Adobe Stock Review

Written by Matic Broz @matic_broz
(Updated on July 27, 2021)

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Adobe Stock Review

Recommended
$0 $0.26/image
10 free images
$0.26/image
Adobe Stock Subscriptions
I select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, I may earn commissions, which help support my testing.
PROS
  • 220+ million images
  • Free trial with 10 images
  • Great for designers that use Creative Cloud
  • Adobe is extremely reputable
CONS
  • High subscription prices ($0.26/image)
  • No discount code
  • Support is very slow/unresponsive

As an artist or a designer, don’t you hate when you download a stock photo and include it within your project, and it doesn’t fit?

Adobe Stock solves exactly this problem!

Thanks to its integration into the Creative Cloud, you can test as many images within your design as you want and purchase them once you’re happy with the result.

Sounds pretty great, right?

Here’s how it works …

Although it’s quite a young stock photo agency, Adobe Stock is without a doubt a trustworthy stock photo service. In only 5 years, it has accumulated 260+ million stock images, 20 million videos, 38 thousand audio files, 52,000+ templates.

This accomplishment was made possible by Adobe’s acquisition of Fotolia, a still-operational stock photo site.

Adobe Stock has been seamlessly integrated into the Creative Cloud platform, which provides a smooth and enjoyable experience to anyone using Photoshop or other Adobe programs.

Price

Adobe Stock sells stock photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, and audio files with subscription plans and on-demand with credits. The prices start at $0.26 per image for a Standard license and $79.99 for an Extended license.

It sells stock photos with subscription plans and on-demand packs.

  • Subscriptions plans give you a fixed amount of downloads each month, for which you pay a fixed amount of money each month until you cancel the plan. They are the most cost-efficient option, but you must commit for at least a month or a year.
  • On-demand packs are a one-time purchase for which you get a fixed amount of credits. You can then use the credits to purchase stock photos, illustrations, videos, and more. They are more expensive than subscriptions because you don’t need to make any long-term commitment.

However, on-demand packs are more flexible than subscriptions because you don’t depend on monthly downloads. You can use the credits within one year of purchase.

Another essential difference between the two options is content availability. Subscription plans allow you to download high-resolution standard images, standard templates, 3D assets, and music tracks. But to get premium images, premium templates, premium 3D and Editorial assets, or videos, you need to purchase credits.

Subscription plans

You can opt between Annual and Month-to-month (monthly) subscription plans. The former requires a yearly contract but comes at a lower price/image, while the latter requires only a monthly commitment but comes at a higher price/image.

Adobe Stock Monthly vs Annual
Annual vs Monthly commitment (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Regardless of whether you opt for an annual or a monthly plan, there are 4 different plan sizes. Plan size means how many images (or assets) you may download each month.

Adobe Stock pricing gif
Annual vs Month-to-month subscription price (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Generally, the larger the subscription plan, the more expensive it is, but it’s also more cost-efficient, resulting in a lower price per asset. Assets include standard images, templates, 3D files, and music tracks.

If you ever run out of downloads during a month, you can purchase additional for $2.99, $1.99, or $0.99, depending on the plan (the larger the plan, the cheaper additional downloads).

Annual subscription plans

Annual subscription plans are on average twice as cheap as month-to-month plans. The pricing starts at only $0.26/asset, which is the lowest price for an image you can get at Adobe Stock.

The pricing and price per asset of each annual subscription:

Assets per monthMonthly costPrice/assetFree trial?
10$29.99$2.99
40$79.99$1.99
350$169.99$0.48
750$199.99$0.26
Annual subscription plans pricing

When you don’t use all your assets in a given month, they are rolled over to another month. Rollovers are available with 3-, 10-, and 40-images/month plans, with which you can choose to roll over 120-480 unused assets from month to month, depending on your subscription plan size.

Additionally, with 10 and 40 monthly assets annuals plans, you get a free trial of 10 images for 30 days. I warmly recommend you try it out. Here’s how you can get the free trial.

Adobe Stock free trial
Free trial (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Month-to-month subscription plans

Monthly subscription plans are more expensive than annual plans, but you can cancel them at any time without consequences. The price per image (or asset) starts at $0.33. Sadly, month-to-month plans do not offer a free trial. However, this makes sense for Adobe Stock since you don’t need to commit to them.

The table below represents the pricing and price per asset of each month-to-month subscription plan.

Assets per monthMonthly costPrice/assetFree trial?
3$29.99$9.99
40$99.99$2.49
350$199.99$0.57
750$249.99$0.33
Month-to-month subscription plans pricing.

As you can see, month-to-month subscription plans are from 1.27x up to 3.33x more expensive than the annual subscription plans; hence, it’s vital to decide how long you will need stock images. If you only need them for a couple of months, month-to-month plans are the best option for you; in contrast, if you know you’ll need stock images for at least a year, the annual subscription plans are an obvious choice to the lower price per image.

Credit packs

Use credit packs to purchase credits in bulk and save. The more credits you buy, the more money you save because the price per credit goes down.

Adobe Stock review - Credit packs pricing
Screenshot of Credit packs (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Credit packs offer more flexibility and are, therefore, a better option when you don’t need content regularly. Moreover, you can use credits to downloads content that is not included in subscription plans.

Credit packs pricing:

Number of creditsPricePrice/creditYou save
5$49.95$9.99/
16$149.99$9.37$10
40$359.99$8.99$40
80$669.99$8.37$129
150$1,200.00$8.00$299
Credit packs pricing (Savings are calculated as price/credit for 5 credits multiplied by the number of credits, minus the price. For example: ($9.99×40) – $359.99 ≅ $40)

While standard images, templates, and audio cost from 1 credit, premium content costs a lot more.

  • Videos (HD, 4K): 8-20 Credits
  • Premium images (photos, vectors, illustrations): 12-50 Credits
  • Premium templates (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign): 2-4 Credits
  • Premium 3D (Models, Lights, Materials): 2-10 Credits

Credits last for one year after the purchase. In contrast to subscription plans, credits do not auto-renew, meaning you need to buy more manually when you run out of them.

Licenses

Adobe Stock sells stock photos under three licenses: Standard, Enhanced, and Extended. Each license comes with different obligations, prices, and uses.

Note: I will only cover Adobe Stock licensing for individuals and Creative Cloud for teams members. Enterprises should refer to the Enterprise License Page.

UseStandardEnhancedExtended
Unlimited web views
Email marketing, mobile advertising, social media, or a broadcast program
Can modify the asset*
Up to 500,000 copies or views
More than 500,000 copies or views
Used in merchandise, templates, or other products for resale
License comparison table

*See Editorial Use Only restrictions.

Now let’s look at all licenses in detail:

Standard license

A Standard license is a form of a royalty-free license, which is the most basic licence that you acquire with every image you download from Adobe Stock. The license states that once you download the asset, you may use it for as long as you want, but you’re not the owner of the asset.

You may:

  • Reproduce it up to 500,000 times.
  • Use it in email marketing, mobile advertising or a broadcast or digital program to expect a viewership of less than 500,000.
  • Post it on the website and social media with no limitation on views.
  • Use the asset in books and similar products that will not be reproduced more than 500,000 times.
  • Share the un-modified asset with your employees and contractors as long as they abide by the rules.
  • Transfer the license to your client or employer.

You may not:

  • Distribute the stand-alone file.
  • Create any product where the product’s primary value is the asset for resale (for example, T-shirts).
  • Transfer the license to more than one employer or client.

Enhanced license

Enhanced licenses are more expensive than Standard licenses, but they allow for higher reproduction rates.

You may:

  • Use the asset with all the rights granted with the Standard license.
  • Reproduce the asset beyond 500,000 copies/views.

You may not:

  • Distribute the stand-alone file.
  • Create any sort of product where the primary value of the product is the asset for resale (for example, T-shirts).

Extended license

Extended license is the most comprehensive license and grants you virtually all the rights to the asset. Except, you may never resell or distribute the standalone file.

You may:

  • Use the asset with all the rights granted with the Standard license.
  • Reproduce the asset beyond 500,000 copies/views.
  • Create any sort of product where the primary value of the product is the asset for resale (for example, T-shirts).

You may not:

  • Distribute the stand-alone file.

Editorial Use

In addition to license restrictions that I’ve already described, certain assets are labelled with Editorial Use Only.

Such assets may only be used regarding events or topics which are featured in the news or are of public interest. These may not be used for commercial purposes, such as advertisements, promotions, commercial blogs, etc.

Additionally, Editorial Use Only assets may not be modified, except for cropping and resolution change. Additionally, they must include a credit line, for example, Agency Name/Contributor Name – stock.adobe.com.

Image Search

Adobe Stock put a lot of effort to make image search as valuable to its customers as possible. When you look for stock images, it’s all about finding the right content, and Adobe intelligent search does that exactly.

In the left sidebar (see the screenshot below), you can filter by categories, price, orientation, number of people, colours, and even the depth of field.

Adobe Stock image Search Filters
Image Filter options (Credit: Adobe Stock)

By smart use of these filters, you can narrow down your search in a matter of seconds to find the perfect image for your project.

How to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark?

Downloading images without a watermark from Adobe Stock is simple and can be done with 4 methods.

  1. Using a free trial.
  2. Downloading from a collection of 70k free images.
  3. Using a Creative Cloud to insert images into a design.
  4. Purchasing a subscription plan.
  5. Purchasing credits.

1. Free Trial

Adobe Stock has a 1-month free trial during which you can get 10 or 40 free assets. It is completely free because you can cancel the free trial at any time and not pay for anything. This way, you’ll be able to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark.

To get Adobe Stock free trial, follow these 6 simple steps:

Total time: 3 minutes

  1. Go to Adobe Stock.

    Use this link to go to Adobe Stock.

  2. Click on the “START YOUR FREE MONTH” button.

    This will take you to the payment page. Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay anything.

  3. Enter all your details.

    This is just to avoid abusing the system with bots.

  4. Click the “Place Secure Order” button.

    You won’t pay anything.

  5. Wait a couple of seconds to get a confirmation.
  6. Start downloading free images.

    Now, you have 30 days to download 10 free images from Adobe Stock.

2. Free Images

Adobe Stock offers 67,508 (as of Dec 4, 2020) images that you can download for absolutely free. No more need to be said. These images are licensed under a Standard License, and you must abide by the rules and terms of it.

3. Image Download

Unlike other stock photo sites, Adobe Stock has two ways to download images – which one you’re going to choose, depends on whether you’re going to use an image as a part of Creative Cloud or not.

If you’re a Creative Cloud user

This is the beautiful part of Adobe Stock’s integration into Creative Cloud. You don’t have to purchase the image first, and then edit it. You can edit the image as much as you want with a watermark, and only when you’re happy with it, you purchase it. If you realise halfway through your project that you picked the wrong photo, there’s no problem – simply choose another one cost-free.

Here are the steps:

  1. Log in to your Creative Cloud
  2. Open your design app, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
  3. Go to Library and search for Adobe Stock
  4. Select an image
  5. Edit it as much as you want with a watermark on
  6. When you’re happy with it, click on the image to purchase it
  7. You’re done

If you’re not a Creative Cloud user

Alternatively, if you’re not a Creative Cloud user, you can download images from Adobe Stock just like from any other stock photo site.

  1. Go to the Adobe Stock website
  2. Search for an image using the search bar
  3. Enter your keyword
  4. Narrow down your search using filters
  5. Click on the image you like
  6. Purchase or download it
  7. Done!

Downloading images from Adobe Stock really couldn’t be any easier.

Alternatives

Adobe Stock is great, especially for creators, but if you’re only after the images, it might not be the best fit for you. Therefore, I recommend the following stock photo sites, based on your need.

I recommend these 5 Adobe Stock alternatives:

  • Shutterstock (Go to Shutterstock | Read my Shutterstock review)
    Shutterstock is the largest and the most popular stock photo agency. It has over 360 million files in its library, a free trial of 10 images, and charges $0.22/image.
  • Dreamstime (Go to Dreamstime | Read my Dreamstime review)
    Dreamstime is my favourite stock photo agency and, uncoincidentally, the cheapest. As a Dreamstime partner, I arranged a 30% discount, which you can get by clicking on “Dreamstime”. The pricing starts at $0.158/image.
  • Depositphotos (Go to Depositphotos | Read my Depositphotos review)
    Depositphotos is the favourite of many bloggers primarily due to a healthy mix of many images and low prices.
  • Alamy (Go to Alamy | Read my Alamy review)
    Alamy is strictly an on-demand stock photo agency and one of the leading players in the stock photo community.
  • Photocase (Go to Photocase | Read my Photocase review)
    Photocase is quite expensive, but it sells highly-curated premium stock photos that you won’t find anywhere else.

If you need a list of even more Adobe Stock alternatives, read my list of the best stock photo sites.

Adobe Stock vs Shutterstock

Adobe Stock is better for those who already use Adobe Creative Cloud and would benefit from a smoother workflow. In contrast, Shutterstock is better for those who need photos separately from Adobe Creative Cloud because of its overall lower prices.

An important, but often missed criteria for stock photo sites is their supply of the images you need.

When you have stock photo needs from a specific category or niche, such as photography, for example, you should first try searching for that term at all stock photo site candidates and see which has the best images for you.

Read more about Shutterstock vs Adobe Stock.

FAQ

Is Adobe Stock any good?

All of Adobe Stock content is high-quality, thanks to its strict quality-check standards.

Are Adobe Stock images free?

In general, Adobe Stock images are not free. The majority of its content is licensed under a Royalty-free license. However, Adobe Stock offers tens of thousands of free images, vectors, and videos, plus, you can get 10 free images with its trial.

What is Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock is a reputable stock photo agency by the software giant Adobe. It sells stock photos, illustrations, videos, audio, and other stock content under a Royalty-free or an Extended license.

How does Adobe Stock work?

Adobe Stock provides customers (designers, web developers, and social media influencers) with high-quality Royalty-free stock assets, including photos, illustrations, videos, vectors, 3D content, and templates.

How to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark?

There are three ways to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark. 1. Purchase the license of the image and download it. 2. Starts Adobe’s free trial and download 10 free images. 3. Adobe Stock offers thousands of free images that you can download without a watermark.

Conclusion

In summary, Adobe Stock is an excellent choice for designers, artists, and photographers that work with Adobe apps due to an invaluable integration of Adobe Stock into the Create Cloud.

Adobe Stock is a 100% legitimate stock photo agency that you have no reason not to trust if it meets all your needs.

Its seamless integration into Creative Cloud is perfect for those who already use any Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or After Effects.

Adobe Stock has an average rating of 1.2 stars from 75 reviews on Sitejabber, 2.1 stars from 31 reviews on Trustpilot, and 4.4 stars from 62 reviews on G2. Most often, Adobe Stock customers are no satisfied with their purchases or dislike its purchase scheme.

2 thoughts on “Adobe Stock Review”

  1. Adobe Stock – If you would like to try the “FREE TRIAL” and get your 10 assets for free, ensure to cancel your so-called “FREE TRIAL” before the 7th day from the day you signed up, otherwise from day 8th to the 30th (full calendar month) you will be charged for the full month $29+ plus a termination fee of $59+.

    • Hey Maria,

      This is not factual. After you’ve brought this to my attention, I’ve:

      • searched the entire Aodbe website
      • got in touch with Adobe

      They confirmed what I’ve found: You can purchase the free trial of your choice and for the 1st month you will not be charged anything as it is a free trial for 30 days and on the 31st day you will be charged for the plan for which you start your plan for.

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