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Microstock Site Comparison


Who has the Best Value Images?

Microstock agencies source their images from both amateur and professional image contributors; this allows them to keep costs down instead of employing in house photographers or commissioning work. Contributors work to strict quality standards and a paid a royalty on each image downloaded. Prices cost from less than $1 to about $15+ depending on the resolution.

Credit Packs
Most microstock sites sell images for 'credits' so you can download multiple images, but several do offer a 'buy it now' option for a single image. Credits allow the agency to pass on payment processing savings to the buyer - buying a single image is usually much more expensive than a pack of credits for e.g. 10 images. Buyers should take note if unused credits expire e.g. after 12 months.

Microstock Prices
Microstock sites vary their prices in a number of ways. Most agencies offer very lost cost images, but the price is usually calculated for a bulk purchase and only for a low resolution image. Higher resolutions suitable for print use cost more. Vector illustrations and video are much more expensive than images. Comparing subscriptions is even harder, see the section on subscriptions further down the page.

Buying Tips

Microstock Sites Sorted by Price:

Site Link Approx. Number of Images Available Typical Cost of a 2 Megapixel Image ($US)
22,000,000 Images $ 1.8
2,000,000 Images $ 2
30,000,000 Images $ 2
5,000,000 Images $ 3
7,000,000 Images $ 3
44,000,000 Images $ 4.8
27,000,000 Images $ 5
44,000,000 Images $ 5
36,000,000 Images $ 8.4
14,000,000 Images $ 14+
70,000,000 Images $ 9
5,000,000 Images
$ 12
11,000,000 Images $ 13.8


source data: microstockinsider.com

Microstock Subscriptions

Almost all of the agencies listed here offer a subscription service where you can pay a single fee for access to a fixed number of downloads in a set time period, e.g. 25 images per day. This often works out the best value for image users with a regular new for images. For more occasional use the best value is offered by purchasing a 'credit pack' which will, for example, allow 10 downloads over the space of 12 months.

Comparing subscriptions is not easy! Some agencies offer subscriptions by way of blocks of credits per day, this will reduce the number of images you can download if you need high resolutions (conversely it offers favourable prices if you need only low resolutions). Some are flexible and allow downloads at any time during the subscription, others have a fixed quantity per day or week. - use it or lose it.

Subscription Comparison Checklist:

Subscription Prices Compared:


Site Link


Subscription Options

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)

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

Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month),
Monthly: 20 images/day $179
Annual: 20 images/day $1799

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

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 (* our choice for volume subscriptions)
Annual: 25 images/day $1649
Annual: 50 images-vectors-video/day $4122
(Multi-user options available)

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)

Monthly, 10 web res images/day $99
Monthly, 30 high resolution images/day $199

Multiple Combinations of Downloads (100-750 for entire period), Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month), variable size (web, print and max available)
Monthly: 100 web images 49 Euros
Annual: 100 web images 420 Euros
Annual: 100 print images 1020 Euros
(multi-seat license options available)

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

Monthly, 5 images/day, $99 Monthly, 25 images/day, $245 Annual, 25 images/day, $1799

Multiple Combinations of Downloads per week (60-2880), Length of Subscription (1,3,6,12 month/by weeks) Monthly: 60 images/week $223 (based on converted value)
Monthly: 60 images/week $1455 (based on converted value)
Annual: 360 images/week $7535 (based on converted value)
Annual: 2880 images/week $51811 (based on converted value)

Monthly: 15 images/day $279
Annual: 15 images/day $2499 (multi seat and enhanced licenses on request)


source data: microstockinsider.com

 

Microstock Terminology

Learn more in our guide to stock photography jargon

Photo Credit: misterQM/photocase.com