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November 6, 2011

Royalty Free Stock Photo Web Sites Comparison

magnifying glass

We examine royalty free stock photo web sites

I took Don Crowther’sadvice last year and started to build my image library.  I was trying to minimize the cost per image as I wanted quite a few to choose from in my library.  Something crazy in my brain figured out that fotolia’s 100 images/day deal was the best value.  So I paid the $747 price and started downloading my 100 files.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

I immediately realized I had bitten off a HUGE time commitment to find, download and file away 100 images per day.  I think I figured out I had made a huge mistake about 10 minutes into my first day’s downloads.  I ended up spending 2 hours per day for the next month downloading images!Streaming and download Kong: Skull Island (2017)

I learned my lesson

Now it’s 1 year later and I’d like to start adding fresh images to my library.  I’ve been looking at the same images for 1 year now after all.  I’ve probably only used 10% to 15% of the images in my library so I’m going to throttle back my image purchases this time.  I have three requirements:

– I don’t want to spend more than $650 maximum
– I want to keep the cost per image to $0.25 or less
– I don’t want to download more than 30 files per day. 25 or less is better.

My research

With those restrictions in mind, I started to do some price comparisons of the various royalty free stock photo websites available.  The following table shows my research with current prices as of today and how many images each website says they have.  The cells with the green background color meet my requirements of price and cost per image:

http://www.photos.com/ 2.6 million
100/week (14/day)
Images
Cost/Image
3 Months
$299
1300
0.23
6 Months
$549
2600
0.21
1 Year
 $988
5200
0.19
http://us.fotolia.com/ 15 million
25/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $249
750
 $0.33
3 Months
 $649
2250
 $0.29
6 Months
 $1,199
4500
 $0.27
1 Year
 $2,099
9000
 $0.23
http://www.shutterstock.com/ 16.8 million
25/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $249
750
 $0.33
3 Months
 $709
2250
 $0.32
1 Year
 $2,559
9000
 $0.28
http://www.123rf.com/ 11.1 million
26/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $230
780
 $0.29
3 Months
 $590
2340
 $0.25
1 Year
 $1,960
9360
 $0.21
http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/
25/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $299
750
 $0.40
1 Year
 $2,388
9000
 $0.27
http://www.photospin.com/ 2.1 million
25/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $188
750
 $0.25
3 Months
 $388
2250
 $0.17
6 Months
 $688
4500
 $0.15
1 Year
 $1,188
9000
 $0.13
http://www.ingimage.com/ 1 million
35/day
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $199
1050
 $0.19
3 Months
 $339
3150
 $0.11
1 Year
 $889
12600
 $0.07
http://www.istockphoto.com/
30/day
Images
Cost/Image
3 Months
 $979
2700
 $0.36
6 Months
 $1,862
5400
 $0.34
1 Year
 $3,542
10800
 $0.33
http://www.photosxpress.com/ 12.7 million
500/month
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $550
500
 $1.10
25/month
Images
Cost/Image
1 Month
 $37.50
25
 $1.50

Results

Only rows with both price and cost per images columns in green are contenders for me. This leaves me with:

http://www.photos.com/ 3 and 6 month plans
http://www.123rf.com/ 3 month plan
http://www.photospin.com/ 1 and 3 month plans
http://www.ingimage.com/ 1 and 3 month plans

The most tempting is http://www.ingimage.com/ based on price and cost per image, which are $199/$0.19 and $339/$0.11. The problem I think is it only has 1 million images. Only http://www.123rf.com/ has over 10 million images and wins on my other criteria. I’ll do sample searches on all four contender sites, but I have a feeling 123 Royalty Free will win.

iStock Photo, Shutter Stock and Think Stock Photos had some beautiful photos, but I can’t justify the price yet. If you have a bigger budget, I would consider them.

Conclusion

There are many websites selling royalty free stock photos. It’s not hard to get great photos for your website at affordable prices. Do some sample searches on each site to see if it has photos you’re interested in. Don’t make my mistake from last year of ordering 100 images per day if you work alone.

Start building YOUR photo library. You won’t regret it.

Where do you get your photos? Leave a comment below!

UPDATE
I did several searches on the sites and found Shutterstock had the best images for my needs. I found an online coupon for a 10% discount. After I did a 1 month subscription, I noticed the auto-renew was turned on. Make sure you turn that off or you’ll get rebelled the next month!

I went to turn it off and Shutterstock offered to reduce my monthly bill another 5% so the $249/month program is now only $212.80/month. At this price, for 25 images per day, that is $0.283 per image. It’s slightly more than I wanted to pay but the selection of over 16.8 million images is amazing. I’ll write up Shutterstock later after I use it for a while.

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Tom Nunamaker

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

shirit - December 29, 2011 Reply

We use depositphotos.com
10 a day
for 100 dollar a month.
i was looking around now for a site that may offer a bigger verity of photos, but deposit photos seems to win when it comes to price..

    Tom Nunamaker - December 29, 2011 Reply

    Nice one! I like $99/month price for 10 images/day. Even the 25/day I just finished with shutter stock was a big chore. 10/day is plenty.

Atul Tayade - February 12, 2012 Reply

Hi,

I am a starter in the blogosphere. I am just beginning to build my website as well. I was in search of good photos. I believe your post would help a lot. The idea of building an image library sounds good.

By the way I myself am a photographer so i was planning to use my own images. However once in a while i might required stock royalty free images.

Thanks 🙂

    Tom Nunamaker - February 14, 2012 Reply

    I have pretty good camera equipment but it’s nice to have images of places you’ll never get to, or people in different settings without having to worry about model releases etc.

Francisco - June 1, 2013 Reply

Dear Tom
I liked what you said about With those restrictions in mind, I started to do some price comparisons of the various royalty free stock photo websites available
Follow this kind of items because they are very good, congratulations.

Tesur Rajan - September 2, 2013 Reply

Hi Tom,
I know some of the websites mentioned above. It’s really nice comparison…thanks. By the way, I would like tell you that DepositPhotos is also a good place to get stock photos and what’s more interesting is that they offer free subscription to blogger who promote Depositphotos by writing a site-related review. Anyways, it’s a great post… keep it up. Thanks!

royalty free images - May 6, 2015 Reply

very useful topics

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