The best stock footage subscriptions

You cannot go wrong with Envato Elements, Artlist, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Pond5. And here are the best deals.
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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Best stock footage subscriptions

It’s a challenge to find a stock footage subscription that doesn’t disappoint these days. With so many options out there, you’d think it’s a piece of cake to pick one. Yet, the scene had shifted since the early days when prices were straightforward, and you got what you paid for. Now, it feels a bit muddled. Some providers, for instance, might ask for more than $100 each month and only let you access around 20,000 clips. It’s essential to be cautious and informed before making a choice.

After several years of experimenting with different providers, I narrowed down the selection to the 7 best stock footage subscriptions.

Top 7 best stock video subscriptions:

  1. Envato Elements: Best overall
  2. Artlist: Best quality
  3. Videvo: Budget pick
  4. Adobe Stock: Best for Adobe users (and professionals)
  5. Pond5: Best for enterprises
  6. Shutterstock: Solid all-rounder
  7. Storyblocks: Good alternative

To elaborate on the picks above: The first three are unlimited stock footage subscriptions, meaning you can download unlimited videos and other assets for a fixed monthly fee. Envato Elements is the best choice for most users. While its quality is comparable to others, it has lots more videos (4.2 million) and is affordably priced ($16.50/month). If you value superb quality, you should get Artlist ($20–$50/month), which offers up to 8K resolution but only 180,000 videos. You should go for ($12–$20/month) if you’re on the budget, though you’ll sacrifice quality and variety.

The other four picks in this list are slightly more expensive, but you get better quality, better functionality, better licensing, and, finally, a much larger selection. Adobe Stock is the industry standard, coming integrated with the number one app for video editing, Premiere Pro, and 26 million professional videos. Pond5 is the stock video site everyone first turns to, though it’s quite expensive, with prices reaching $2,000 per video. However, the outstanding $1M indemnity with the extended license is ideal for large corporations. Shutterstock is amazing if you need images, videos, and audio under one subscription plan. My last pick, Storyblocks, resembles Envato Elements and Artlist but has been in a downward spiral in the last few years. Although it’s still a good stock footage subscription, it wouldn’t be my go-to choice anymore.

What I’m looking for


The effectiveness of a stock footage subscription largely hinges on the diversity of its content. The best platforms provide clips that span various genres, cultures, and settings. Whether it’s a dynamic urban landscape or a serene countryside vista, the right service will have it all. A project’s requirements can be vastly unique, so it’s essential to have a wide-ranging library to find that perfect fit for your content.


In the realm of video, quality matters immensely. While some might prioritize quantity to maximize their options, the footage should retain a professional and high-resolution appearance. Look for stock footage platforms that offer 4K or even 8K resolution videos. This ensures that even after editing, cropping, or integrating effects, your footage remains detailed and high-quality.


While quality is paramount, affordability cannot be overlooked. The ideal stock footage platform offers both high-quality clips and competitive pricing. Some subscriptions might provide a monthly or yearly plan, while others might offer package deals based on the number of clips. Try to find a good value for your money without compromising on the footage’s quality.


Licensing can be a tricky terrain in the world of stock footage. The best platforms will offer comprehensive and clear licensing options. Whether you intend to use the footage for personal ventures, commercial projects, or broadcasts, you should always understand the associated terms. Broad licensing facilitates the use of clips across various platforms without the looming threat of copyright issues.


In an ever-changing world, stock footage libraries need to be continually refreshed. A top-notch subscription service will provide frequently update its content library, introducing fresh and modern clips. This not only provides variety but ensures that you have access to contemporary trends and cinematic techniques.

1. Envato Elements

The best overall video subscription

Envato Elements stock footage

Videos: 4.2 million | Price: $16.50–$39.00/month | Free trial: 12 files per month | Max. video quality: 4K | Downloads: Unlimited

Envato Elements is the best stock video subscription for creatives on a budget looking for unlimited downloads of stock assets. With a library of over 13 million creative assets, including photos, videos, audio, fonts, templates, and more, Envato Elements offers exceptional value at just $16.50/month with their annual plan.

A key advantage of Envato Elements is the simple, straightforward licensing. All assets downloaded can be used commercially, and you just need to assign each asset to a specific project. If you want to use it again for another project, you simply re-register that asset. This ensures creators are compensated fairly each time their work is used.

While Envato Elements doesn’t have quite the extensive collection of photos and videos compared to giants like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, the unlimited download model more than makes up for it. For designers, developers, video creators, and DIY-ers, Envato Elements provides an immense toolkit of diverse, quality assets. With such affordable pricing and hassle-free licensing, Envato Elements is a top choice for creatives on a budget needing flexibility and volume when it comes to stock media.

Read my full Envato Elements review.

2. Artlist

The best subscription for quality

Artlist stock footage subscription

Videos: 180,000 | Price: $19.99–$68.00/month | Free trial: No | Max. video quality: 8K | Downloads: Unlimited

When it comes to finding premium, high-resolution stock footage, Artlist stands out as a top choice. A key advantage of Artlist is that they offer stunning 8K stock videos, which is rare to find among stock agencies. With four times the detail of 4K stock video, 8K provides unparalleled image clarity, making it ideal for projects where you need to capture intricate details.

Beyond resolution, Artlist focuses on curating aesthetically pleasing, cinematic-quality footage. Their small collection of 180,000 video clips emphasizes unique, contemporary styles from top videographers around the world. This results in an extensive library with diverse locations, visuals, and production value.

For professionals and projects needing the highest quality stock video, especially in cutting-edge 8K, Artlist delivers. Their competitive subscription pricing, starting at just $29.99/month, makes this premium footage accessible. With unlimited stock video footage downloads and straightforward licensing, Artlist provides exceptional value in a user-friendly package. For stock video connoisseurs wanting both high resolution and artistic quality, Artlist is a leading choice.

Read my full Artlist review.


The best budget footage subscription

Videvo stock footage subscription

Videos: 1.5 million | Price: $4.99–$24.99/month | Free trial: No | Max. video quality: 4K | Downloads: 5 per month or unlimited

For creatives and entrepreneurs on a tight budget, Videvo stands out as the leading stock footage solution. Videvo makes high-quality HD and 4K videos affordable, with the cheapest stock footage subscription starting at just $4.99/month. This makes it easy to access premium stock footage even with limited funds.

While Videvo’s Data not available video clips fall short of premium giants like Adobe Stock, their selective curation provides variety across categories. For those needing only occasional videos, Videvo’s budget plans get the job done.

For beginners and solo creators, Videvo hits the sweet spot between price, quality, and licensing rights. The ability to test the waters with an inexpensive subscription removes barriers to trying stock footage. As needs grow, upgrades to higher plans are available. For both one-time projects and long-term video needs, Videvo brings unlimited stock footage within reach.

Read my full Videvo review.

4. Adobe Stock

The best for Adobe Premiere users

Adobe Stock footage

Videos: 26 million | Price: $29.99–$249.99/month | Free trial: Yes (30 days, 3 to 6 videos) | Max. video quality: 4K | Downloads: 3–25 per month

For video editors using Premiere Pro, Adobe Stock stands out as the top choice for stock video plans. The tight integration between Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud apps like Premiere Pro creates an unbeatable workflow. Premiere Pro users can search Adobe Stock directly within the app, reviewing video clips, audio tracks, and motion graphics before downloading. This allows editors to find the perfect assets without disrupting their creative flow.

Once you identify the ideal stock media, licensing and downloading is a breeze. By accessing Adobe Stock content from within Premiere Pro, media will automatically sync with your Creative Cloud Libraries. This saves the tedious steps of importing media from outside sources.

With a vast collection of over Data not available 4K video clips, 65,000 music tracks, and templates for Premiere Pro, Adobe Stock has everything video creators need. The affordable subscription pricing provides even more value. For Premiere Pro users wanting stock media fully integrated into their workflow, Adobe Stock is the obvious first choice.

Read my full Adobe Stock review.

5. Pond5

The best subscription for enterprises

Pond5 footage

Videos: 10% of the whole collection (Data not available) | Price: $199/month or $999/year | Free trial: No | Max. video quality: 5K+ | Downloads: 10 per month

When it comes to stock video, Pond5 has the largest stock video library, especially for professionals and enterprises needing robust licensing options. Compared to competitors, Pond5 offers premium resolution footage up to 8K paired with the most comprehensive licensing.

For pros and businesses, Pond5 provides crucial extended licenses. Their Business license covers use by up to 5 team members, while the Premium license extends use to unlimited team members. Both licenses also dramatically increase indemnification amounts (up to $1M), providing the legal protection vital for commercial work.

While Pond5’s library of over Data not available is absolutely the largest, you get access to only about 10% of it through subscriptions. The rest is available on-demand only. However, they emphasize curating high-quality cinematic footage; and for enterprises and media companies, quality trumps pricing when finding the perfect clips.

With straightforward pricing models, including pay-as-you-go, subscriptions, and discounted credit packs, Pond5 makes it easy to find the best value. Their pricing remains competitive compared to premium agencies. For video pros needing flexibility plus rock-solid licensing, Pond5 offers an unbeatable stock footage solution.

Read my full Pond5 review.

6. Shutterstock

Solid all-rounder

Shutterstock video

Videos: 29.2 million | Price: $29–$499 per month | Free trial: Yes (not for videos) | Max. video quality: 4K | Downloads: 1–30 per month

Shutterstock stands out as a proven, well-rounded choice, when it comes to finding a reliable all-around stock media provider. With over 434 million images and 29.2 million video clips, Shutterstock offers the largest and most diverse content library in the industry. Their licensing options strike an ideal balance, covering common usage needs at affordable rates.

While niche providers may excel in specific categories like music or 3D models, Shutterstock provides a quality one-stop-shop across visual, audio, and editorial content. Their subscription plans and bulk discounts make building up an asset library affordable compared to paying per item.

For creatives and businesses needing flexibility and volume, Shutterstock checks all the key boxes. Their intuitive search tools and built-in editing applications enhance workflow efficiency. Customer support receives consistently high ratings for knowledge and responsiveness. With so many components working together seamlessly, Shutterstock remains a low-risk option suitable for most stock media needs. Sometimes the simple choice is the best one.

Read my full Shutterstock review.

7. Storyblocks

Good alternative

Storyblocks videos interface

Videos: 1.5 million | Price: $30 or $35 per month | Free trial: No | Max. video quality: 4K | Downloads: Unlimited

Storyblocks is a stock footage subscription service that offers royalty-free videos, audio, images, templates, and effects. With over 1 million videos in its library, Storyblocks caters to beginners and hobbyists looking for an affordable way to enhance their content.

The service offers three subscription tiers: Starter, Unlimited All Access, and Pro. Pricing ranges from $15/month for the Starter plan to $35/month for Pro when billed annually. Key features include unlimited downloads, HD and 4K videos, music, templates, effects, and access to the Maker online video editor. The license allows for unlimited distribution and reuse.

While Storyblocks provides good value for money, its quality and selection fall short of competitors like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Artlist, due to expensive pricing, low-quality content in the Unlimited Collection, and complicated licensing as downsides. Overall, Storyblocks is best for new creators on a budget who need an all-in-one solution to start their YouTube or video editing careers. For pros seeking premium quality, other services may be a better option.

Read my full Storyblocks review.

How our picks compare

Summarizing the above descriptions, here are the key stats of the best stock footage subscriptions compared head-to-head:

SiteVideosCostDownloads per monthMax resolution
Envato Elements4.2 million$16.50–$39.00/monthUnlimited4K
Artlist180,000$19.99–$68.00/monthUnlimited8K (RAW, LOG, ProRes, DNxHR, graded)
Videvo1.5 million$4.99–$24.99/month5 per month or unlimited4K
Adobe Stock26 million$29.99–$249.99/month3–254K
Pond537.6 million$199/month or $999/year105K+
Shutterstock29.2 million$29–$499 per month1–30 per month4K
Storyblocks1.5 million$30 or $35 per monthUnlimited4K

How to get a stock footage subscription?

The process for starting a stock footage subscription, either standard or unlimited, is simple. The steps I provide here are for our top pick, Envato Elements:

  1. Go to Envato Elements.
  2. Click the big red “Get unlimited downloads” button.
  3. Click the “Start now” button.
  4. Create a free account.
  5. Enter your payment information.
  6. Confirm your purchase.

Other services listed in this post follow a similar process, yet the steps from 1 to 3 will differ slightly. Some will also allow you to test the stock footage subscription first. For example, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock offer 30-day free trials.

Standard vs. unlimited stock footage subscriptions

Choosing between standard and unlimited stock footage subscriptions requires thoughtful consideration. Here’s a clear breakdown to assist in your decision.

Firstly, unlimited subscriptions might seem cost-effective, and often, they genuinely are. Despite their attractive price tags, they typically offer a more limited selection. For context, Envato offers around 4.2 million clips and Artlist provides about 180K. In stark contrast, standard subscriptions from industry leaders like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock boast an impressive inventory of close to 30 million each.

However, quantity isn’t the only distinction. Licensing is paramount when choosing a platform. Unlimited subscriptions sometimes offer less comprehensive licensing. A crucial aspect to focus on is indemnity. This legal protection is essential, especially if someone were to challenge your use of a clip on grounds like copyright. A strong indemnity offers greater protection against potential legal claims, safeguarding you from unforeseen liabilities.

On the brighter side, unlimited subscriptions offer added value in terms of additional resources. Apart from footage, these packages often include audio tracks, editing templates, fonts, and other useful tools for content creators.

How much do stock footage subscriptions cost?

In short, stock footage subscriptions cost from $5 to $500 per month, with most monthly fees ranging from $15 to $50. However, the pricing and finding the best deals is a lot more intricate than that—from annual discounts to coupon codes and flash sales.

Although it’s a cliché, pricing scales with licensing terms, video resolution, variety, extra features like plugins and tools, and more. Thus, I haven’t ranked the stock footage subscriptions in this guide purely based on the pricing but on the value-to-cost ratio. This means that the first subscription in this list isn’t the most expensive or the cheapest and doesn’t give you the best videos—it’s purely the best overall offer you get for this price.

Most unlimited stock footage subscriptions cost from $12 (Videvo; cheapest) and $16.50 (Envato Elements; best overall) to more expensive, like Artlist, which goes up to $68. Yet, there are also other unlimited stock video subscriptions I haven’t included in this list costing $200 and more because they are not worth it.

How do you get discounts on footage subscriptions?

After you decide which stock footage subscription is best for you, and right before you make the purchase, check if you can get any discounts. Some discounts are permanent, such as annual and bulk discounts, while coupons and holiday sales usually expire after a week or several months.

Annual discounts: If you want to commit to the long haul, annual subscriptions are the way to go. Most platforms offer a decent discount, typically around 20%. For example, over at Envato Elements, you can snatch up a whopping 57% off. Not too shabby, right?

Coupons: Everyone loves a good coupon. By keeping an eye out, you can typically find coupon codes that range from 10 to 25% off. Just make sure to always double-check the validity because nobody likes an expired coupon.

Bulk discounts: If you’re one to use a lot of footage, or perhaps you’re managing content for multiple projects, it’s worth inquiring about bulk discounts. Many platforms offer reduced rates when you purchase more. It’s like buying in bulk at the grocery store – the more you get, the less you spend per item.

Flash sales/Black Friday/holidays: Ah, the joy of holiday sales. Companies love to celebrate, and sometimes that means slashing prices on special occasions. Black Friday and other major holidays can be prime times to get deep discounts. So, if you’re not in a rush, maybe hold out for one of those flash sales.

Student discounts: For all you students out there, here’s a perk of hitting the books. Many platforms offer student discounts to support your educational endeavors. These can vary, but they’re definitely worth exploring if you’re in school.

Frequently asked questions

Which is the best unlimited stock footage site?

Envato Elements provides the best ratio between price, video quality, number, and license usage. Unlimited stock footage downloads are available for only $16.50/month with the yearly plan and $11.50 a month for students.

What is the best stock footage subscription?

The Envato Elements Unlimited Downloads plan provides everything a video editor needs. You get unlimited downloads of HD & 4K footage, video templates for all video editing programs, music & sound effects, photos, vectors, and illustrations for $16.50 a month.

How can I buy stock footage without a watermark?

When you purchase a stock footage plan, every clip you download will be without a watermark. Choose one of the best unlimited downloads stock footage sites, such as Envato Elements. And purchase a subscription plan. The best part is that you can use this footage legally forever for almost any project.

Is it legal to use stock footage?

After you acquire a license to a particular video clip, you can legally use it within the allowed uses. Its uses depend on the license. If you break the license agreement, you might get into legal issues.

Is there free stock footage?

You can get free stock footage, but most experts, including me, advise against it. Free stock footage is licensed under a creative commons zero license, which provides no legal guarantees. On the other hand, choosing unlimited download plans is virtually the same as downloading them for free. Plus, you know that what you’re doing is legitimate.


We reviewed 15 stock footage sites based on 14 data points in the categories of video quality and variety, pricing, licensing, video number, customer support, and additional features. We chose the 6 best stock footage sites with unlimited video downloads on the weighting assigned to each category:

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

Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, the number of videos per most popular searches, technical quality, and added value. We also looked at the variety of pricing plans, minimum, median, and maximum footage prices, and free trial terms. Finally, we evaluated stock footage sites’ customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.


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