The Bottom Line
Stock Photo Secrets is a small and low-quality stock photo agency with overpriced images and poor selection. At higher prices than Shutterstock, Stock Photo Secrets offers 50 times fewer photos, less comprehensive licensing, and poor customer support. We do not recommend it.
- Poor customer support
- Very limited royalty-free license
- Small selection of images
- Most likely a shady image acquisition
Why we don’t think Stock Photo Secrets is legit
As experts in the stock photo industry, we have long been aware of the website stockphotosecrets.com (SPS) and have had concerns about its legitimacy. One major red flag is that SPS does not disclose the names or any information about its contributors, unlike other reputable stock photo websites like Shutterstock.
Additionally, when potential contributors sign up for the SPS contributor program, they are redirected to the Ingram contributor portal where they are required to accept terms that do not mention SPS as a site where contributors can earn money. Instead, the agreement states that contributors will receive a 20% commission on revenue received through ingimage.com, signelements.com, or vectorstate.com. This raises questions about where SPS gets its 8 million images from, and whether contributors are actually paid for downloads through SPS.
Furthermore, both SPS and another Ingram Image Ltd site, stockphotos.com, have refused to provide contributor information upon request, even through private email. They claim that “most of our suppliers have decided not to have their name shown,” which seems highly unlikely given that most contributors want to be promoted and credited for their work. These practices only further raise our suspicions about the legitimacy of SPS and Ingram Image Ltd. We also do not trust companies that offer no (stockphotos.com) or very little ($100 at stockphotosecrets.com) legal coverage for their customers.
Best Stock Photo Secrets Alternatives
Shutterstock free trial »
Envato Elements free trial »
Adobe Stock free trial »
Stock Photo Secrets offers monthly or yearly subscriptions, which are 33% cheaper. Subscriptions grant you a Standard license, which allows a reproduction limit of up to 300,000.
Monthly subscription: You can choose between 3 monthly plans of 25, 50, or 500 downloads per month, costing $35–$105/month (equivalent to $0.21–$1.40/image). All plans let you carry over unused downloads if you don’t use all the downloads in a given month.
Here’s the monthly pricing summary:
The best prices come with a large plan of 500 monthly downloads, resulting in $0.21/image.
Yearly subscriptions: Yearly subscriptions are available with three plans of 200, 600, or 6,000 downloads per month, costing $99–$999/year. The yearly subscriptions are more cost-efficient but require you to commit for 12 months.
Multi-user subscriptions: They are available for up to 3 users or up to 5. The more users you have on your plan, the higher the price per image. However, you are allowed to share the license among users.
Image packs are the best choice if you’re only looking for a couple of images without commitment. This is, however, a less cost-efficient option than subscriptions. These images come with the Standard license.
There are three image packs available:
- 5 images: $39 – or $7.80/image
- 10 images: $55 – or $5.50/image
- 25 images: $149 – or $5.96/image
Extended License Image Packs
An Extended License allows for prints of 300,000 pieces or more and is necessary if you want to use the images for sale. Image Packs under the Extended License are noticeably more expensive than the Standard License Image Packs, customers with an active subscription benefit from a 50% discount.
Bottom line: fully committing to Stock Photo Secrets is much more effective than with other stock photo sites.
- 1 image: $80
- 5 images: $300, $60/image
- 25 images: $1,100, $44/image
Let us do the math for you; for active subscribers, these same packs would cost:
- 1 image: $40
- 5 images: $150, $30/image
- 25 images: $550, $22/image
If you think about it, $22 for an image that can bring you thousands of dollars from your merchandise is more affordable.
We recently tried out the 99club subscription plan from Stock Photo Secrets and were extremely disappointed with the quality. Being marketed as an affordable option for small businesses, the quality of the images, vectors, and fonts was not up to our standards.
Features of 99club
- For $99 you get 200 XXL stock images, vectors, and fonts
- Additional images only $0.99
- Auto-renew price is the same ($99)
- 50% discount on Extended license images
One of the main selling points of the 99club is that it offers flexibility, allowing you to use your 200 downloads at any time throughout the year. However, you can quickly run out of downloads, so you have to buy additional images at a price of $0.99 each. This adds up quickly and negates any cost savings you thought you would have with the subscription plan.
Furthermore, the auto-renew price for the 99club is the same as the initial cost, so you must remember to cancel your subscription, or you will be charged again. And while the 50% discount on extended license images may seem like a good deal, we found that the prices were still too high compared to other stock photo websites, given the licensing terms.
In our opinion, the 99club from Stock Photo Secrets is not worth the money. There are much better options in the competitive stock photo market that offer more content and higher quality at a lower price.
The key difference between the Standard and Extended license is the purpose of the image, vector, video, or font you’re purchasing. If you’re planning to use the item for resale, such as prints, web templates, screensavers, and calendars, you need the Extended license. For non-commercial use, the Standard license is enough, as long as you stay under the reproduction limit of 300,000.
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Purchasing on Stock Photo Secrets is 100% secure. It’s Verified and Secured by GoDaddy.com, an American publicly traded Internet domain registrar.
Payment options include PayPal, and all major Credit Cards – Amex (American Express), Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, Discover Network, and Solo Cards.
Image Search tools
Hassle-free image search is crucial in the stock photo business, and Stock Photo Secrets knows that, so when it comes to Image Search, they leave most of its competitors in the dust.
The overall image-searching experience reminds me of Alamy’s Image Search tools, which I consider to be the best in the business.
To review the Image Search tools, I will use the search phrase “pineapple”, just so we can see how well I can find the right images.
All image searches were performed on July 7, 2020, so the exact numbers might have changed.
Image Search bar
By typing “pineapple” in the Image Search, Stock Photo Secrets offers 9916 total results. Not bad for a pineapple.
Right next to the search bar, you can choose between All images, Photos, Vectors, Fonts, and Videos. You should start by selecting the one that’s right for you based on your needs.
In this example, I will use Photos, because that’s what I am looking for. Now, there are 6099 results.
Below the search bar, you can sort the results based on 4 options:
- Relevance: results based on what other customers went on to download after using the same search term
- Newest: most recent uploads
- Curated: it means that the order in which photos appear was determined by an expert. When you choose this option with phrase “pineapple”, roughly 50% of images don’t have a pineapple in them, which is probably due to the poorly programmed AI, which confuses other orange fruits such as papaya and oranges with a pineapple.
Another reason is that contributors foolishly use a keyword such as “red”, “skin”, “pineapple”, and “view” on an image with nothing but oranges in it.
- Popularity: the most downloaded images withing your search
In the top right corner, you will find search settings next to the little gear icon. If you click on it, you’ll get options to:
- Change the thumbnail size: Small, Large, Extra large
- Change the number of results per page: 25, 50, 100, 200
- Turn previews on and off
- Use Safe Search
To the right of the search bar, you’ll find the Refine search option.
I recommend you use it as much as possible, as it can more than halve your search process.
You can search within your current results or make a new search that will add new images to the current ones.
This is useful if you don’t want certain objects in your images.
For example, let’s say that I don’t want oranges and papayas within my search results, so I can easily filter them out by typing “oranges, papayas” in Exclude keywords bar. Notice how I used “oranges” and not “orange” since I don’t want to filter out orange colours, just the fruit.
I’m down to 3006 search results.
You can choose between Portrait, Square, Landscape, Color, and B&W. This is extremely useful because more often than not you’ll need a very specific aspect ratio of an image.
I will check Landscape and Color, because I don’t want any square or vertical images, nor do I want a black & white.
Only 1526 results left.
With Advanced filters, you can go into great detail. You can choose among your favourite authors, the number of people, age, gender, composition (the angle from which the person is photographed), and a viewpoint.
I chose that I want 1 person in my image and only women. I got 8 results now.
It shouldn’t be to difficult to choose the right one, now. 🙂 As you can see these filters are extremely powerful. In a matter of seconds, I narrowed my search from almost 10,000 results to 8.
To get even more insight into how Stock Photo Secrets work, you can watch this video by Amos.
About your guide
Matic Broz is a multifaceted creative professional, with experience as a photographer, graphic designer, and business owner. He has a decade of experience in helping other creatives improve their craft and start their own businesses. His writing and research have been featured in notable publications such as The Guardian, PetaPixel, and USA Today. Additionally, his scientific research has been recognized with a cover feature in the prestigious MDPI-owned journal. In his leisure time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and spending time with dogs. Read more
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