Alamy Review

Written by Matic Broz - Updated on December 2, 2021

Alamy is a not-so-popular on-demand stock photo agency that sells stock images. In this Alamy review, I’ll explain in detail whether it’s worth your money.

Quick Summary

When choosing a stock photo site, price is the most important factor along with image quality and variety. While Alamy offers a wide variety of images (279M), it’s very costly. That’s because there are no subscription plans; you can only get images on-demand.

  • Okay and kind support team.
  • A huge content library.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • No registration needed.
  • A no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • No subscriptions.
  • Questionable photo acquisition policy.
  • Slow website.

So, when you need only a few images, Alamy is a fine choice. However, as soon as you need more than 5 or 10, I recommend cheaper alternatives that also offer better photos. As per my best stock photo site list, I recommend three stock photo sites.

Adobe Stock is my number one choice. You can get images for as low as $0.26, while also taking advantage of Adobe’s premium features. For instance, Adobe Stock is integrated into the Creative Cloud. That feature allows you to browse images, videos, and other assets within the Adobe apps, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere. As a result, you save a lot of money and time, since you don’t have to pay for an asset to try it. Finally, Adobe Stock offers one of the most generous free trials—you get 10 or 40 free images.

Shutterstock has long been a gold standard for stock photography, but it’s been seeing a slow decline in recent years. The main problem is its somewhat misleading free trial policy. Also, Shutterstock has no additional features, as Adobe Stock has. You can get images for as low as $0.22. Try comparing it to Adobe Stock.

Finally, the cheapest option is Dreamstime. While it’s not the cheapest by default, I managed to score a partnership that grants you a 30% discount on all plans. As a result, you can get images for as low as $0.158.

The pricing at Alamy starts at $9.99, but you can get it for less with a discount code.

What is Alamy stock photo?

Alamy is one of the oldest stock photo agencies – it is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. In these years, it has earned a well-deserved worldwide reputation for offering high-quality stock images.

Currently, Alamy offers over 235 million stock images, vectors, illustrations, so you can always find the right content for your visual designs. Here are just a few reasons why you should choose Alamy over other stock photo sites:

  • High-quality content comes from over 150,000 contributors.
  • Almost 700 trustworthy agencies
  • A library of 235 million images, with 100,000 more added every day.
  • Alamy covers a vast majority of countries

Alamy Pricing

Alamy sells its content on demand only, but you can save by using credit packs. Rights Managed images cost between $19.99 and $199.99, depending on the intent. Royalty-free images cost between $49 and $365, depending on the size.

Alamy’s prices are transparent and easy to determine since there are no credit options. Its diverse catalogue offers various themes and styles available under either a royalty-free license, starting at as low as $6.96 per image, or a rights-managed license, with prices starting at $19.99 per image.

There is, however, a downside to no subscription plans because there are no immediate discounts on bulk purchases or recurring customers, the problem which has been now resolved with image packs.

You can get up to a 30% discount with Alamy’s image packs.  The agency is also willing to work out a special offer for your individual needs; all you need to do is contact them directly.

Importantly, Alamy offers a full refund, no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

Popular image licenses

Alamy has pre-prepared Popular image licenses that are quick and easy to use. These licenses differ in applicability. The following can be used for:

  • Personal use – $19.99. Personal prints, cards, and gifts, or reference for artists. Non-commercial use only, not for resale.
  • Presentation or newsletters – $19.99. Use in a presentation/talk or in a newsletter.
  • Website – $49.99. Websites, apps, social media, and blogs. Worldwide for 5 years.
  • Magazines and books – $69.99. Magazine or book, inside use, 2,500 circulations, worldwide for 5 years
  • Marketing package: Small business – $59.99. Marketing materials, worldwide for 5 years. For businesses of up to 10 employees.
  • Marketing package: Large business – $199.99. Marketing materials, worldwide for 5 years. For businesses of more than 10 employees.
Alamy Popular Image Licenses
Alamy Popular image licenses

Royalty-Free image licenses

Royalty-free image licenses are flexible and user-friendly. All you need to do is select the resolution you need, and pay a one-off fee that allows you to use the selected image in any way you want, for an unlimited amount of time.

You can use them across multiple projects without having to buy extra licenses. It’s also a perfect choice if you don’t know how long your project is going to last, and therefore how long the images will be in use.

These images and illustrations are available in multiple sizes, ranging from XSmall to XXLarge.

Alamy Royalty-free image licenses
Alamy Royalty-free image licenses

Custom licenses

Alamy offers a bespoke license, completely tailored to your needs. No matter if you’re a smaller business owner, who’s looking for a few stock images a year, or a well-established company, Alamy is happy to help you.

Downloads packs

With Download packs, you get instant access to images. This is a pre-paid and download on-demand purchase option, ideal if you know you’ll need more than 10 images per year, as it can save you up to 30%.

There are a few rules:

  • Use is restricted to the license you’ve bought
  • Downloads are available for 12 months after purchase
  • Your unused downloads are not rolled-over
  • The download pack is never auto-renewed

The majority of its collection is available for download, but there are some restrictions. Some images can’t be sold in certain countries or for certain uses; however, Alamy will always let you know which licenses are available in advance.

Alamy Image packs
Alamy Image Packs

Payment options

Alamy accepts all major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, American Express), PayPal, and Google Pay, so you won’t have any problems finding the right payment option for yourself. All payments are safe and quickly processed; thus, giving you chance to instantly start using the purchased images.

Below is a screenshot of Alamy payment dialogue.

Alamy review - Payment
Alamy’s Payment form

Image search tools

Alamy has a fantastic image search tool, that was so effective that Alamy even applied it for a patent. It is very easy to use and the implementation of various parameters makes finding the perfect image a simple task.

Search tools

With the selection of proper search filters, you can narrow down your search and find exactly the image you’re looking for. You can search by:

  • People – search by the number of people in an image or the age of the people, or even by their ethnicity
  • Location – USA, UK, Australia, and Europe
  • Image – select the orientation you want, pick the style or enter the minimum file size
  • Viewpoint – pick the angle that suits your needs, you can choose between front, side, rear, profile
  • Date taken – find images taken within specific time frames or search the most recently added content

Advanced search filter

Alamy’s Advanced search filter is a great tool if you want to search for a particular collection or photographer or do a more detailed search. You can search by contributor name, or terms such as “all words”, phrases, “at least one of the words”, or “without the words”.

Alamy review - Advanced search
Alamy’s Advanced search toolbox

Related reading: Alamy Search Tools on Alamy Blog


Lightboxes let you store images that you find and like when you’re searching, saving them for later, should you decide to purchase them.

To create a Lightbox, make sure you’re registered first. You can do this easily and quickly by clicking the “Sign Up” button, and popping in your details.

Once you’re logged in to your account, go to the homepage and select “My Alamy” in the top right corner and click “Lightbox” from the drop-down menu. Select “Add a Lightbox”, give it a name, and description (optional). Click “Save” and you’re all set to start adding images to your Lightbox.

Alamy review - Add Lightbox
Alamy’s dialogue to create a Lightbox

To start adding content into your Lightbox, go to the homepage, and enter your search term in the search bar. There are 2 ways to add images from the search results page.

Option 1. When you find an image that you like, hover the mouse over it and a set of 4 icons will very conveniently pop up. Click on the left-most icon.

Alamy review - Lightbox
Save to Lightbox, Option #1

Once you click the icon, a box will appear at the bottom of the screen, where you can select which Lightbox you want to add an image to.

Alamy promises that an icon changes once the image is added to a Lightbox to let you know that the task has been completed; however, no matter how many times I tried I couldn’t make it work. Although the image was saved to my Lightbox, the icon didn’t change. This is not a huge issue since you get a confirmation when your image is saved to your Lightbox. It is probably only a temporary bug.

Option 2. When you find an image that you like, you can click on it and you will land on the image page. Next, you can click on the “Add to Lightbox” option under the image.

Alamy review - Lightbox Save
Save to Lightbox, Option #2

Once again I couldn’t make the icon change work. Although not a deal-breaker, it would be nice to have. You can also learn more about Lightboxes in Alamy vlog:

Alamy’s representation of Lightboxes (Source: YouTube)

FAQ | Alamy review

Is Alamy safe?

Alamy is a safe and reputable company. I’ve worked with them for years without any problems. You might find some poor reviews on sites such as TrustPilot, but every brand or service has negative reviews, due to the customers not reading the terms and conditions carefully.

How much does Alamy cost?

Alamy’s photos are available on-demand only, with the prices starting as low as $6.96 per download. The price depends on the License and Image resolution.

Is Alamy stock photo exclusive?

Alamy is a non-exclusive agency, meaning that you can sell images on their website as well as on other non-exclusive sites. Make sure you take advantage of that to get the most out of your work.

Is Alamy royalty-free?

Alamy also offers a Royalty-Free license, which means that you pay a one-off fee to use the image with no restrictions on how you use it, or for how long you use it. Royalty-free images can also be used across multiple projects, forever.

Can I use Alamy photos?

You can use Alamy photos, but only if either of these three conditions is met:
1. If it has a creative commons license that allows it to be shared for free you will still need to insert a credit line that details the contributing party’s information. For example © Contributor’s name / Alamy Stock Photo
2. You can share an image within Alamy. On the image page, you’ll find our ‘share’ button to the right-hand side, and from here you can select which social media channel you’d like to share the image on. The image will be shared equipped with watermark, credit line, and link back to the image page.
3. If you don’t want to share a watermarked image or assign a credit line to the image, your best option is to buy the image under a license that enables the use of the image online.

Conclusion | Alamy review

Alamy stock photo is a great macro-stock website with a long tradition and a well-established reputation. With 21 years of experience, they managed to build an impressive library of stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and 360-images, available at a decent price. The quality of their content is excellent, but what stands out, even more, is the variety.

A downside to Alamy is that there are no subscription-based models, which are often more affordable. You can circumvent this by using Alamy’s download packs.

4 thoughts on “Alamy Review”

  1. Hi Robbert,
    these ratings are often low, because the majority of people who posts reviews on these websites are the dissatisfied customers.
    Satisfied customers rarely leave a review.
    If you don’t trust a website with your credit card, I recommend you use PayPal.

  2. I wonder why are the customer ratings so bad for most vector selling websites including alamy, ratings for shutterstock, vectorstock, 123rf, dreamstime, bigstock and alamy ate between 1 and 2,7 out of 5. I wont give them my creditcard number but they do have great images so I wonder what you think about this.

  3. Hi Peter, thank you for pointing out this blunder/typo. I updated the post according to your suggestion.

  4. Alamy is not a microstock agency. It’s actually about the worse insult you could possibly give Alamy contributors. They are technically macrostock. Most contributors to Alamy find the microstock model the reason for dwindling prices.

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