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Cheapest Stock Photo Sites May 2022

Matic BrozUpdated May 17, 2022

We’ve taken the guesswork out of finding the cheapest stock photo site by ranking them from the cheapest to the most expensive.

We also rated stock photo sites based on the quality, variety, and number of images, as well as pricing, licensing terms, customer support, and features to give you a better idea of how good each is.

Hint: Lower price per image doesn’t always mean you’ll spend less on stock photos.

8 Cheapest Stock Photo Sites of 2022

  1. Canstockphoto ($0.14/image)
  2. iStock ($0.154/image)
  3. Bigstock ($0.157/image)
  4. Shutterstock ($0.165/image)
  5. Stock Photo Secrets ($0.167/image)
  6. Dreamstime ($0.169/image)
  7. Depositphotos ($0.187/image)
  8. Adobe Stock ($0.26/image)

$0.14/image

Canstockphoto

2.9

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.

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
34.7 million$0.14–$7.50/imageNo

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on Canstockphoto’s website

Why We Picked It

Canstockphoto is a medium-sized paid stock photo site with a big selection of pricing options that are easy to understand. However, the image quality and variety are one of the worst among stock photo sites. Also, there’s no trial to get free images and the support team doesn’t respond (at least in our cases). Although you can get the lowest price per image in the industry, they are only available with enormous plans (250 downloads/day). However, Canstockphoto’s smaller subscriptions are comparable to those of the much better stock photo sites.

The verdict: If you value your budget, stay clear off Canstockphoto.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The cheapest stock photo site
  • Easy to understand pricing options

Cons

  • Very poor image quality and variety
  • No free trial
  • Relatively small selection of content
How to get the lowest prices?

To get the lowest prices at Canstockphoto, go to the “Plans and pricing”. Select 250 downloads per day from the drop down menu, “Small, medium, Large JPG” for the image size, 1 year subscription length, and 1 user.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.14–$7.50/image.
  • Extended license: $74–$139
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions, on-demand.
  • Free trial: /
  • Coupon code: /
  • Additional features: /

$0.154/image

iStock

5.0

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.

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
34.7 million$0.14–$7.50/imageNo

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on iStock’s website

Why We Picked It

iStock isn’t the cheapest stock photo site at $0.22/image, but by using coupons for 30% off you can get stock images for as low as $0.154, which is the lowest price per image in the stock photography. Even without using a coupon, iStock is very reasonably priced. In addition to standard images, you can get premium (“Signature”) images, which look more professional.

The verdict: We recommend iStock as your go-to option for affordable stock images.

Read more: iStock review.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • More than 140 million images.
  • 10 free images with the free trial.
  • Excellent quality.

Cons

  • Signature images are quite expensive.
  • The lowest prices are available only with coupons.
How to get the lowest prices?

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.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.22–$4.00/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions and on-demand.
  • Free trial: 10 images during the free trial.
  • How to get the lowest prices? Pick the largest subscription plan with 750 downloads per month with an annual commitment. As a bonus, you can use coupons.
  • Coupon code: You can get up to a 30% discount with iStock coupons.
  • Additional features: Access to iStock Editor and Adobe Creative Cloud.

$0.157/image

Bigstock

3.1

rating 3.0

Photutorial rating

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

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
111 million$0.157–$12.00/imageYes (35 images or videos)

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on Bigstock’s website

Why We Picked It

Bigstock was acquired by Shutterstock in 2009, but the agency never really took off. Despite being the second cheapest stock photo site, Bigstock is one rated very low on Photutorial scale. The website is very slow and is sometimes delayed by poorly timed pop-ups. The support team is virtually unresponsive (we’ve reached out multiple times but never received an answer). Despite the medium-sized stock photo database (110 million images), we can hardly find usable images because they either look too stocky or low-quality. Also, the cheapest images are available with the enormous 50 images/day plan.

The verdict: If you value your budget, stay clear off Bigstock.

Read more: Bigstock review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • One of the cheapest
  • 110 million images
  • Good free trial (35 free images or videos)

Cons

  • Completely unresponsive support team
  • Low image quality
  • Almost no new images
  • Lowest prices only with a very large plan
How to get the lowest prices?

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.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.157–$12.00/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions, on-demand.
  • Free trial: 35 images or videos during the first 7 days.
  • Coupon code: /
  • Additional features: /

$0.165/image

Shutterstock

5.0

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.

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
385+ million $0.22–$14.50/imageYes (10 images)

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on Shutterstock’s website

Why We Picked It

Shutterstock costs approximately the same as iStock, but it has a larger database, containing over 400 million images. These figures ensure an infinite supply of beautiful images, vector graphics, videos, and other stock media. Shutterstock’s quality never disappoints thanks to its strict technical standards for stock photos.

The verdict: We recommend Shutterstock to everyone.

Read more: Shutterstock review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 385+ million images.
  • 10 free images with the free trial.
  • Great image quality.

Cons

  • Misleading free trial terms.
  • Not the cheapest.
How to get the lowest prices?

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.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.22–$14.50/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions and on-demand.
  • Free trial: 10 images during the free trial.
  • How to get the lowest prices? Pick the largest subscription (750 monthly downloads) with an annual commitment. You can also use a 25% Shutterstock coupon.
  • Coupon code: 25%. Using the 25% coupon code, you get royalty-free images for $0.165. Learn more.
  • Additional features: Shutterstock editor

$0.167/image

Stock Photo Secrets

3.0

rating 3.0

Photutorial rating

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

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
7 million$0.167–$7.80/imageNo

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on Stock Photo Secrets’ website

Why We Picked It

Stock Photo Secrets is a little-known stock photo site that sells stock photos on-demand and with subscription plans. It was built with individuals and small and medium-sized businesses in mind, but its image selection is rather small at 7 million stock photos. In addition, their royalty-free license is less comprehensive than those of the alternatives. So, is Stock Photo Secrets worth your budget? The small savings aren’t worth compromising your image selection and image quality.

The verdict: We don’t recommend Stock Photo Secrets.

Read more: Stock Photo Secrets

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Affordable 99Club membership

Cons

  • Very poor selection due to only 7 million images
  • No free trial
  • Uncomprehensive license
How to get the lowest prices?

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

Additional information
  • Price: $0.167–$7.80/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions, on-demand.
  • Free trial: /
  • Coupon code: /
  • Additional features: /

$0.169/image

Dreamstime

3.7

rating 3.5

Photutorial rating

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

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
185 million$0.167–$7.80/imageNo

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on Dremastime’s website

Why We Picked It

Dreamstime is quite good, but the overall image quality doesn’t reach the high quality standards of Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and iStock. Also, the website looks outdated and I have personally experience issues with their automatic infringement system (it falsely accused me of stealing a photo). But Dreamstime offers unique extended license subscriptions, which are avalable only on-demand at other stock photo sites.

The verdict: Dreamstime is an okay choice but not the best.

Read more: Dreamstime

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sizeable gallery.
  • The cheapest extended license.
  • Extended licenses with subscriptions

Cons

  • Overedited images.
  • Poor variety.
How to get the lowest prices?

In this case, the discount is not connected to 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 the duration 12 months. The 25% discount will already be applied.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.225–$5.00/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions and on-demand.
  • Free trial: 10 images within 7 days.
  • How to get the lowest prices? Pick the largest subscription (750 monthly downloads) with an annual commitment and apply my 30% discount.
  • Coupon code: 30 discount. Learn more.
  • Additional features: A collection of free images.

$0.187/image

Depositphotos

4.8

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.

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
190 million$0.22–$14.00/imageNo

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on Depositphotos’ website

Why We Picked It

Deposiphotos has over 190 million images, from photos to vectors, videos, and illustrations. It’s very similar to iStock and Shutterstock, but it doesn’t have a premium collection like iStock and has 2x times fewer images than Shutterstock.

The verdict: Depositphotos is a good alternative to Shutterstock and iStock.

Read more: Depositphotos review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 190+ million images
  • Good image quality
  • No daily limit
  • A collection of free images

Cons

  • No free trial
  • No custom packs – only available for enterprises
How to get the lowest prices?

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.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.22–$14.00/image.
  • Pricing options: Subscriptions and on-demand.
  • Free trial: /
  • How to get the lowest prices? Pick the largest subscription (750 monthly downloads) with an annual commitment.
  • Coupon code: /
  • Additional features: 70K free stock images and other assets.

$0.26/image

Adobe Stock

5.0

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.

Number of imagesPrice per imageFree trial
280 million$0.26–$9.99/imageYes (up to 40 images)

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on Adobe Stock’s website

Why We Picked It

Adobe Stock is one of the best stock photo sites and the best option for graphic designers. In addition to being very affordable, it offers a variety of additional services, like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere, all of which are automatically connected with Adobe Stock.

The verdict: Adobe Stock is the best choice for graphic designers.

Read more: Adobe Stock review

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Superb image and video quality.
  • Offers templates, 3D objects, and fonts.
  • More than 1 million free images.
  • Creative Cloud integration.
  • Works with Photoshop, Illustrator, & others.

Cons

  • More costly than some alternatives.
  • No promo codes or coupons.
How to get the lowest prices?

To get the lowest prices at Adobe Stock, click on Pricing and select the largest subscription plan with 750 monthly downloads with the annual commitment.

Additional information
  • Price: $0.26 to $9.99/standard image.
  • Subscriptions: $0.26 to $9.99/image. Subscriptions are available on a monthly (more expensive) or annual basis and come in four sizes (3 or 10, 25, 40, and 750 monthly downloads). With subscriptions, you get access to standard images, templates, 3D elements, and music tracks.
  • On-demand: $8.00 to $9.99/image. Using credits, you can get premium images, which are not available with subscriptions. They cost $96.00 to $119.88.
  • Royalty-free license: $0.26 to $9.99/standard image. Unlimited web views, 500,000 copies or views, up to $10,000 in legal indemnification. Adobe’s royalty-free (dubbed “Standard”) license applies to standard assets.
  • Enhanced license: $96.00 to $119.88/image. Everything royalty-free license has + unlimited copies or views. Adobe’s Enhanced license applies to premium assets.
  • Extended license: $79.99/image. Everything the Enhanced license has + unlimited merchandise.
  • Free trial: 10 or 40 standard images for 30 days. Adobe Stock’s free trial gives you the most free downloads of any stock photo free trial.
  • Coupon code: Adobe Stock never offers any coupon codes.
  • Free collection: You can also download free files from the free collection of 1+ million assets.
  • Additional features: Integration into the Creative Cloud.
Often, it’s better to spend a little more to get a lot more. So, we recommend Adobe Stock.
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Methodology

We reviewed 31 stock photo sites based on 14 data points in the categories of image quality and variety, pricing, licensing, image number, customer support, and additional features. We chose the 8 cheapest stock photo sites based solely on the price per image with all discounts. The ratings represented in this post were determined 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 stock photo sites’ customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.

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 (my favourite), 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.

Frequently asked questions

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 downloads 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.

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

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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