The best Envato Elements alternatives

This is a crowded market; you've got many to choose from

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.

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The best Envato Elements alternatives

Envato Elements is one of the top stock photo sites I have ever tested, but it’s not a good fit for everyone. Although some creative fans might disagree, there are quite a few Envato Elements alternatives available for creative assets. Based on my experience and after talking with fellow creators, here are the main points for and against Envato Elements.

Why I like Envato Elements:

  • Unlimited downloads for a low monthly fee, starting at $11.50 with Photutorial discount
  • One simple royalty-free license
  • Diverse assets from photos, videos, and audio to templates, fonts, and plugins
  • Frequent flash sales help you snag a good deal

Why I don’t like Envato Elements:

  • You need to license per project, meaning you cannot repurpose the same asset after you cancel your subscription
  • Very small indemnity, which can be a turn-off for some clients
  • A relatively small collection of photos
  • The license doesn’t allow merchandise

If you don’t like Envato Elements for any of the reasons I listed above, or you have your own holdback against Envato, here’s a quick rundown of just some of the better-known possibilities.

1. Shutterstock

Best for images

Shutterstock interface

A giant in the stock imagery realm, Shutterstock reigns as a top pick for diverse and high-quality content. Diving into its offerings, you’ll find six unique subscription tiers alongside the option of image packs tailored for volume-based savings. The charm doesn’t stop at pictures; their library also boasts editorial content and invites newcomers with a free trial.

Why is Shutterstock better: Shutterstock houses an astounding 434 million photos, vectors, and illustrations, overshadowing Envato Elements’ collection, which sits at 8.1 million. This breadth ensures a lavish variety for any project. Going beyond the content, Shutterstock flexes with integrations for WordPress and Creative Cloud, a robust API, and a user-friendly image editor that echoes Canva’s functionality. It’s generous too, offering one of the industry’s leading indemnities ($10,000/$250,000) and a tempting 30-day free trial.

Why is Shutterstock worse: Budget-conscious folks might wince at Shutterstock’s price tags. The cost of a royalty-free image can climb up to $14.50, roughly equivalent to Envato Elements’ entire subscription rate. Moreover, while Shutterstock excels in imagery, it doesn’t quite match the extensive content variety, like templates, plugins, themes, and fonts, found in some competitors.

2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock interface
Adobe Stock

If you’ve ventured into the world of stock content, you’d undoubtedly stumble upon Adobe Stock, arguably a formidable rival to Envato Elements. Though they target similar audiences, Adobe Stock exudes a more polished vibe, boasts a broader range, and, yes, demands a steeper price. Dive into their repository, and you’re met with a plethora of images, videos, templates, 3D graphics, and even fonts—thanks to their inclusion of Adobe Fonts.

Why is Adobe Stock better: Adobe Stock isn’t just another name in the stock content game; it’s a legacy. The seamless integration with Creative Cloud puts it in a league of its own. Whether you’re whipping up designs in Photoshop, drafting vectors in Illustrator, or crafting montages in Premiere Pro, Adobe Stock is right there, nestled within your app, waiting to serve. For many creators, myself included, this integration is a blessing, keeping our creative process undisturbed. Add to that its expansive collection—far surpassing that of Envato—the availability of premium content, a generous 30-day free trial, and its flexibility for merchandising, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Why is Adobe Stock worse: Quality often comes at a price, and with Adobe Stock, that price tag can be a tad hefty. While it doesn’t reach the exorbitant rates of Getty Images, it certainly isn’t a bargain either. Moreover, newcomers might find themselves scratching their heads at the licensing labyrinth, comprising the Standard, Enhanced, and Extended tiers. But worry not; for those eager to decode this, here’s a handy guide to Adobe Stock’s licensing nuances.

3. Artlist

Artlist interface

Artlist is known among video editors, particularly YouTubers, thanks to the simple license that allows use across all streaming platforms. Various unlimited downloads subscriptions grant you access to certain types of content, i.e., just videos or music, or you can spring out more for the Bundles plan and get everything. Higher-tier plans also grant you additional tools like a video editor and access to 8K footage.

Why is Artlist better: Two things set Artlist apart from Envato Elements in a good way. One, the video quality is higher and goes up to 8K in resolution (4K at Envato). One might argue that all other assets are also more professional. Two, licensing works across all streaming platforms. In comparison, Envato Elements’ content often gets flagged on YouTube, burdening you with having to request a manual review. Artlist also offers Adobe integrations and has its own video editor.

Why is Artlist worse: But, like any platform, Artlist isn’t without its blemishes. It offers no indemnity. Moreover, some users may find the inability to secure rights to individual tracks or the occasional genre misclassification irksome. And, when placed in the ring against behemoths like Envato Elements, it falls short in terms of sheer volume and is much more expensive.

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4. iStock

Best for versatility

iStock interface

Owned by Getty Images, iStock grants access to a hearty collection of photos, vectors, videos, audio, and 3D assets. While pricier than Envato, iStock tempts with frequent deals, making premium content surprisingly affordable. Their licensing is flexible too, with options for web, print, advertising, broadcast, and even merchandising uses. For those who prefer á la carte content, pay-as-you-go credits start at just $1.

Why is iStock better: The standout advantage of iStock is its versatility. You’ll find assets tailored for social media, web design, advertising, merchandising, and more. The licensing choices are equally varied, with options to suit editorials, commercial projects, broadcast content, and even merchandise designs. Moreover, iStock boasts 165 million royalty-free assets, surpassing Envato Elements. This extensive library ensures you’ll always find fresh content that suits your needs.

Why is iStock worse: While flexible, iStock’s licensing can seem labyrinthine to newcomers. The credit system may also feel restrictive, especially for bulk buyers. And despite housing premium content, even iStock can’t rival the prestige of other Getty Images brands like Thinkstock. For some, the Envato Elements model of unlimited downloads may still prove more budget-friendly than iStock’s credits.

5. Storyblocks

Storyblocks interface

Touted as the “go-to” for stock video and audio, Storyblocks grants unlimited access to 890,000 video clips, 302,000 stock music tracks, over 1 million photo assets, and even templates like After Effects projects and PowerPoint presentations. For creatives focused on dynamic media, this all-you-can-eat buffet is a steal starting at just $99 a year.

Why is Storyblocks better: Storyblocks shines for creators crafting videos, podcasts, or presentations. The licensing is streamlined and allows use across all platforms, including YouTube and Facebook. Moreover, with over 2 million assets in its vault, Storyblocks rivals the volume of Envato Elements while being far more affordable. Support for third-party apps like Premiere Pro and integration with popular CMS platforms like WordPress and Squarespace add to the appeal.

Why is Storyblocks worse: Storyblocks falters outside of audio and video content. While photos and templates are available, the selection pales in comparison to true creative asset marketplaces like Envato Elements and Adobe Stock. Similarly, you won’t find too many unique offerings like 3D models, digital products, or plugins. So for designers seeking diverse graphic assets, Storyblocks can feel limiting.


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