The best stock image free trials to start right now 2023

Get over 100 free stock images with these free trials

By Matic Broz, the editor-in-chief with 10+ years of experience with design, stock media and licensing, and photography.

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Stock image free trials

Having affordable photos is more important than ever, and free trial stock photos are the perfect source for that. We have reviewed dozens of stock photo sites, and here we list all the free trials we’ve found.

Stock image free trials are opportunities provided by stock image platforms to explore their collections of photos and graphics without initial cost. In simple terms, they allow you to test the waters, downloading a limited number of images before committing to a paid plan.

If you want quick access to the three best stock image free trials of 2023, simply pick from Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Envato Elements—in our expert reviews, we rated them as the very best in their respective offerings. However, if you want more in-depth info, keep scrolling for our rundown of the 10 top stock image free trials available today and details of how we assess stock image platforms at the bottom of the page.

The best stock photo free trials

  1. Adobe Stock
  2. Shutterstock
  3. Envato Elements
  4. iStock
  5. 123RF
  6. Depositphotos
  7. Canva
  8. Bigstock

Why you can trust Photutorial? Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

1. Adobe Stock free trial

10, 25, or 40 standard assets or 3–6 HD videos

Adobe Stock free trial interface
Adobe Stock
pros & cons
  • The most generous free trial
  • Download images, videos, templates, audio, vectors
  • None
more details

You get: 10, 25, or 40 standard assets or 3–6 HD videos | Duration: 30 days | You save: $29.99–$79.99 | License: Standard Adobe License | Selection: 326 million images & 26 million videos

The Adobe Stock free trial is the best stock asset free trial you can get right now.

Compared to other stock sites that only offer free trials of their basic plans, Adobe Stock lets you test drive their larger subscriptions too. You can get 10, 25, or even 40 free assets in your first month. Anything you download during the trial is licensed just as if you paid. That means full commercial rights under Adobe’s Standard License, unlimited web use, 500K print copies, and $10K indemnity.

And it’s not just photos. You also get free HD video clips, illustrations, vectors, audio files, and templates to try. Keep in mind the trial auto-renews after 30 days, so cancel ahead of time if you don’t want to be charged. But if you forget, Adobe is good about refunds if you ask.

Read our Adobe Stock trial guide.

Start Adobe Stock free trial

2. Shutterstock

Shutterstock free trial interface
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
  • Number of free images: 10
  • Duration: 30 days
  • You save: $29.00

Shutterstock’s free trial has faced considerable criticism in the past, primarily due to its cancelation policy. Before early 2022, the free trial required cancellation 96 hours (four days) prior to expiration to avoid being charged for a full month. Responding to widespread disapproval, including ours, Shutterstock reduced this deadline to 48 hours.

Fortunately, in April 2022, Shutterstock removed the cancelation period entirely. Now, users can cancel their free trial even in the last hour – although we don’t recommend waiting until the last moment.

With these improvements, Shutterstock’s free trial is now completely safe to use, and we encourage you to take advantage of it. The free trial comes with the annual subscription of 10 downloads per month for $29. You can download images at any time during the 30-day period.

Images downloaded during the free trial are covered by Shutterstock’s Standard License, which grants unlimited online impression rights, up to 500,000 copies or prints, and indemnity protection up to $10,000.

» More: How to get Shutterstock free trial

Start Shutterstock free trial

3. Envato Elements

Envato Elements free files interface
  • You get: 12 free files per month
  • Duration: Forever
  • You save: $16.50/month

Every month, Envato Elements surprises its users by releasing 12 free files available for download when you create a free account. These random files typically include one or two from each category, ensuring a diverse collection of images, videos, fonts, templates, and other assets. You’re free to use all files for both commercial and personal projects.

Your free account won’t expire, but consider upgrading if you’re interested in unlimited downloads of all creative assets without waiting for Envato’s monthly selection. With a subscription fee of just $16.50/month, it’s an affordable option for everyone. Plus, students can enjoy additional discounts, making it an even more attractive choice.

» More: How to get Envato Elements free

Get 12 Envato Elements free files

4. iStock

iStock free trial interface
(Image credit: iStock)
  • Number of free images: 10
  • Duration: 30 days
  • You save: $29.00
  • Notes: available only in certain countries

On January 26, 2022, iStock launched its free trial, although availability is limited to a select group of countries that regularly change. To verify your eligibility for the trial, simply visit iStock’s pricing page.

The free trial offers one month of access to the Essentials collection with 10 monthly downloads for $29.99/month. Each image you download comes with a royalty-free license, permitting its use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. The best part is, even if you decide to cancel the trial, you can continue using all the images you’ve downloaded.

Start iStock free trial

» More: How to get iStock free trial?


7 days of unlimited downloads

pros & cons
  • Unlimited downloads
  • Access to a partial selection of 100M photos
  • Limited PLUS license
more details

You get: Unlimited downloads | Duration: 7 days | Cost after: $19/mo or $99/yr | License: PLUS | Selection: 100M images

The 123RF free trial lasts for 7 days, and it’s totally free during that time. If you don’t cancel before the trial ends, you’ll be charged either $19 each month or $99 for the year. The cool thing is, during the trial, you can download as many images as you want (up to 100 each day). However, there are a few things to keep in mind. This free trial is tied to their PLUS plan, which has fewer images available (100 million rather than the whole 210 million).

Also, some other trials give you a whole month, but this one’s just a week. To sign up, head to the 123RF website and look for the ‘Start free trial’ button under the PLUS plan. And if you decide it’s not for you, make sure to cancel before the 7 days are up! If you forget, there’s a 3-day grace period to get a refund if you haven’t downloaded anything. If you’ve started downloading, your refund will be a bit less. Always read the fine print and when in doubt, ask their customer service.

Bonus Tip: If you’re on the hunt for entirely free images on 123RF, they’ve got a selection you can access. Once you find an image labeled ‘FREE’, you can download it without any charge. Remember, though, you’ll need to be logged into your 123RF account, and you’ll need to give credit to the creator of the image when you use it. Think of it as a thank-you note for their awesome work!

5. Depositphotos

Depositphotos free trial interface
  • Number of free images: 10
  • Duration: 7 days
  • You save: $24.92–$36.00

While Depositphotos’ free trial is shorter than most of its competitors at 7 days, compared to the usual 30 days, it still offers 10 free stock photos or vectors. What sets it apart is that the free trial is available not only with annual subscriptions but also with monthly plans, which is rather uncommon.

Images downloaded during the trial period are covered by Depositphotos’ Standard License, providing similar rights to those of Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. However, indemnity is limited to $5,000, which is a significant trustworthiness signal according to our research. Nonetheless, the free trial is a valuable opportunity to explore Depositphotos’ offerings.

Start Depositphotos free trial

6. Canva

Canva Pro free trial interface
  • Number of free images: unlimited
  • Duration: 30 days
  • You save: $9.99–$12.99

Canva Pro is a membership service that provides access to the popular Canva image editor, along with a host of premium features. These include a Business Brand Kit manager, Migration Assistance Tool, thousands of design templates, and free photos from a multitude of sources worldwide. With this subscription, you can access unlimited downloads, which is just one of the many benefits of being a Canva Pro member. After your trial ends, the service costs just $9.95/month.

The 30-day free trial grants you access to over 100 million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics. Additionally, you can enjoy 610,000+ premium templates, 100GB of cloud storage, and a variety of tools for image editing and branding. Experience the full potential of Canva Pro with this incredible free trial.

Start Canva Pro free trial

7. Bigstock

Bigstock free trial interface
  • Number of free images: 35 images or videos
  • Duration: 7 days
  • You save: $29.00

While Bigstock may not be our top choice, it’s among the most affordable stock photo sites and offers several free trials. Each trial corresponds to a subscription plan that you can enjoy for a week without charge. With three stock image plans and two stock footage plans offering free trials, you have ample options to explore.

Since these plans provide a specific number of daily downloads, you could potentially acquire up to 70 videos or 70 images during the free trial. However, the trial is capped at 35 images or videos. Despite this limitation, Bigstock’s free week is more generous than some other stock photo trials. It’s important to note that the overall quality might be lower compared to alternative options, but it’s still a valuable opportunity to explore what Bigstock has to offer.

Summary: Best Stock Image Free Trials

Stock photo siteNumber of free imagesDurationWorth
Adobe Stock10, 25, or 4030 days$29.99–$79.99
Shutterstock1030 days$29.00
Envato Elements12Every 30 days
iStock1030 days$29.00
Depositphotos107 days$24.92–$36.00
CanvaUnlimited30 days$9.99–$12.99
Bigstock357 days$18.55

How to choose the stock photo free trials for you

While the above list can tell which stock images free trial is the best based on empirical data, it might not be right for you because of the image selection, licensing terms, you already used it, or you don’t trust the stock photo site.

We have extensive shopping advice, like our stock photo buying guide and determining if the royalty-free license is right for you. And if you’re confused by the lingo, check out Stock photo basics and definitions.

Need a quick tutorial on stock photo free trials? Here’s a short primer.

Duration: This refers to how long you can access the free trial. Some stock photo sites might offer a day, while others could give you a week or even a month of free access. Determine how long you’ll need to explore the platform, download photos, and decide if it fits your needs. Remember, a longer duration doesn’t always mean better – it’s about how you utilize that time effectively.

Selection available: Just because it’s a free trial doesn’t mean you’ll have access to the entire library of images. Some stock photo sites may restrict certain premium images or collections. Before starting your free trial, check what’s included in the selection. Do they offer the type of images you’re specifically looking for? Is there a limit to how many images you can download during the trial?

Cancelation terms & refunds: It’s essential to know how easy it is to cancel the free trial and whether or not there are any fees involved. Some platforms might automatically roll you into a paid subscription once the trial ends, while others may offer a grace period. Always mark the end date on your calendar to avoid any surprise charges, and read the fine print to see if any early termination fees apply if you decide to opt-out before the trial ends.

Licensing terms: Licensing can be complex when it comes to stock photos. Even during a free trial, the images you download will come with licensing terms that dictate how you can use them. Some common licenses include royalty-free, editorial use only, or rights-managed. Make sure you understand these licenses and choose a platform that aligns with your intended use for the images. For instance, if you’re using photos for commercial purposes, an editorial license won’t be suitable.

Trust & Reputation: Just as you’d want to trust a TV brand, it’s essential to rely on a stock photo site. Look for reviews or testimonials, see who else uses them, and consider any known industry recommendations. A reputable site is less likely to have hidden fees or tricky terms.

Cost after Trial: If you’re considering moving to a paid plan after the trial, compare the pricing structures of different platforms. Some might offer unlimited downloads, while others may charge per photo or provide package deals. Determine what’s most cost-effective for your usage patterns.

How We Picked

For this guide, we spent more than 3 years monitoring all stock photos free trials. During this time, we tested, tried, and reviewed over 30 stock photo sites, which included testing their free trial to find out whether they work as promised and whether there are any hidden tricks.

When selecting and ranking stock image free trials, we looked at the number of images you get, how much it saves you, the quality of images (or other assets) you get, and the duration of the trial. We also sifted through thousands of consumer reviews to find out what other customers thought, too–and, as always, we took into consideration feedback from you, our readers.

Lastly, we checked how broad the licensing terms of the content you download with the free trial are. For example, some stock agencies give you only watermarked previews, which you may not use, while others give you excellent, royalty-free images.

We’re constantly keeping our eye on what’s out there and updating this guide accordingly. Case in point: We updated this guide three times this year, when iStock and Depositphotos introduced their own free trial and when Shutterstock changed the terms of its trial (for the better).

If you’re ready to get free stock images, check out our ultimate guide to finding the best stock image free trial for you or your design needs.

What about other stock agencies?

According to our latest research, only the 7 stock photo sites mentioned above offer a free trial that’s worth your time.

Does Getty Images have a free trial?

No, Getty Images does not offer a free trial. It is a premium stock photo agency where each image costs between $50 and $499. So a free trial of 10 or even 1 image is not possible. Also, Getty Images is aimed at clients with high budgets who do not need free trials.

If you’re an enterprise-level customer, you might be able to bargain a free demo of Getty Images’ API or enterprise platform. Yet, you might not be able to get in touch, as their customer support is notorious for being one of the worst.

Does Alamy have a free trial?

No, Alamy doesn’t have a free trial. The cheapest way to get stock photos at Alamy is with image packs, costing $13.96–$169.80/image, or vectors for $9.99.

Does Dreamstime have a free trial?

Officially yes, but actually no. To clarify: Dreamstime advertises its 7-day free trial, during which you can download 15 watermarked images to test your designs. But because of the watermark, you are only allowed to use these images for testing purposes. Besides, the free trial version is not available at the moment.

We did not include Dreamstime’s “free trial” in our list because it is not a real free trial but just bait to entice customers to subscribe. With almost all other stock photo agencies, you can download the images for testing purposes, and you do not even have to create an account, let alone start a free trial.

What is a Stock Image Free Trial?

A stock image free trial is a period, usually 7 or 30 days long, offered by some stock photo agencies that allows you to download a certain number (usually 10) of stock images, videos, or audio files for free. Unless otherwise specified, you can continue to use the downloaded files after the free trial period expires.

When you sign up for a free trial offer, you should read the terms and conditions thoroughly, because some trials contain tricks. For example, with the Shutterstock free trial, you must cancel two days before the trial expires or you’ll be charged for the entire next month.

How Do You Get a Stock Photo Free Trial?

Free trials for stock images are usually only available in conjunction with an annual subscription. To get a trial subscription, check the pricing page of a stock photo website for subscription plans.

Once you find a free trial subscription, proceed to checkout where you’ll be asked to enter your payment information, but you won’t be charged. You’ll need to provide your payment information, so you’ll be charged when the free trial expires if you don’t cancel it.

Why not Dreamstime?

Dreamstime offers a few subscription plans, one of which includes a free trial (15 monthly downloads). However, Dreamtime’s free trial isn’t very good as you can only download watermarked images. To explain, most stock photo sites give you the option to download watermarked images anyway, so the free trial is quite pointless.

  1. Go to Dreamstime.
  2. Click “Prices and download plans” in the top right.
  3. Pick the 15 monthly downloads subscription plan.
  4. Click the “Buy” button.
  5. Sign in to your Dreamstime account (or create one).
  6. Enter your payment information (you won’t be charged).
  7. Click “Continue“.
  8. Confirm the free trial order.

Best Stock Image Free Trials FAQ

Are there any free stock photos?

You can find free images on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. But you can also get high-quality, royalty-free images from paid stock photo sites by signing up for a free trial. During the 30-day trial period, you can download up to 40 images and then cancel.

Where can I get high-quality stock photos for free?

You can get high-quality stock photos for free by using the free trials of paid stock photo sites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Canva. Here, you can download royalty-free photos for free for the first 30 days of an annual subscription. If you cancel before your subscription expires, you don’t have to pay anything.

How to cancel the Adobe Stock free trial?

Canceling Adobe Stock free trial is fairly simple. Sign in to your account, and under Plans and payment, click on the Manage plan button, and choose to Cancel plan. Adobe will ask you to give them a reason for the cancellation, but you may skip it.
The best part is that you don’t have to be afraid of missing the deadline because you’re allowed to cancel at the last minute. For example, Shutterstock requires you to cancel 4 days in advance, which catches many customers off guard.

How to cancel Shutterstock free trial?

To cancel the Shutterstock free trial, go to the Plans page in your account and press the Cancel plan early button. Canceling the trial at least four days before it expires is completely free. Within the four-day period before the subscription starts, you can no longer cancel the trial.

How to cancel Dreamstime free trial?

Log into your account and go to the Payment Management page. From there, select the subscription plan you wish to cancel and click on the Cancel Subscription button.

Is there a free trial for iStock?

iStock doesn’t currently have a free trial. In 2022, from January to April, iStock ran a free trial for a handful of countries, but it’s no longer available. However, by creating an iStock account, you can get one free photo every week.

How do I get Getty Images free trial?

GettyImages doesn’t have a free trial. Although there are illegal ways to acquire unwatermarked images, I strongly advise you against it. Their team patrols the internet looking for misuse of their images, for which you may pay high fees.

How to get CanStockPhoto free trial?

CanStockPhoto is a little-known stock photo site that doesn’t offer a free trial with any of its plans.


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