We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more ›

Cheapest Stock Photo Sites of August 2022

Matic Broz profile picture By Matic Broz Updated June 24, 2022
Cheap stock photo sites thumbnail

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)

$9.99-$12.99/month

Canva

4.6

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 images
110+ million
Pricing
$9.99-$12.99/month
Free trial
Yes (30 days)
LEARN MORE

on Canva’s website

Why We Picked It

Canva is one of the cheapest sources of stock photos. For only $9.99/month, you get unlimited access to over 110 million stock images and the entire Canva suite of tools.

If you don’t want to buy a subscription, you can get on-demand stock images for $1, which is also one of the cheapest offers available. In comparison, on-demand downloads usually cost from $5 to $20.

In addition, if you’re not committed to subscribing yet, you can get the 30-day free trial.

Read more: Canva review

Pros & Cons
  • 30 day free trial
  • Inexpensive subscription
  • Intuitive and super easy-to-use
  • Huge built-in stock photo library
  • Prompts team-work
  • Bad at photo editing
  • No one-time purchase option
  • Can’t use it offline
  • Lacks advanced design options
More details
  • 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.

$8.00–$11.99/month

YayImages

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 images
13.5 million
Pricing
$8.00–$11.99/month
Free trial
No
LEARN MORE

on Yayimages’ website

Why We Picked It

YayImages is with 13.5 million stock images the best stock photo site for unlimited downloads. Although you can’t expect the same quality as at Shutterstock, it’s a good option for beginners with a small budget. Overall, the image quality is quite low and the little variety can quickly lead to running out of fresh downloads.

Read more: YayImages review

Pros & Cons
  • Unlimited downloads
  • Overall very cheap
  • Low image quality
  • Iffy image acquisition and policy
  • Support team doesn’t reply at all
More details
  • 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.

$0.14/image

CanStockPhoto

2.9

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 images
72 million
Pricing
$0.14–$7.50/image
Free trial
No
LEARN MORE

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.

CanStockPhoto is the source of the cheapest stock photos ($0.14). However, to get this price you need to buy an unreasonably large plan (50 images/day) at the lowest image quality for one year (meaning 91,250 images).

Read more: CanStockPhoto review

Pros & Cons
  • Pricing starting at $0.14/image
  • Over 120 different subscritpions combinations (length, number of photos, photo format)
  • The cheapest stock photo site
  • All subscriptions comes with daily downloads that expire within 24 hours.
  • Incorrect information throughout the entire website.
  • Only $10,000 legal coverage with Enhanced licenses.
More details
  • 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.

$0.157/image

Bigstock

3.1

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 images
111 million
Price per image
$0.157–$12.00/image
Free trial
Yes (35 images or videos)
LEARN MORE

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 rated very low on the 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 of Bigstock.

Read more: Bigstock review

Pros & Cons
  • One of the cheapest stock photo sites
  • 111 million images
  • Good free trial (35 free images or videos)
  • 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.

$0.167/image

Stock Photo Secrets

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 images
7 million
Pricing
$0.167–$7.80/image
Free trial
No
LEARN MORE

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
  • Cheap
  • Affordable 99Club membership
  • 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.

$0.22/image

Shutterstock

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 images
390+ million
Pricing
$0.22–$14.50/image
Free trial
Yes (10 images)
LEARN MORE

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
  • 390+ million images.
  • Ten free images during a 30-day trial.
  • Great image quality.
  • Misleading free trial terms.
  • Limited on-demand options.
  • Not the best for videos.
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.

$0.22/image

iStock

4.8

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 images
140+ million
Pricing
$0.22-$9.90/image
Free trial
Yes (10 images)
LEARN MORE

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
  • 140+ million images.
  • The signature collection is of superb quality.
  • Competitive prices.
  • 10 images with the free trial.
  • Signature images are a lot more expensive.
  • Expensive extended license.
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.

$0.22/image

Depositphotos

4.8

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 images
224 million
Pricing
$0.22–$14.00/image
Free trial
Yes (10 images)
LEARN MORE

on Depositphotos’ website

Why We Picked It

Depositphotos 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
  • 224+ million images
  • Good image quality
  • No daily limit
  • Reverse image search
  • Great customer support (phone, live chat, and email)
  • A collection of free images
  • No custom packs (only available for enterprises).
  • Limited flexibility of on-demand options.
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.

THE CHEAPEST EXTENDED LICENSES

Dreamstime

3.9

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 images
185 million
Pricing
$0.225–$51.78/image
Free trial
Yes (watermarked only)
LEARN MORE

on Dreamstime’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 experienced issues with their automatic infringement system (it falsely accused me of stealing a photo). But Dreamstime offers unique extended license subscriptions, which are available only on-demand at other stock photo sites.

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

Read more: Dreamstime

Pros & Cons
  • Up to 30% discount.
  • The cheapest extended license.
  • Extended licenses with subscriptions.
  • Often overedited images.
  • Poor variety.
  • Free trial images are watermarked.
How to get the lowest prices?
  • 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.

BEST FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Adobe Stock

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 images
297+ million
Pricing
$0.26–$9.99/image
Free trial
Yes (10, 25, or 40 images)
LEARN MORE

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
  • 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.
  • More costly than some alternatives.
  • No promo codes or coupons.
  • Expensive premium content.
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 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

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.

Get 40 free images with Adobe StockGet free