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Images are a vital part of how we communicate. Whether it’s websites, newsletters, brochures, advertisements, posters, magazines, flyers, fast postcards or anything else, they’re an essential tool.

When guest bloggers submit their articles, I usually format them and revise them before publishing. One important part of revising, is of course adding related images. Text by itself is boring, readers like to have visual representation that showcases the topic they are trying to get across.


What is Stock Photography?

Every day you see pictures in magazines, advertisement, posters, online and on TV. The reality is most of the images used were not created specifically for that product, concept, or promotion. The images those companies use are stock photographs.

Stock photos are ready-made images that are licensable for use in your advertising or promotional materials. This smooth ability to search for a specific image saves time and money. At the end of the day quite frankly, that is what businesses want.


How Does it Work?

Most stock photography businesses operate on a credit based system. This allows you to purchase more credits at a discount over the basic credit rate. Usually you will run into these two pricing models:  downloads of single images, or subscription packs.

Hands down if you are planning to download multiple images, a subscription pack would be a smart buy. If you really just need a single image, usually the prices are reflected on the resolution of the image.


What is the Big Deal?

Stock Photography has two sides to it. The consumer and the photographer. As expected, the consumers browse the images and download them. Photographers on the other hand can submit their photography and get paid a percentage if their image gets downloaded.

If you are a photographer that is looking to make some extra money on the side, this option is always available. This idea of taking a few hundred photos and making a fortune should leave your brain right now.

You might stumble upon articles arguing that microstock is bad for the industry. Just like Netflix took-out Blockbuster out of business, every industry evolves in some shape or form. Complaining about it will not get you anywhere. Ideas are always evolving and we must adapt to the outcomes.

In microstock business you should have tree things handy to succeed: they are time, patience, and a good camera. These of course are the necessary parts considering that you are a good photographer.


This article was to give you a small insight on a big market. Below we have listed the top 15 websites do download and submit your stock images. We also collected some important stats:

  1. Subscriptions (allows you to see their pricing model)
  2. Cost of a standard image (allows you to see the value for your money)
  3. Photo Collection (showcases how many images you have access to)
  4. Photographers (demonstrated the competition you have if you are pursuing to submit your images)

Without further ado, we hope you will find this information of use and hopefully worthy of a bookmark!

Note: Before going any further please realize that all of the following stats were collected on 11/11


1. Stock Photo Secrets Shop

Discover where to buy Stock Photos and what are the Best Stock Photo Agencies and save money with our Stock Images Offers.

Stock Photo Secrets Shop is a stock photo agency aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. We offer high-quality, Royalty free stock images in the most affordable and flexible buying options, tailored specifically for limited budgets.

Run by a professional team lead by an accomplished stock media industry expert, our Shop has millions of stock photos, vector illustrations and fonts sourced from talented photographers, they’re ready to download and use, and come at all available sizes at no added cost.

Stats & Information


  • 99club – 200 images per year for $99 – Yearly subscription with annual download cap
  • Monthly plans for 25/50/500 images – Between $35 and $105 per month – From $389 and $999 billed annually for the 50 and 500 downloads plans respectively
  • Image packs (on demand) for 5/10/25 images ranging from $39 to $149

Cost of a standard image: $0.16 to $0.49 with subscriptions – $5.95 to $7.80 with image packs

Photo collection: Over 5 million photos, vectors and fonts – Up to 100,000 new files every month


2. Shutterstock

Shutterstock is the largest subscription-based stock photo agency in the world. Every day we add thousands of photographs, illustrations, and vectors to our outstanding collection of premium, royalty-free images. Select the subscription plan that’s best for you and start downloading today.

Stats & Information


Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month), Monthly: 25 images-vectors/day $249 Annual: 25 images-vectors/day $2559

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:  9 Credits Photo Collection: 16,868,648 Photographers: 329,542


3. Dreamstime

Dreamstime is a distinguished leader in stock photography and a major supplier of high quality digital images at unbelievable prices. All stock images available are provided by Dreamstime community’s photographers, shot on film or digital and approved by our editors. Structured on categories and subcategories, the database is renewed with thousands of fresh images and titles on a daily basis.

Stats & Information


Multiple Combinations of Downloads (10-50), Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month), Weekly: 10 credits/day $49.99 Monthly: 30 credits/day $128.99 Annual: 10 credits/day $1299.99 Annual: 50 credits/day $3739.99

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:  7 Credits Photo Collection: 12,000,000+ Photographers: 120,000+


4. Fotolia

Fotolia is devoted to offering affordable creative imagery. Our crowdsourced library includes millions of royalty-free images, vectors, illustrations and video footage clips. Whether you’re a professional designer, manager, presenter, small business owner or student, the right images for your website, brochures, reports, and slides are available on Fotolia.

Stats & Information


Multiple Combinations of Downloads (25-250), Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month), Images and Images Vectors and Footage Options. Monthly: 25 images/day $199 Annual: 25 images/day $1649 Annual: 50 images-vectors-video/day $4122 (Multi-user options available)

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:  5 Credits Photo Collection: 15,155,048+ Photographers: 150,000+


5. iStockphoto

iStockphoto is the web’s original source for royalty-free stock images, media and design elements. For over 10 years artists, designers and photographers from all over the world have come here to create, work and learn. Although iStockphoto started with just a few photos in 2000, we now offer vector illustrations, videos, music and sound effects, Flash and, coming soon, logos.

Stats & Information


Multiple Combinations of Downloads (10/30-480), Length of Subscription (3,6,12 month), Credit based not per image, allows download of video, flash and vectors at relevant credit level. 3 Month: 30 credits/day $979 Annual: 10 credits/day $1299 Annual: 60 credits/day $6730 (corporate accounts have separate price structure)

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:  6 Credits Photo Collection: 7,000,000+ Photographers: 80,000+


6. Bigstockphoto

Bigstock is your fast, easy-to-use marketplace for quality stock images. We offer over 8 million royalty-free photographs and illustrations from talented photographers and artists around the globe, available for almost any purpose.

Stats & Information

Subscriptions: Pay As You Go/Credit Packs

  • 6 credits/$13
  • 25 credits/$49
  • 100 credits/$169
  • 250 credits/$339
  • 500 credits/$495

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:  2 Credits Photo Collection: 8,000,000+ Photographers: N/A


7. 123rf is your one-stop royalty-free photo library offering stunning, practical stock photos at the most affordable price! We’ve got the latest photos right here – refreshing, intriguing images for your creative projects. For a single subscription fee, you can get access to a wealth of high-resolution images. Alternatively, you may purchase credits and download images, all for a very low rate.

Stats & Information


Two options, 5 or 26 images daily, Length of Subscription 1,3,12 month Monthly 5 credits/day $137 (based on converted price) Annual: 5 credits/day $274 (based on converted price) Annual: 26 credits/day $2376 (based on converted price)

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx:   2 Credits Photo Collection: 11,179,406+ Photographers: N/A


8. Canstockphoto

Can Stock Photo is one of the world’s largest microstock photography agencies. We are home to thousands of photographers, and tens of thousands of active members from around the world. We represent some of the most talented photographers online, and service clients from small businesses to major television networks. With thousands of images uploaded and downloaded every week, we are always on the move!

Stats & Information


Two options, 10 or 25 images daily, Length of Subscription weekly, 1,12 month Week 10 images/day $35.95 Month: 10 images/day $99.95 Annual: 10 images/day $769.95 Annual: 25 images/day $1199.95

Cost of a standard image (1600×1200) 2MP approx: 3 Credits Photo Collection: 5,000,000+ Photographers: 15,000+

Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos for Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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