How Photutorial Rates Stock Photo Sites

Photutorial rates stock photo sites on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. The ratings are incremented by the tenths of a star — 3.2, 4.1, 4.7, and so on. Information about Photutorial’s rating systems and the factors that go into the assessments appears on this page.

Ratings Explained

What you need to know about the ratings:

  • Ratings are based on proprietary formulas that take into account the number of images, image quality and variety, free trial terms, customer support, licensing terms, and other factors that affect customer satisfaction.
  • Different categories of stock photo sites are rated using different formulas. For example, the factors that make something a great paid stock photo service are different from free stock photo sites.
  • Each stock photo site is rated according to its primary category. For example, a 5-star paid stock photo site is considered superior to a 4-star paid stock photo site, but not necessarily to a 4-star free or a 4-star unlimited downloads stock photo site as those stock photo sites usually cater to different target groups.

The editorial team

Photutorial’s stock photo sites content, including star ratings and reviews, is overseen by an editor who specializes in stock photography and whose work has been featured in Lifewire, Bustle, Printful, PetaPixel, Pixpa, Skylum, and many other highly-relevant photography-related websites.

Photutorial and its editor keep in touch with the stock photo providers to ensure that offers and information remain accurate. When the offer changes, Photutorial reviews, ratings, and lists are updated accordingly.

How the ratings work

Photutorial’s formulas calculate a rating for each stock photo site, ranging from 1.0 to 5.0. The rating is based on the core features of the stock photo provider, i.e. the factors that matter the most when choosing a source for your stock content.


The factors considered by the formula are based on the type of stock photo site being reviewed.

The ratings are in no way influced by the reviewed stock photo sites. Likewise, Photutorial holds the right to tweak the rating weights or factors at any time without prior notice to stock photo sites.

Paid stock photo sites

The rating for paid stock photo sites, meaning those that sell royalty-free licenses (or other paid licenses) is calculated this way:

  • Image quality & variety: 20%.
  • Price per image: 20%.
  • Free trial terms: 15%.
  • Pricing plans variety: 10%.
  • Image quantity: 10%.
  • Licensing terms: 10%.
  • Additional features: 10%.
  • Customer support: 5%

Image quality & variety are subjective metrics based on the editor’s research, based on dozens of popular and a few niche-speific search terms. The search results are evaluated in terms of images’ sentimental value, technical quality, percentage of image from unique photoshoots, and others.

Price per image is calculated for each site in US$ for every buying option.

Free trial terms reflect the number of images received, the duration, and the terms and conditions text, which often includes hidden fees or other tricks.

Pricing plans variety includes subscriptions and on-demand packs, the number of plans, payment options, and the number of downloads for each plan, rollovers, additional downloads, and refunds.

Image quantity, meaning the number of images, is related to image quality & variety, but considers the total number only.

Licensing terms are a metric of licensing terms and conditions, such as allowed number of copies, web distribution, legal indemnification, perpetuality, and enhanced licenses.

Additional features are bonus tools or services available alongside the images subscription purchases. Good examples include useful integrations, editing tools, and other workflow-enhancing features.

Customer support reflects the accessiblity and responsiveness of the stock photo site’s support team, as well as their ability to resolve problems.