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Cheapest Stock Photo Sites of November 2022

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Our Verdict

Canva is one of the cheapest stock photo sites and is packed with features. We love it because by subscribing for $9.99/month, you get unlimited downloads from its collection of 110+ million stock images and get full access to its tools.

Therefore, Canva is an excellent option for anyone who’s on a tight budget. You can use its editing tools to create beautiful graphics with your stock images.

You can try Canva free for 30 days.

Cheapest Stock Photo Sites

  1. Canva ($9.99/month for unlimited downloads)
  2. YayImages ($8.00–$11.99/month for unlimited downloads)
  3. CanStockPhoto ($0.14/image)
  4. Bigstock ($0.157/image)
  5. Stock Photo Secrets ($0.167/image)
  6. Shutterstock ($0.22/image)
  7. iStock ($0.22/image)
  8. Depositphotos ($0.22/image)
  9. Dreamstime ($0.225/image)
  10. Adobe Stock ($0.26/image)
  • Price: $0.00 for Free; $9.99/month for Pro; $30/month for Enterprise.
  • Subscriptions: $9.99–$30.00/month. Canva’s stock photo library is integrated into its editor, so the only way to get access to the images is to buy a full subscription.
  • License: Canva offers multiple licenses based on the source of images. For its Pro content, a form of a royalty-free license applies, which gives you a perpetual, non-exclusive, and non-transferable, worldwide right to use the content.
  • Free trial: There’s a 30-day free trial for the entire Canva suite (tools + photos).
  • Coupon code: /
  • Additional features: The entire Canva stock photo library is integrated into all of its tools.
  • Unlimited plan ($8.00–$11.99/month) can be purchased on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. It gives you unlimited downloads of all YayImages assets, including extended licenses. However, the unlimited downloads have a rate limit, meaning you may download only a certain number of images each day.
  • Lifetime Membership ($199) is a one-time purchase plan that gives you 10 downloads per day forever.
  • Subscriptions ($0.14–$7.50/image) are available with daily download only. They come in sizes of 10, 25, 50, 100, and 250 downloads per day. You can also choose image sizes, subscription duration, and the number of users.
  • Credits can be used to buy images ($0.80–$4.00), footage ($6.00–$60.00+), and enhanced licenses ($14.00$70.00+).
  • All licenses cover only $10,000 in legal indemnification.
  • Enhanced licenses must be stacked to get a true extended license, which costs more than elsewhere.

To get the lowest prices at Bigstock, go to Pricing and click on the See All Plans button. Then select the 50 Images/Day for 12 months plan. It will cost you $2.879 and you will get 18,250 downloads that you may use within 1 year, with up to 50 a day.

Choose the largest 1-year plan with 500 downloads per month that costs $999/year.

  • To get the lowest prices at Shutterstock, go to Pricing. Pick the largest plan subscription (750 monthly downloads) with the annual prepaid commitment. At checkout, enter the coupon code for 25% off.
  • To get the lowest prices at iStock, go to Pricing. Among Basic subscriptions pick the largest plan (750 monthly downloads) with the annual commitment (green switch above the pricing). At checkout, enter the coupon code for 30% off.
  • To get the lowest prices at Depositphotos, go to Pricing and pick the largest subscription plan (750 monthly downloads) with the yearly commitment. At the checkout, apply the coupon code for a 15% discount.
  • In this case, the discount is not connected to the coupon code but to the link. First, click here to open a link that has a discount bound to it. Click on “Prices and downloads plans” and select the 750 monthly downloads subscription plan with a duration of 12 months. The 25% discount will already be applied.
  • To get the lowest prices at Adobe Stock, click on Pricing and select the largest subscription plan with 750 monthly downloads with an annual commitment.

Summary: Cheapest Stock Photo Sites

Stock photo agencyOur RatingPricePhotos
Canva4.6/5.0$9.99-$12.99/month110+ million
YayImages2.5/5.0$8.00–$11.99/month13.5 million
CanStockPhoto2.9/5.0$0.14–$7.50/image72 million
Bigstock3.1/5.0$0.157–$12.00/image111 million
Stock Photo Secrets3.0/5.0$0.167–$7.80/image7 million
Shutterstock5.0/5.0$0.22–$14.50/image390+ million
iStock4.8/5.0$0.22-$9.90/image140+ million
Depositphotos4.8/5.0$0.22–$14.00/image224 million
Dreamstime3.9/5.0$0.225–$51.78/image185 million
Adobe Stock5.0/5.0$0.26–$9.99/image297+ million

Are cheap stock photo sites worth it?

Unless you pick a premium stock photo site, no stock photo site is too expensive. After all, there’s not a huge difference between the lowest price and the most expensive. For example, Dreamstime sells stock images for as low as $0.16, whereas Adobe Stock sells them for $0.26. But here’s what you need to consider.

1. Overall plan scheme

The prices listed in this post are the lowest you can get. That means picking the largest plan (which gives the best price/image) for an entire year and applying a promo code.

But most of us don’t need 750+ images per month throughout the year. So, the price of a yearly plan doesn’t even apply to us. Likely, you need between 10 and 50 images per month. Smaller subscription plans are considerably more expensive, usually costing between $0.50 and $10 per image.

Thus, in the end, the price range is not even that big. And that’s why I recommend considering other factors, as well.

2. Image quality

More than in pricing, stock photo websites differ in image quality. If you cherish aesthetics, you know how important high-quality images taken by a professional photographer are. Do you want to use a photo that an amateur took with their smartphone for an expensive ad campaign, a website, or a blog post?

Therefore, I value image quality above everything else, as I know it crucially affects my success. So, if you need affordable stock images that look great, I recommend Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and iStock.

3. Features

Most customers don’t need additional features, but they’re a welcome addition when included in the price. The clear winner in this category is Adobe Stock’s integration into Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Instead of first browsing photos, then downloading, and finally opening your project, the integration allows you to browse the stock images directly from your Adobe app.

As a benefit, you can test images (and other assets) in your content even before buying them. It’s the ultimate money-saver and workflow booster.

Similarly, other sites also offer various integrations. Canva has a drag-and-drop editor but fewer images than Adobe. Shutterstock and Desygner have not-so-good image editors.

4. Variety

Variety is also important. The price and image quality are not important when you can’t find the right image. Therefore, I usually stay away from sites with few images.

In addition, before subscribing, I browse images to see if I can find what I’m looking for. If there are too many red flags, meaning unsuccessful searches, I stay away.

Cheapest Stock Photo Sites FAQ

What is the cheapest stock photo site?

The cheapest stock photo site is Dreamstime. Royalty-free images cost $0.168, and extended licenses cost $16.10. These prices are available with a 30% discount and the largest subscription plans.

How much do stock photos cost?

The price of stock photos varies between stock photo agencies, the plans, and licenses under which they are sold, as well as their quality, exclusiveness, and value.

Is it illegal to use stock photos?

Using stock photos is legal as long as they are used within the license’s allowed uses. Allowed uses depend based on which stock photo license you purchased.

Cheapest Extended license stock photos?

The cheapest Extended license stock photo can be purchased at Shutterstock for only $9.16 per image. To get this price, you need to purchase the 25-image pack.

What is the cheapest way to buy stock photos?

The best way to buy the cheapest stock photos:
1. Go to Dreamstime and use a 30% discount.
2. Click on Prices and download plans in the top right corner.
3. Verify that you received the 30% discount.
4. Choose the plan that works the best for you. With the 750 monthly downloads plan, you get the best $0.158/image price.
5. Enjoy your cheap stock photos.

Rating Methodology

To identify the best stock photo sites, we took a holistic view of 31 stock photo agencies that incorporated image number, quality, variety, prices and pricing options, licensing terms, features, and customer support.

  • Image quality & variety: 20% of the score. We browsed each stock photo site for over 50 search terms and analyzed the resulting image quality and variety. Both were scored qualitatively based on our expertise and experience. The quality check comprised technical quality, including exposure, sharpness, grain, saturation, color temperature, and added value. The variety check was primarily focused on checking what percentage of images came from the same photo shoot.
  • Stock photo prices and pricing options: 20% of the score. Price is the crucial factor in choosing stock photos, and having various options helps customers find the best plans. We checked whether the stock photo agency offers subscriptions, on-demand options, and which sizes. In addition, having a free trial is a bonus as it allows customers to get an insight into what they can expect. Finally, we considered the minimum, median, and maximum price per image and the price per extended license image.
  • Licensing terms: 20% of the score. We read and took notes on every stock image license. We compared them based on how many copies, reprints, and impressions they allow and their indemnity value.
  • Image number: 15% of the score. The number of images is essential when rating stock photo sites because when you need thousands of images, you can quickly run out of free photos. We checked each stock photo site’s database and took notes on the number of images.
  • Additional features: 15% of the score. Additional features are meant to simplify or enhance a customer’s workflow. We reviewed and tested all the additional features where possible. Since some are limited to enterprises, or we couldn’t get in touch with the support team, we searched for customers with access to the additional features and asked for their opinion.
  • Customer support: 10% of the score. Crucially, when testing customer support, we didn’t tell them who we were, so we got treated like every other customer. We took notes of the response times, contact options (live chat, email, and telephone), and the usefulness and kindness of the support teams.

Next Up in Stock Photo Sites

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
Matic Broz

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

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