Adobe Stock Review: Best choice for creatives

Written by Matic Broz Updated on December 1, 2021

Adobe Stock Review: Best choice for creatives

Adobe Stock is Adobe’s stock photo & footage service built-in Creative Cloud. This integration lets you access assets without ever leaving apps, like Photoshop. So it’s a great choice for designers, although it’s not the cheapest. But Adobe Stock is only worth considering if you use Adobe apps or if you plan to use them. Otherwise, you pay for features you don’t even use.

#1 Pick
Adobe Stock Logo

Adobe Stock

The best stock photo site for designers.

While not the cheapest, you can save money with Adobe Stock. The integration into Adobe apps allows you to test images without buying them.

Overall, Adobe Stock measures up to my high standards for stock photo sites. The collection of 220+ million images is diverse enough for any project. Also, Adobe’s high-quality norms pay off since the photos are beautiful.

But it’s not all great. For instance, many stock photo sites have coupons that you can use at the checkout. But Adobe Stock doesn’t offer discount codes. Moreover, the support can be (not always) slow.

Yet, Adobe Stock has found a way to make up for its shortcomings with its free trials. Annual subscription plans of 10 and 40 monthly downloads have 30-day free trials. In reality, it means that you get up to 40 free images. Not bad.

To sum up, thanks to the integration, you pay only for the images you use in the end. And that one simple feature saves you a lot of time and money. That’s why I recommend Adobe Stock to designers, artists and creators who use (or will use) Adobe apps.

What is Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock is a stock photo service with superb royalty-free photos, videos, illustrations, vectors, 3D graphics, and templates. It supplies content for individuals, designers and companies.

Despite being a young photo agency, Adobe Stock has a huge collection of content. In only 6 years, it has amassed 260+ million stock images, 20 million videos, 38k audio files, and 52k templates. This success has been possible thanks to Adobe’s acquisition of Fotolia.

Adobe Stock is also integrated into the Creative Cloud platform. This provides a smooth and enjoyable experience to anyone using Photoshop or other Adobe apps.

Supercharge your designs, presentations, social media, & website with Adobe Stock.
Start Free Trial

Pricing: subscriptions vs credits

Adobe Stock sells the content with subscription plans and on-demand with credits. As they like to put it, you don’t get downloads, but assets. Prices begin at $0.26/image for a Standard license and $79.99 for an Extended license.

Subscription plans

Subscriptions are the cheapest way to access the content at Adobe Stock. They charge a fixed fee, for which you get a fixed number of downloads each month.

Adobe Stock pricing gif
Annual vs Month-to-month subscription price (Credit: Adobe Stock)

You can opt between Annual and Month-to-month (monthly) plans. Annual plans require a yearly contract but offer the lowest price/photo. Conversely, monthly plans require only a monthly commitment, but the price/image is higher.

Adobe Stock Monthly vs Annual
Annual vs Monthly plans option (Credit: Adobe Stock)

If you ever run out of downloads in a month, you may buy more for $2.99, $1.99, or $0.99. The price depends on the plan size; the larger the plan, the cheaper extra downloads.

Annual subscription plans

Annual subscription plans are on average twice as cheap as month-to-month plans. The pricing starts at only $0.26/asset, the lowest price/image at Adobe Stock.

Assets per monthMonthly costPrice/assetFree trial?
Annual subscription plans pricing

If you don’t use all your assets in a given month, they roll over to the next month. Rollovers are available with 3-, 10-, and 40-images/month plans.

Plus, the free trial lets you download 10 or 40 assets for free. I recommend you try it out. Here’s how you can get the free trial.

Adobe Stock free trial
Free trial (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Month-to-month plans

Monthly subscription plans are more expensive than annual plans, but you can cancel them at any time. The price per image starts at $0.33. Yet, month-to-month plans do not offer a free trial. But this makes sense for Adobe Stock since you don’t need to commit to them.

Assets per monthMonthly costPrice/assetFree trial?
Month-to-month subscription plans


Monthly plans are 1.27x-3.33x more expensive than annual plans. Hence, it’s vital you decide how long you will need stock images. If you only need them for a couple of months, month-to-month plans are the best option for you. In contrast, if you’ll need them for at least a year, an annual plan is best for you.

Credit packs

On-demand packs are a one-time purchase for which you get credits. You can then use the credits to buy stock photos, illustrations, videos, and other content. But credits cost more than subscriptions.

So, choose them only if you have irregular photo needs. Else, subscriptions are better.

For example, if you need 50 photos one month and zero the next, credits are the best choice for you. They cost more than subscriptions because you don’t need to commit for a long time.

Use credit packs to buy credits in bulk and save. The more credits you buy, the more money you save because credits’ price lowers.

Adobe Stock review - Credit packs pricing
Screenshot of Credit packs (Credit: Adobe Stock)

So, credit packs offer more flexibility and are a solid option when you don’t need content regularly. Moreover, you can use credits to downloads content that is not included in subscription plans.

Credit packs pricing:

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)

While standard images, templates, and audio cost from 1 credit, premium content costs more.

  • Videos (HD, 4K): 8-20 Credits
  • Premium images (photos, vectors, illustrations): 12-50 Credits
  • Premium templates (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign): 2-4 Credits
  • Premium 3D (Models, Lights, Materials): 2-10 Credits

Credits last for one year after the purchase. In contrast to subscription plans, credits do not auto-renew, meaning you need to buy more when you run out of them.


Adobe Stock sells stock photos under three licenses: Standard, Enhanced, and Extended. Each license is a different form of a royalty-free license. 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   
License comparison table

*See Editorial Use Only restrictions.

SIDENOTE. I covered only Adobe Stock licensing for individuals and Creative Cloud for teams members. Enterprises should refer to the Enterprise License Page.

Adobe Stock put a lot of effort to make image search as valuable to its customers as possible. When you look for stock images, it’s all about finding the right content, and Adobe intelligent search does that exactly.

In the left sidebar (see the screenshot below), you can filter by categories, price, orientation, number of people, colours, and even the depth of field.

Adobe Stock image Search Filters
Image Filter options (Credit: Adobe Stock)

By intelligent use of these filters, you can narrow down your search in a matter of seconds to find the perfect image for your project.

How to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark?

Downloading images without a watermark from Adobe Stock is simple. You can do it with 4 methods.

  1. Using a free trial.
  2. Downloading from a collection of 70k free images.
  3. Using a Creative Cloud to insert images into a design.
  4. Purchasing a subscription plan.
  5. Purchasing credits.

1. Free Trial

Adobe Stock has a 1-month free trial during which you can get 10 or 40 free assets. It is free because you can cancel the trial at any time and not pay for anything. This way, you’ll be able to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark.

To get Adobe Stock free trial, follow these 6 simple steps:

Total time: 3 minutes

  1. Go to Adobe Stock.

    Use this link to go to Adobe Stock.

  2. Click on the “START YOUR FREE MONTH” button.

    This will take you to the payment page. Don’t worry. You won’t have to pay anything.

  3. Enter all your details.

    This is to avoid abusing the system with bots.

  4. Click the “Place Secure Order” button.

    You won’t pay anything.

  5. Wait a couple of seconds to get a confirmation.

  6. Start downloading free images.

    Now, you have 30 days to download 10 free images from Adobe Stock.

2. Free Images

Adobe Stock offers 67,508 (as of Dec 4, 2020) images that you can download for absolutely free. Do I need to say more? These images are licensed under a Standard License, and you must abide by its rules and terms.

3. Image Download

Unlike other stock photo sites, Adobe Stock has two ways to download images – which one you’re going to choose depends on whether you’re going to use an image as a part of Creative Cloud or not.

If you’re a Creative Cloud user

This is the beautiful part of Adobe Stock’s integration into Creative Cloud. You don’t have to buy the image first and then edit it. You can edit the image as much as you want with a watermark, and only when you’re happy with it, you buy it. If you realise halfway through your project that you picked the wrong photo, there’s no problem – choose another one cost-free.

Here are the steps:

  1. Log in to your Creative Cloud.
  2. Open your design app, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
  3. Go to Library and search for Adobe Stock.
  4. Select an image.
  5. Edit it as much as you want with a watermark on.
  6. When you’re happy with it, click on the image to buy it.
  7. You’re done.

If you’re not a Creative Cloud user

Or, if you’re not a Creative Cloud user, you can download images from Adobe Stock like from any other stock photo site.

  1. Go to the Adobe Stock website.
  2. Search for an image using the search bar.
  3. Enter your keyword.
  4. Narrow down your search using filters.
  5. Click on the image you like.
  6. Buy or download it.
  7. Done!

Downloading images from Adobe Stock couldn’t be easier.


Adobe Stock is outstanding, especially for creators, but if you’re only after the images, it might not be the best fit for you. Thus, I recommend the following stock photo sites based on your need.

I recommend these 5 Adobe Stock alternatives:

  • Shutterstock (Go to Shutterstock | Read my Shutterstock review)
    Shutterstock is the largest and the most popular stock photo agency. It has over 360 million files in its library, a free trial of 10 images, and charges $0.22/image.
  • Dreamstime (Go to Dreamstime | Read my Dreamstime review)
    Dreamstime is my favourite stock photo agency and, uncoincidentally, the cheapest. As a Dreamstime partner, I arranged a 30% discount, which you can get by clicking on “Dreamstime”. The pricing starts at $0.158/image.
  • Depositphotos (Go to Depositphotos | Read my Depositphotos review)
    Depositphotos is the favourite of many bloggers primarily due to a healthy mix of many images and low prices.
  • Alamy (Go to Alamy | Read my Alamy review)
    Alamy is strictly an on-demand stock photo agency and one of the leading players in the stock photo community.
  • Photocase (Go to Photocase | Read my Photocase review)
    Photocase is quite expensive, but it sells highly-curated premium stock photos that you won’t find anywhere else.

If you need a list of even more Adobe Stock alternatives, read my list of the best stock photo sites.

Adobe Stock vs Shutterstock

Adobe Stock is better for those who already use Adobe Creative Cloud and enjoy a smoother workflow. In contrast, Shutterstock is better for those who need photos separately from Adobe Creative Cloud because of its overall lower prices.

A critical but often missed criteria for stock photo sites is their supply of the images you need.

When you have stock photo needs from a specific category or niche, such as photography, you should first try searching for that term at all stock photo site candidates and see which has the best images for you.

Read more about Shutterstock vs Adobe Stock.

Frequently asked questions

Is Adobe Stock any good?

All Adobe Stock content is high-quality, thanks to its strict quality-check standards. It’s an outstanding choice for creatives, website owners, and influencers.

Is Adobe Stock worth it?

Although it’s not the cheapest, Adobe Stock sells beautiful stock photos, videos, and other assets. It’s one of the best stock photo sites this year.

How does Adobe Stock work?

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

Are Adobe Stock images free?

In general, Adobe Stock images are not free. The majority of its content is licensed under a Royalty-free license. But, Adobe Stock offers tens of thousands of free photos, vectors, and videos. Plus, you can get 10 free images with its trial.

Does Adobe Stock license Rights-Managed?

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

Are Adobe Stock images royalty-free?

All Adobe Stock images are royalty-free. You can buy various RF licenses allowing you to use the image within certain limits.

Can I use Adobe Stock images for commercial use?

You can use all Adobe Stock’s assets commercially, except those marked “editorial use only”. You may use other in any commercial projects, including ads, presentations, book covers, commercial, websites, and brochures.

What is Adobe Stock Premium?

Adobe Stock Premium is a collection of high-quality exclusive images. These are the images contributed by the world’s top photographers and artists. They have superior commercial potential, resulting in higher conversions.

How to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark?

There are three ways to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark. 1. Buy the license of the image and download it. 2. Starts Adobe’s free trial and download 10 free images. 3. Adobe Stock offers thousands of free images that you can download without a watermark.

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.


In summary, Adobe Stock is an excellent choice for designers, artists, and photographers that work with Adobe apps due to an invaluable integration of Adobe Stock into the Create Cloud.

Adobe Stock is a 100% legitimate stock photo agency that you have no reason not to trust if it meets all your needs. Its seamless integration into Creative Cloud is perfect for those who already use any Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or After Effects.

Adobe Stock has an average rating of 1.2 stars from 75 reviews on Sitejabber, 2.1 stars from 31 reviews on Trustpilot, and 4.4 stars from 62 reviews on G2. Most often, Adobe Stock customers are not satisfied with their purchases or dislike its marketing scheme.

2 thoughts on “Adobe Stock Review: Best choice for creatives”

  1. Hey Maria,

    This is not factual. After you’ve brought this to my attention, I’ve:

    • searched the entire Aodbe website
    • got in touch with Adobe

    They confirmed what I’ve found: You can purchase the free trial of your choice and for the 1st month you will not be charged anything as it is a free trial for 30 days and on the 31st day you will be charged for the plan for which you start your plan for.

  2. Adobe Stock – If you would like to try the “FREE TRIAL” and get your 10 assets for free, ensure to cancel your so-called “FREE TRIAL” before the 7th day from the day you signed up, otherwise from day 8th to the 30th (full calendar month) you will be charged for the full month $29+ plus a termination fee of $59+.

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