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

Dreamstime Review 2022

Matic Broz profile picture By Matic Broz Updated August 4, 2022
Dreamstime logo

3.9

Good

The bottom line

Dreamstime has a large collection of stock images, but we don’t like the quality of these images, which are often overedited. While Dreamstime can be good option, we advice you to pick one of its alternatives.

$0.23–$51.78/image
Dreamstime
25% discount
Dreamstime

Pros

  • Extended license come also with subscriptions, making them cheap
  • Wide variety of buying options

Cons

  • Often overedited images.
  • Poor variety.
  • Free trial images are watermarked.

Dreamstime specs

Websitedreamstime.com
Images185 million
Pricing$0.23–$51.78/image
Extended license$26.00–$1,000+
Free trialNo
LicensesRoyalty-free

Who Is Dreamstime Best For?

Dreamstime is best for people who need a large number of stock images with an extended license, either due to the larger allowed print distribution or higher indemnification. To clarify, compared to the standard royalty-free (RF) license, an extended license allows unlimited printed and digital items for distribution, multiple seats, and a 25-times higher indemnification.

Dreamstime also offers a variety of other subscriptions, including video and audio subscriptions, and an all-in-one subscription that allows you to download any content of any size–these are the best for users who need a mix of content and not just images.

Dreamstime Pricing

Stock image pricing

  • Subscriptions: $0.225–$5.00/image. The subscriptions come in multiple sizes (5, 10, 15, 25, 100, and 750 monthly downloads). You get the lowest price per image with the largest plan (750/month) when chosen for a 12-month duration. As a Dreamstime partner, I offer an additional 30% discount on every purchase. Learn more.
  • Credit packages: $0.88–$51.78/image. To buy images with credits, you first need to buy a credit package. These come in sizes from 11 to 2000; the larger the plan, the more credits you get per dollar spent. You can then use credits to buy anything on Dreamstime.
  • Unlimited access to free images: $5.00/month. If you need a lot of images but don’t have the budget for large subscription plans, the unlimited downloads plan is a good option. However, you get access to only 1 million images that are not very good.
  • Extended license subscriptions: $19.55–$26.50/image. Extended license subscriptions are the best way to get images licensed under the extended license.
  • All-in-One subscriptions: $14.76–$17.90/image. By using all-in-one subscriptions, you can get any media file of any size, including stock images, videos, and audio. It’s the best plan for those who have versatile needs for stock content.

Compare subscription prices

Notice that the subscriptions for 5 and 15 images per month cost the same, as well as 10 and 25 images per month. Whether that’s an intentional marketing move or a mistake, I don’t know, but it’s been like that for over a year now. So, there’s no point in choosing 5 or 15 images per month plan.

Images/monthPrice/monthPrice/image
5$25.00$3.60
10$39.00$2.70
15$25.00$1.20
25$39.00$1.08
100$49.99$0.50
750$219.00$0.20
750 (prepaid)$169.00$0.158

Compare credit package prices

CreditsPricePrice/credit
11$10.49$0.95
15$12.59$0.84
30$24.49$0.82
60$48.29$0.81
120$87.49$0.73
260$175.00$0.67
500$329.00$0.66
1,000$630.00$0.63
2,000$1,232.00$0.616

How many credits do photos cost?

Unfortunately, the Dreamstime photos don’t have a fixed price, but it varies based on their size and how often they’re downloaded (represented by levels), which means that the price can change overnight. The price of all stock photos depends on their level, ranging from 0 to 5. Levels are determined based on the age of the photo and the number of downloads.

When bought with credits, stock photos cost from 1 to 38 credits each, and up to 50 credits for extended licenses.

Stock video pricing

  • Subscriptions: $6.12–$50/video clip. The subscriptions come in multiple sizes (1, 5, 10, and 25 monthly downloads) and four resolutions (web, 720, 1080, and 4K). You get the lowest price per video with the largest plan (25/month) when for the “web” quality of the video.
  • Credit packages: $8.80–$51.78/video clip. To buy videos with credits, you first need to buy a credit package. These come in sizes from 11 to 2000; the larger the plan, the more credits you get per dollar spent. You can then use credits to buy anything on Dreamstime.
  • All-in-One subscriptions: $14.76–$17.90/video clip.

Compare video subscriptions prices

Monthly downloadsWeb720p1080p4K
1$15 ($15/video)$40 ($40/video)$45 ($45/video)$50 ($50/video)
5$40 ($8/video)$121 ($24.2/video)$148 ($29.6/video)$239 ($47.8/video)
10$72 ($7.2/video)$225 ($22.5/video)$280 ($28/video)$450 ($45/video)
25$170 ($6.8/video)$444 ($17.76/video)$534 ($21.36/video)$1,070 ($42.8/video)

Extended license prices

We discussed the pricing of royalty-free content above, including stock images, videos, and audio, but extended licenses cost significantly more. That’s mainly because they give you more usage rights, but more on that in the section about licenses.

Extended license typeImagesVideosAudio
Unlimited Seats50 credits200 credits200 credits
Web Usage50 credits200 credits200 credits
Print Usage50 credits
Extended License Subscriptionfrom $23.00
1 Year Exclusivityfrom $62.5from $250from $250
3 Year Exclusivityfrom $150from $600from $600
Sell the rightsfrom $250from $1,000from $1,000
Universal Royalty-Freefrom $500
Universal Extended Licensefrom $1,000

Licenses

Since you’re not the rightful owner of the image, you need to get rights from its creator to use it legally. This is best done by purchasing a license through a stock photo site. The most widely used license is the royalty-free (RF) license due to its versatility and affordability.

Royalty-free

A royalty-free license is a perpetual license, meaning you may use it forever once you pay the initial fee. However, RF licenses are usually limited in the number of allowed copies and generally don’t allow resale and redistribution.

DO’sDON’Ts
illustrating websitesany item that will be resold or redistributed (i.e, postcards, T-shirts, puzzles, your art, web templates, coloring books, art prints)
decorating home and office, interior designlogos and trademarks
advertising posters, flyers, postcardscandy wrappers
illustrating books, CD covers, booklets
illustrating magazine articles, covers, and newspapers
product and gift wrappings
humanitarian or social campaigns
company presentations

Extended license

When you need a more broad use of a stock image, you should consider buying an extended license. By default, an extended license extends a royalty-free license to unlimited reproduction, multiple seats, and higher indemnification. However, Dreamstime separated these licenses into multiple specialized extended licenses.

Extended License TypeWhat you get
Unlimited Seats (U-EL)Unlimited user seats within the same organization.
Web Usage (W-EL)Get the rights to use the stock media for web templates, screensavers, e-cards, PowerPoint presentations, and wallpapers for resale.
Print Usage (P-EL)Get the rights to use the stock media for T-shirts, posters, mugs, postcards, printed artwork, etc.
Sell the Rights (SR-EL)Get full ownership of the stock image or video. It gives you exclusive rights to the media.

About Dreamstime

Dreamstime is a microstock photo agency that was founded in Tennessee 22 years ago. At the time, it was the main competitor to Shutterstock and iStockphoto (now called “iStock”), but has since slightly fallen behind in recent years. Nowadays, Dreamstime offers 185 million stock photos, illustrations, and vectors to 42 million registered members, contributed by 800,000 photographers.

Nowadays, Dreamstime runs an active blog, is a member of DMLA (Digital Media Licensing Association), was the first to receive CEPIC, and is the founding member of the European Tech Alliance

Dreamstime free downloads

Dreamstime offers a collection of 1.5 million images that you may download for free. The images are licensed under a CC0 (Creative Commons 0) license that requires you to attribute the Dreamstime. A typical attribution may look something like this: Free photo 144892350 © Publicdomainphotos – Dreamstime.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dreamstime legit?

Dreamstime is a legit yet not the best stock photo site. It has a rating of 3.1 from almost 1,100 reviews on Trustpilot. Most customers complain about watermarked images with the free trial and having difficulties when canceling subscriptions.

Are Dreamstime images free?

Dreamstime has a large database of 1.5 million free images that require attribution when used. Dreamstime also sells images under royalty-free and extended licenses, which cost anywhere between $0.225 to several thousands of dollars.

Is Dreamstime copyright free?

Dreamstime is not copyright free. You may, however, use CC0 photos for free, but you need to attribute the author and Dreamstime.

How much does Dreamstime cost?

Dreamstime sells royalty-free stock images for $0.225–$5.00 with subscriptions, $0.88–$51.78/image with credits, and $19.55–$26.50/image for extended licenses. You can also get stock footage for as low as $6.12 and up to $50 for a 4K video.

How do I cancel my Dreamstime subscription?

1. Log in to your Dreamstime account
2. Click on My Account
3. Select Payment Management
4. Uncheck Auto-renewal
5. Confirm

Methodology

Photutorial reviewed Dreamstime based on 14 data points in the categories of image quality and variety, pricing, licensing, image number, customer support, and additional features. Photutorial rated Dreamstime 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 Dreamstime’s customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.

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