iStock Pricing Explained (2023)

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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iStock pricing explained

iStock, a subsidiary of the premium stock image provider Getty Images, offers a more affordable alternative for high-quality visuals. Its pricing structure closely mirrors that of Shutterstock, making it an accessible option for a wide range of users.

Best iStock deals, discounts, & coupons

iStock already offers budget-friendly options, but with the right strategies, you can access promo codes, benefit from flat discounts, secure bulk discounts, and discover deals with the most competitive prices.

  1. 10 free stock photos: iStock provides a 1-month free trial for their Basic subscription plan, which includes 10 monthly downloads. This trial is exclusively available with the annual plan. During the trial period, you can download 10 royalty-free images without any cost. If you cancel before the 30 days are over, you won’t be charged, and you can keep the images. After the trial concludes, the plan is priced at $29 per month.
  2. Save 16%-28% with an annual commitment: Opting for an annual commitment instead of a monthly one can save you up to 28% on the monthly cost.
  3. Get up to 33% off on credits: Purchasing credits in bulk can provide you with up to a 33.3% discount, reducing the price to $8 per credit from the original $12.
  4. Enjoy a 20% promo code for newcomers: In addition to the various discounts, new customers can also take advantage of a 20% discount on their first purchase.

Subscription pricing (best value)

You can use iStock subscriptions to download images, videos, and music tracks at the lowest possible prices. They are available with annual and month-to-month commitments, with the annual offering about a 20% discount.

Subscriptions are divided into Basic, Premium, and Premium + Video, which differ in the type of content you can download and the cost. Each subscription is also available in several sizes.

Better than iStock

1 Envato Elements

Envato Elements logo
  • Cost: $11.50–$39.00/month
  • Images: 8.1 million
  • Videos: 4.2 million
  • Free trial: 12 files per month

3 Shutterstock

Shutterstock logo
  • Cost: $24.91–$249/month
  • Images: 434 million
  • Videos: 29.2 million
  • Free trial: 10, 1 video, or 2 audio

2 Artlist

Adobe Stock logo
  • Cost: $29.99–$249.99/month
  • Images: 326 million
  • Videos: 26 million
  • Free trial: 10–40 images or 3–6 HD videos

Basic subscriptions

iStock images and divided into two collections: Essentials and Signatures. With the Basic subscription, you can download only the Essential images, which are good but not as professional as the Premium. Here’s the pricing breakdown:

Number of imagesMonthlyAnnual (billed monthly)
10$40 ($4.00/download)$29 ($2.90/download)
25$65 ($2.60/download)$49 ($1.96/download)
50$99 ($1.98/download)$90 ($1.80/download)
750$199 ($0.27/download)$167 ($0.22/download)
Basic subscriptions pricing in USD

Premium subscriptions

Premium subscriptions grant you access to both collections, Essential and Signature. iStock’s Signature collection is a premium tier of stock images, videos, and illustrations. This collection features high-quality, distinctive, and professionally curated content created by talented artists and photographers from around the world. The Signature collection is designed to offer users a wide range of unique and exceptional content for their creative projects that stand out from typical stock assets.

Number of imagesMonthlyAnnual (billed monthly)
10$99 ($9.99/download)$70 ($7.00/download)
25$149 ($5.69/download)$120 ($4.80/download)
50$229 ($4.58/download)$199 ($3.98/download)
750$399 ($0.53/download)$334 ($0.44/download)
Premium subscriptions pricing in USD

Premium + Video subscriptions

If you need images, videos, and music tracks at the same time, then a Premium + Video subscription is the best choice for you. They are also the cheapest way to buy stock videos at iStock, while image downloads are more expensive compared to image subscriptions.

Downloads per monthMonth-to-monthAnnual
10$149/mo ($14.90/download)$99/mo ($9.90/download)
25$229/mo ($9.16/download)$165/mo ($6.60/download)
50$349/mo ($6.98/download)$265/mo ($5.30/download)
Premium + Video subscriptions pricing in USD

Credit packs (pay as you go)

Credits are the more expensive way of downloading stock assets, but they offer more flexibility than subscriptions. While subscriptions cost $0.22 to $14.90 per image, images bought with credits packs cost $8.00 to $12.00.

Pack sizePriceYou can get up to
1$12 ($12/credit)1 image
3$33 ($11/credit)3 images
6$60 ($10/credit)6 images or 1 video
12$115 ($9.58/credit)12 images or 2 videos
18$170 ($9.44/credit)18 images or 3 videos
24$220 ($9.17/credit)24 images or 4 videos
36$325 ($9.03/credit)36 images or 6 videos
60$520 ($8.67/credit)60 images or 10 videos
150$1,250 ($8.33/credit)150 images or 25 videos
300$2,400 ($8.00/credit)300 images or 50 videos
Credit packs pricing comparison

How many credits does iStock content cost?

The cost in credits differs between different content types. For starters, the Signature content costs three times as many credits as the Essential content.

Price in creditsPrice for credits
Essential images1 credit$8–$12
Signature images3 credits$24–$36
Essential video clips6 credits$48–$72
Signature video clips18 credits$144–$216
Extended license for images18 credits$144–$216
Extended license for videos21 credits$168–$252

What each buying option gets you

Each buying option offers different benefits, so it’s imperative you pick the one that ticks off all the boxes for you. We already described them earlier, but here’s the summary:

Basic SubscriptionsPremium SubscriptionsPremium + Video SubscriptionsCredit Packs
Access to full image library
Access to video clips
Access to music and sound effects
Lowest prices on images
Lowest prices on videos
Standard license
Option to add extended licenses
Boards to organize and share files
Access to iStock Editor
Supported plugins


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