A Quick Guide to Buying Stock Photos (Written by a Stock Photographer)

Which stock photo site is the best?

Stock Photography Explained

Web designers, graphic designers, and hobbyists often buy stock photos for their projects. There are many choices and quality levels available, and our guides can help you make better decisions about where to buy, what to buy, and how much you can expect to spend on stock images.

Stock Photo Subscription

Here’s the main features in subscriptions:

  • Access to collections not available to individual photo purchasers.
  • Subscription lengths of 1 month to 1 year, enabling flexibility based on project scope and stock photo needs.
  • Low, medium, and high resolution images available.
  • Choose different subscription levels depending on image resolution requirements. For example, some companies offer web res and print res subscriptions at different price points.
  • Price as low as fractions of a dollar per photo.
  • Hassle free Royalty-free licensing terms.

Average Subscription Prices

Prices differ from company to company and are based on number of downloads per month, image resolution, and quality of the collection available:

  • 3 month subscription: $200–600
  • 6 month subscription: $400–1,000
  • 1 year subscription: $500–2,000

A Great Option for Large Volume Buyers

Stock photo subscriptions are the best solution if you use lots of images every month, especially if you are under a tight budget or simply want to save money.

Single Image Purchasing

Stock photo agencies also sell images one by one, paying as you go. This are the key points in this buying option:

  • Low, Medium and High resolution available.
  • Discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Control how much to spend and when.
  • Flexible Royalty Free licenses.
  • No periodic fees nor extra liason with the agency.

Single Image Pricing

Price for a single photo depends on image resolution and content value. Some agencies price their assets in USD, but others use credits, a proprietary currency unit: they price their images in credits, and then sell you the necessary credits for you to buy the images.

Good Option to Control your Expenses

Single image purchase system is good enough if you’re only looking for a handful of photos every now and then.

Where to Buy Stock Photos? Shutterstock

If you’re searching for the perfect stock photos for your business, at an affordable and transparent price, Shutterstock is the best option. Shutterstock has more than 100 million royalty-free images to choose from. They have affordable pricing plans for casual users, small businesses, and large teams, so that you get the most value possible. You may be tempted to use other household names, like Getty Images, however, photos on these others sites will cost significantly more, and the difference in quality is negligible.

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Source: Getty Images
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Source: Shutterstock
  • While there are some subpar images, it is hard to beat the 247 million royalty-free images, stock footage clips, and music tracks. Having such a large amount of content allows you to find unique images, that are not being posted on every one of your competitors articles.
  • They have free and easy photo editing software, that makes social media marketing a breeze!
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Source: Shutterstock

How To Create Pinnable Images With Shutterstock Editor

Pinterest is a visual marketer’s playground. It’s a fantastic source of inspiration in any category you can think of, and individuals and brands are curating and organizing ideas by all sorts of criteria, making it easy to get a feel for trends as they arise. It also gives you an audience that’s already thirsty for great visual content. To make the best of the unique opportunity Pinterest presents to you as a marketer, use Shutterstock’s design tool, Editor.

Shutterstock Editor has everything you need to create beautiful, shareable pins on Pinterest and other social media platforms. Whether you license some of Shutterstock’s breathtaking images or upload your own for free, Editor can help you create professional-quality social media postings and visual marketing images.

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about the author casey botticello, casey botticello writer, casey botticello medium, medium casey botticello

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