock has a Photutorial rating of 5.0 stars, indicating that it is one of the best stock photo sites. Most customers like high-quality stock photos and Creative Cloud integration. Consumers complaining about Adobe Stock most frequently mention high prices and poor customer support. Adobe Stock ranks 2nd among stock photo sites.

Brief History of Adobe Stock

Here’s a quick look at how Adobe Stock changed and developed over the years.

  • December 1982 – is founded by Charles Geschke and John Warnock.
  • 2004 – Fotolia is founded by Thibaud Elzière, Oleg Tscheltzoff, and Patrick Chassany.
  • April 2005 – Adobe Stock is launched as a part of the Adobe Creative Suite 2 software. It had 230,000 photos and illustrations. The images came from the libraries of Photodisc® by Getty Images, Comstock Images® by Jupitermedia®, Digital Vision®, imageshopTM royalty free by zefaimagesTM, and amana®.
  • 2008 – Adobe Stock is discontinued.
  • 2012 – Adobe releases a plugin for Fotolia, thus integrating it into CS4 and CS5.
  • June 11, 2015 – Adobe acquires Fotolia and renames it Adobe Stock. It has 40 million images.
  • October 23, 2017 – Adobe Stock releases a free trial with 10 free stock images.
  • February 5, 2019 – Adobe Stock releases credit packs.
  • November 5, 2019 – Fotolia is discontinued as it ultimately merges with Adobe Stock.

What is Adobe Stock used for?

Adobe Stock is most commonly used to license and download photos, vectors, illustrations, and music. For most specialized uses, customers also use it to download 3D elements and templates. All these assets come from artists and photographers who upload them to Adobe Stock and get a commission every time their content is licensed.

Content offered by Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock offers a variety of stock resources, including fonts and audio clips, but specializes in stock photos and videos.

ContentAdobe Stock
Photos191 million
Vectors65 million
Illustrations23 million
Videos25 million
3D models17,000
Premium5.2 million
Free images750,000
Free videos10,200
Free templates3,500
Free 3D elements1,200

How does Adobe Stock work?

Adobe Stock provides customers (designers, web developers, and social media influencers) with high-quality royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, videos, vectors, 3D content, and templates. You pay Adobe Stock a small amount for the right to use their content.


To accurately review Adobe Stock, we took a holistic view of 31 stock photo agencies that incorporated image number, quality, variety, prices and pricing options, licensing terms, features, and customer support.

  • Image quality & variety: 20% of the score. We browsed each stock photo site for over 50 search terms and analyzed the resulting image quality and variety. Both were scored qualitatively based on our expertise and experience. The quality check comprised technical quality, including exposure, sharpness, grain, saturation, color temperature, and added value. The variety check was primarily focused on checking what percentage of images came from the same photo shoot.
  • Stock photo prices and pricing options: 20% of the score. Price is crucial in choosing stock photos, and having various options helps customers find the best plans. We checked whether the stock photo agency offers subscriptions, on-demand options, and sizes. In addition, having a free trial is a bonus as it allows customers to get an insight into what they can expect. Finally, we considered the minimum, median, and maximum price per image and the price per extended license image.
  • Licensing terms: 20% of the score. We read and took notes on every stock image license. We compared them based on how many copies, reprints, impressions they allow, and indemnity value.
  • Image number: 15% of the score. The number of images is essential when rating stock photo sites because you can quickly run out of free photos when you need thousands of images. We checked each stock photo site’s database and took notes on the number of images.
  • Additional features: 15% of the score. Additional features are meant to simplify or enhance a customer’s workflow. We reviewed and tested all the additional features where possible. Since some are limited to enterprises, or we couldn’t get in touch with the support team, we searched for customers with access to the additional features and asked for their opinion.
  • Customer support: 10% of the score. Crucially, when testing customer support, we didn’t tell them who we were, so we got treated like every other customer. We took notes of the response times, contact options (live chat, email, and telephone), and the usefulness and kindness of the support teams.

Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, the number of images per most popular searches, technical quality, and added value. We also looked at the variety of pricing plans, minimum, median, and maximum image prices, and free trial terms. Finally, we evaluated Adobe Stock’s customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.