Low cost stock photos: 14 incredible sites
There are millions of free photos you will find on the Internet but the ones that are perfect for your blog, your project and your business cannot be found outside of the premium stock photo sites. There are hundreds of websites on the Internet which sell low cost stock photos but not all of them sell premium quality low cost stock photos. On the other hand, there are also sites who charge no less than $50 a photo. But its time you stop burning holes in your pocket and read on. To make your run easy, I have listed the best of the best sites where you will find low cost stock photos at amazing prices worth striking your fancy and dumping your $50 stock photo website. These sites have every type of photo you will ever need. Prices vary from site to site and at times you need to weigh “quality plus requirement” against the spending amount.
When you search for low cost stock photos on these sites, you have the option to filter the image search for recency, price and color. You can even input hexadecimal color code to fine tune your search. You can include and exclude people also. In fact there are so many options that I guarantee would show up what you are looking for so dearly. On some sites you have an added option to search people by race so that a German website catering to local people does not buy the photos of a Chinese model.
Top Sites to find low cost Stock Photos
Brought to you by the popular Envato network of sites, you can buy incredibly beautiful low cost stock photos from Photodune using pre bought credits or purchase single images through PayPal or your credit or debit card. You can deposit a sum of $10 to $100 and when you buy an image the amount will be deducted from your account. If you are one of those who buy images very rarely, then buying single images through PayPal or your credit or debit card is the best deal. You will just be surcharged $2 for the instant service. Visit Photodune.
There are many options for buying images on Fotolia. First is that you can buy Credits. Credits are valid for the next 365 days so you don’t actually have to worry about your credits getting expired in a short time. You can buy a minimum of 10 credits for $14 and a maximum of 9,400 credits for $7,000. The second option is Subscription which is of two types- Monthly and Daily Subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions start at $25 for 5 XXL images (approx 5000 x 3000 pixels) or 10 M images (approx 1700 x 1100 pixels) per month up to $800 for 1000 XXL or 2000 M size images per month. There is no daily limit of how many images you can download. Also subscriptions never expire, your unused downloads roll over to the next month for as long you go on subscribing. Secondly there is Daily Subscription. You can choose how many images (25 to 500) you want to download per day. You can also select the number of users. If you are in an organization and your colleagues also require a plan, so why not include them in the same plan and save a fortune. You can check out all these plans and pricing for yourself on the Fotolia website.
There are two types of subscriptions on 123RF- Basic and Premium. Each subscription is for a period of 30, 90, 180 and 365 days. In the basic subscription you have a cap on 5 images a day and on the premium subscription, you can download a maximum of 26 images a day. Basic subscription ranges from 69 Pounds to 509 Pounds and premium subscription ranges from 149 Pounds to 1249 Pounds. You can also buy as many credits you want. This site has a unique feature called the 123RF Wizard which comes handy if you are in a dilemma to select a plan. It asks a few basic questions and shows you the best plan as per your need. Give a try to 123RF.
Dreamstime sells some of the best low cost stock photos you see on blogs and online publications. You can opt for buying credits as well as subscriptions. You can buy minimum 11 credits to an unlimited number of credits where the number of downloads should be less than or equal to the credits bought. The credits are always valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. If you want to bulk download, better choose the subscription plans. You can save a lot. You can buy a weekly subscription but buying a monthly or longer subscription is cost effective. If you are a subscriber you can download either 25 or 50 images a day and your price will be set accordingly. Visit Dreamstime.
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Deposit photos offer pay as you go credit plans and subscription plans. You can buy minimum 50 credits for $50 up to a maximum 99999 credits for $90,000. Subscription plans are of two types- Daily and Monthly, both of which can be opted for 1,3,6 and 12 months. In the daily subscription plan you can download 5 images per day up to a maximum 200 images per day which ranges from $69 to $1259 for a 1 month period. The prices will be adjusted accordingly if you choose longer subscription plans. Visit DepositPhotos.
CanstockPhoto offers professional quality low cost stock photos. Here, a 15 credits pack costs $9. At most you can purchase 450 credits at a cost of $200. But the downside is that a small sized photo would cost you 2 credits. There is a week, month, 6 months and 1 year subscription plans on canstockphoto. Subscriptions allow you download a fixed number of images within 24 hours and you need to remember that unlike most other sites mentioned here, remaining downloads on canstockphoto do not roll over to the next day. The 1 week subscription plan costs you $39 if you download a maximum of 10 images a day and it will cost you $289 if you download 100 images a day. Really an awesome plan if you are looking for low cost yet quality images. The best deal which struck me is that if you subscribe to the 1 year plan and download 100 images a day you will have to pay $5619 for the 36,500 images you download. That’s expensive of course but for large businesses this plan is incredible when compared to other sites. Visit CanStockPhoto.
On Cutcaster you will find only credit packs- Bronze, Silver, Gold and Custom credit packs. Credits start from 12 for $16.99 and you can buy a maximum of 2000 credits in the custom pack for $1780. On cutcaster you can download images for as less as 1 credit. Visit CutCaster.
Photaki offers 100 credits (plus 12 gifted credits) for 100 EUR (121 EUR including VAT) up to a maximum 5000 credits (plus 3250 gifted credits) for 5,000 EUR (6,050 EUR including VAT). If you want to download more, it has subscription plans available. If you buy a 1 month subscription plan and download 10 images a day then you will have to pay 119.99 EUR (145.18 EUR including VAT). And if you chose to download 300 images a day then you will have to pay 3406.25 EUR (4,121.56 EUR including VAT). If you choose a 1 year subscription plan and download 10 images a day, then you will have to pay 1,235 EUR (1,494.35 EUR including VAT) and if you choose to download 300 images a day, then you will have to pay 21,900 EUR (26,499 EUR including VAT). Since Photaki falls under European jurisdiction, it is bound to include VAT which in turn raises the price. Check Photaki for yourself.
Mostphotos has very unique pricing criteria. Suppose you want to purchase single images you have to pay $5 for the small, $15 for the medium and $35 for the large size. On the other hand, you have monthly, 6 monthly and yearly packages to choose from. 10 images a month will cost you $39 if you choose the monthly plan and it will cost you $33 per month if you choose the yearly package. Similarly, 700 images per month (maximum) will cost you $419 if you choose the monthly package and it will cost you $356 if you choose the 1 year package. You can also choose pre-paid downloads which are similar to credit packs. For 5, 15 and 30 downloads you will have to pay 69, 159 and $199 respectively. This plan lets you download images of any size and is valid for 1 year. Visit MostPhotos.
Besides credits and subscription plans, Crestock offers an added flavor- the pay as you go plan. In the credits option you can choose a minimum 10 credits pack for $10 and a 1000 credits pack would cost you $750. The maximum number of images you download is equal to the credits you buy. You can also choose subscription plans for 1, 3, 6 and 12 months respectively costing you 199, 529, 959 and $1799 respectively. In the subscription plans you can download a maximum 20 images a day. In the pay as you go option, you can download an extra small size (approx 400×300 pixels) image for $1, small size (approx. 800×500 pixels) image for $4 and so on. Check out Crestock.
Graphicleftovers is more illustration than images, though you will find thousands of beautiful low cost stock photos on the site. This site has no subscription or credit bindings. On graphicleftovers you can make a deposit of $20, $30, $50, $75 (plus $25 bonus), $100, $150 (plus $30 bonus) and $200 (plus $40 bonus) and the amounts will be deducted from your balance when you buy images. When you want more images, just deposit money according to your requirement and enjoy buying images from GraphicLeftOvers.
On Stockfresh you can buy 5 credits for $4.99 up to 500 credits for $379.99 where the smallest sized (approx. 400×300 pixels) photo or vector graphic would cost you 1 credit. As always for bulk downloads, buy a subscription plan. There are two types of subscription plans, one where you can download a maximum of 5 images a day up to M size and the other is an option to download a maximum of 25 images a day up to M size. The 1 month plan for 5 images a day would cost you $99 while that for 25 images a day would cost you $199. If you choose the 1 year plan indeed, download limit of 5 images a day would cost you $849 and 25 images a day would cost you $1799. You need to remember that if you want to download images larger than the M size, then you have to purchase extra credits. Another thing you need to know is that using the subscription plan you cannot download vectors but you need not worry, they have more images than vectors. Visit StockFresh.
On Fantero you can look for some real low cost stock photos once you add money- $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Adding $20 you get $1 bonus, adding $50 you get $5 bonus and adding $100 you get $11 bonus. Each image here will cost you only $1 whatever the size. Visit Fantero.
Pixmac’s basic 30 credit pack costing $29.95 can be used to buy 30 small, 7 large or 6 high resolution images. The maximum credits you can buy is 3000 costing you $2759.70 where you get to download 3000 small, 750 large or 600 high resolution images. Subscription packs start at $99.95 per month which converts into credits for a maximum of 15 credits a day. At the top end you can get 100 credits a day for $299.95 per month. It is a bit expensive compared to the rest but you have flexible choices here. If you have a promo code, you can redeem it and avail discounts.
One of the downsides of this site is that if you buy credits you can download any image (from more than 7 million) on their site but if you buy subscription packs you will be able to download images from the subscription collection only (a little less than 3 million images). Though the subscription collection may have almost any photo you are looking for. Visit Pixmac.
(UPDATE: pixmac has recently been acquired by pond 5)
Now you have to decide which sites suit you the most when it comes to low cost stock photos. If you want your perfect image, one single site may not do, indeed a couple of sites would be better. Never overuse or under-use your plan. If you are a regular blogger blogging the year round, then you would require around 300 photos to spice up your blog and if you are an established news agency with a post every half hour, there are subscription plans that would do wonders for you. This list is a random list but if I were to list them from 5 to 1, then the sequence would have been Photodune, Canstockphoto, Dreamstime, 123RF and Fotolia. If there is anything else you need to know or if there are other sites which offer incredible low cost stock photos, do let me know in the comments below and do not forget to subscribe to our mailing list so that you don’t miss out on anything.