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Alamy Review 2022

Matic BrozUpdated May 17, 2022

Our Verdict

Alamy isn’t the best stock photo website. It offers 270 million images with a comprehensive royalty-free license that allows unlimited reproduction, but the images are expensive because there are no subscription plans or a free trial.


  • Decent and kind support team.
  • A huge content library.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • No registration is needed.
  • A no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • No subscriptions.
  • Questionable photo acquisition policy.
  • Slow website.

Expensive & complicated


on Alamy’s website


rating 2.5

Photutorial rating

Our ratings take into account a product’s benefits and coverage levels. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Images270 million
Free trialNo
LicensesRoyalty-free, rights-managed

Who is Alamy Best for?

Although Alamy offers high-quality stock photos, its prices and licensing aren’t a good option for most customers. First, it’s considerably more expensive than its competitors, mainly because there are no subscriptions. The ready-made licenses are quite narrow and applicable to only one project, yet still expensive. If you want to use any image for multiple projects, you need to get a royalty-free license that costs up to $675.


Best Overall


on Shutterstock’s website


rating 5-0

Photutorial rating

Our ratings take into account a product’s benefits and coverage levels. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Extended license$67.96
Free trialYes (10 images)
ReviewShutterstock review

Best for Graphic Designers


on Adobe Stock’s website


rating 5-0

Photutorial rating

Our ratings take into account a product’s benefits and coverage levels. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Extended license$79.99
Free trialYes (10, 25, or 40 images)
ReviewAdobe Stock review

Best for Commercial Use


on iStock’s website


rating 4.5

Photutorial rating

Our ratings take into account a product’s benefits and coverage levels. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Extended license$144–$216
Free trialYes (10 images)
ReviewiStock review

About Alamy

Alamy is one of the oldest stock photo agencies, and over the years, it has built an impressive collection of royalty-free stock images.

But Alamy has been criticized for unfair image acquisitions; allegedly, it sells images that are free for everyone.

Regardless of allegations, Alamy’s images are very high-quality and the variety of images covers most users’ needs, but those looking for affordable stock images will find better options elsewhere.

» MORE: Cheapest stock photo sites

Pricing & Licensing

Alamy sells images on-demand only, meaning you buy each image individually. You can also buy image packs to save some money, but it’s still more expensive than competing stock photo sites that offer subscriptions.

Alamy licenses images in two ways: based on the use (cheaper) and based on the image (more expensive). If you license an image for a specific use, that image cannot be repurposed elsewhere because you would need to buy a new license. However, royalty-free licenses based on images are more expensive, but you may use that image in multiple projects.

Usage-based licensing

You can buy each license separately, which is the more expensive option:

LicensePriceUse in
Personal use$19.99Personal prints, cards, gifts (non-commercial use only).
Presentation or newsletters$19.99Presentations, talks, newsletters.
Website$49.99A single website, social media, blog, app.
Magazines and books$69.99A single magazine or book, inside use, 2,500 worldwide reprints.
Marketing package$199.99A single marketing campaign worldwide (not for advertising).

Or save with image packs:

Use case5 pack10 pack25 pack
Personal use$16.80/image
Presentation or newsletters$16.80/image
Marketing package$169.80/image

In addition to standard images, Alamy also licenses 360 images (=panoramas):

LicensePriceUse in
Website or social media site$399.99A single website or blog for 3 months or social media for 3 months.
VR or game apps$479.99A single mobile game app, corporate promotional, commercial VR.
Digital publishing$524.99A single educational or retail publishing product for 10 years.
TV program$599.99A single TV program and all media, forever.
Marketing package$639.99A single marketing campaign (worldwide, not advertising).

Image-based licensing

Instead of buying images for a single project, you can use them in multiple projects when you buy real royalty-free image licenses. The price depends on their size.

Image SizePrice
360 Images$675.00

Custom licenses

Alamy offers bespoke licenses, 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.

Rights-managed license

Compared to a royalty-free license, a rights-managed license lets you use an image only for a certain project, within a certain time frame, and only in a certain area. Alamy has a very handy tool to select these parameters, which also govern the price. The rights-managed license can cost from a few hundred dollars to $16k+, like in the example below.

Rights-managed example on Alamy

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, giving you the chance to instantly start using the purchased images.

Below is a screenshot of the 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, 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, or profile.
  • Date: find images taken within specific time frames or search for 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 to 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 the Alamy vlog:

Alamy’s representation of Lightboxes (Source: YouTube)

Is Alamy right for you?

Alamy’s licensing is meant to be simplified, but it instead adds another level of complexity, because you also need to decide which license to buy. In addition, because Alamy doesn’t license stock images with subscriptions, it’s considerably more expensive than its alternatives, such as Adobe Stock or iStock. As a result, Alamy is not the best choice for smaller businesses and individuals on a limited budget, while large companies with more budget will benefit from better premium alternatives, such as GettyImages.

Frequently Asked Questions

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’s 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 on 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 a 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.


Photutorial reviewed Alamy based on 14 data points in the categories of image quality and variety, pricing, licensing, image number, customer support, and additional features. Photutorial rated Alamy based on the weighting assigned to each category.

  • Image quality & variety: 20%
  • Pricing: 20%
  • Licensing: 20%
  • Image number: 15%
  • Additional features: 15%
  • Customer support: 10%

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 Alamy’s customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.

Information provided on Photutorial is for educational purposes only. Your situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, nor do we recommend or advise individuals to buy or sell particular stocks or services. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Photutorial adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners.

About the author

Matic Broz profile image

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 and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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