Adobe Stock Review

by Matic Broz

In this unbiased Adobe Stock review, I will list its key features, explain pricing and licensing, and share my thoughts on the contributor program.

Let’s see what the fuss is all about.

Adobe Stock Review Summary:

Adobe Stock is a stock photo agency by a renowned software giant Adobe, the creator of Lightroom and Photoshop.

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.

Adobe Stock has been rapidly gaining on its competitors thanks to its awesome features, including a seamless integration with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

  • One of the stock photo giants
  • Starting price: $0.26/image
  • Fully integrated within Creative Cloud
  • Enormous stock media library
  • 1-month free trial of 10 downloads
  • Owned by Adobe, a trustworthy company
  • Inexpensive subscription plans and Credit packs

Adobe Stock deals

Currently no promo code exists
Adobe Stock small logo

$0.26/image

Adobe Stock small logo

FREE/10 images

$0.26/image

This table is updated daily and guarantees the lowest prices.

Adobe Stock is the best for choice for you if you’re looking for a large amount of high-quality stock images that you can use within your Creative Cloud apps.

If you do not need Creative Cloud integration and you’re looking just for a lot of photos, I recommend cheaper alternatives.

What is Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock Interface

Although it’s quite a young stock photo agency, Adobe Stock is without a doubt a trustworthy stock photo service. In just 5 years, it has accumulated 155 million+ stock photos, 18 million illustrations, 47 million vectors, 19 million videos, and 38 thousand audio files

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

With Adobe being the creator of Creative Cloud platform, Adobe Stock has been seamlessly integrated into it, providing a smooth and enjoyable experience to anyone using Photoshop or other Adobe programs.

Adobe Stock Pricing

Adobe Stock Pricing

Adobe Stock sells stock photos with subscription plans and with credits, under royalty-free, enhanced, and extended licenses. Royalty-free images cost between $0.26 and $9.99, depending on the plan size. Extended license images cost up to $79.99.

This agency sells high-quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, templates, and 3D assets at extremely competitive prices. Every purchase includes at least a Standard license (it’s the same as a royalty-free license) that can be upgraded to an Enhanced License or even an Extended License.

Adobe Stock wants to make sure that no matter what you’re looking for, you will find a pricing plan that suits you.

To live up to that promise, Adobe Stock sells its photos with affordable subscription plans and on-demand with flexible Credits, which you can acquire with Credit packs.

Subscription plans

Adobe Stock subscription pricing
Adobe Stock review: Screenshot of 3 subscription plans pricing

When you decide for a subscription plan, Adobe Stock gives you a choice of either Annual or Month-to-month plans.

Annual plans last for 12 months and are a cheaper than Month-to-month plans that you can cancel at any time, but are as a tradeoff more expensive.

Whichever plan you choose, subscriptions give you a fixed amount of assets (downloads) each month, the number of which depends on the size of the subscription plan you purchased.

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.

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 you can get at Adobe Stock.

Additionally, with 10 and 40 monthly assets annuals plans you also get a free trial of 10 images. I warmly recommend, you give it a go.

The table below represents 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
Adobe Stock review: 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 rollover 120-480 unused assets month to month depending on your subscription plan.

Month-to-month subscription plans

These are more expensive than annual plans, but you can cancel them any time during the year.

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.

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

Assets per monthMonthly costPrice/assetFree trial?
3$29.99$9.99
40$99.99$2.49
350$199.99$0.57
750$149.99$0.33
Adobe Stock review: 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 important to decide for how long you are going to be needing 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 be needing stock images for at least a year, the annual subscription plans are an obvious choice, due to lower price per image.

Credit packs

Adobe Stock review - Credit packs pricing
Adobe Stock review: Screenshot of Credit packs from Adobe Stock

Credit packs offer more flexibility and are mostly used to purchase Extended license and content that is not included in subscription plans.

Here is the pricing of content that you cannot get with subscription plans with credits as currency:

  • 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
Adobe Stock review - Price in credits
Adobe Stock review: Prices in Credits

You can purchase credits with Credit packs. Credits last for one year after the purchase, and in contrast to subscription plans do not auto-renew – you need to buy more manually when you run out of them.

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
Adobe Stock review: 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)

Pricing conclusion

Subscription plans

  • Best for typical image needs
  • Priced for value, most popular option
  • For standard downloads in images, templates, 3D assets, and music tracks

Credit packs

  • Best for content not included in subscription plans
  • Priced for flexibility
  • For any content; best deals for Video, Premium, and Extended Licenses

In conclusion, subscription plans are where you’re going to receive the lowest prices on images if you have ongoing image needs; alternatively, Credit packs are designed for flexibility and are best for fluctuating images needs.

Licenses

Adobe Stock sells stock photos under three licenses, Standard, Enhanced, and Extended, each with different obligations, prices, and uses.

Adobe Stock review - License comparison
Adobe Stock review: Screenshot of License comparison table from Adobe Stock

Standard license

A Standard license is a form of a royalty-free license – this is the most basic licence that you acquire with every photo, vector, and illustration you download. In short, it says that once you purchase or download the asset, you can use it for as long as you want to, but you’re not the owner.

DOs of a Standard license:

  • You can reproduce it up to 500,000 copies.
  • Use it in email marketing, mobile advertising and others where expected viewership is fewer than 500,000.
  • You can use it on 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.

DON’Ts of a Standard license:

  • Distribute the file.
  • Create any sort of product where the primary value of the product is the asset (for example, T-shirts) for resale.
  • Transfer the license to more than one employer or client.

Enhanced license

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

An enhanced license has the same DOs and DONT’s as a Standard License, but with a reproduce rate of more than 500,000.

Extended licenses

With an Extended license, you can create any sort of product where the primary value of the product is the asset (for example, T-shirts) for resale.

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

Adobe Stock review - Image search
Adobe Stock review: Screenshot of Image search from Adobe Stock

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 an images into a design.
  4. Purchasing a subscription plan.
  5. Purchasing credits.

Adobe Stock Free Trial

You can start a 1-month Free trial and get 10 free downloads.

You can do this by going to annual subscription plans and choosing 10 assets or 40 assets per month subscription plans, and then starting a free trial.

This 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.

How to download Adobe Stock images without a watermark using a free trial.

Total time: 3 minutes

  1. Go to Adobe Stock.

    Use this link to go to Adobe Stock.

  2. Click on “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 “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.

Adobe Stock 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.

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 any 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 Adobe Stock website
  2. Search for an image using 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.

Adobe Stock Alternatives

If Adobe Stock doesn’t meet your requirements, there are plenty of other stock photo agencies from which you can get stock photos.

I recommend these 5 Adobe Stock alternatives:

If you need a list of even more Adobe Stock alternatives, check this 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 differences between Shutterstock vs Adobe Stock.

Adobe Stock Contributor program

Adobe Stock has quickly grown its library, considering that it’s only 5 years old but already owns more than 200 million assets.

This success is mostly due to Adobe Stock getting a headstart with Fotolia, stock photo site that merged with Adobe Stock. However, Adobe Stock also runs a successful contributors program that provides the majority of new images nowadays.

How much can you earn with Adobe Stock Contributor?

Commissions are based on the customer’s subscription plan, and whether or not they bought an Extended license.

In short, you can earn up to 33% royalties on images (photos, vectors, illustrations) and 35% royalties on videos. As a result, commissions range from $0.33/photo to $26.40 for an Extended license, and up to $70 for 4K videos.

Adobe Stock review - Image royalties
Adobe Stock review: Commissions on images
Adobe Stock review - Video royalties
Adobe Stock review: Commissions on videos

The minimum royalties improve with the number of lifetime downloads of your images.

  • 0-999 downloads: $0.33 minimum subscription royalty
  • 1,000-9,999 downloads: $0.36 minimum subscription royalty
  • 10,000+ downloads: $0.38 minimum subscription royalty

Although these commissions are not the best, especially in comparison to the Dreamstime contributor program, Adobe Stock runs a Bonus Program.

Bonus Program

If you’re an active and successful contributor, you can get free access to Adobe Creative Cloud assets.

  • 150-4,999 downloads: You can choose a one-year plan of either Creative Cloud Photography (20GB), Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, or After Effects.
  • 5,000+ downloads: one-year access to Creative Cloud All Apps

Note that each video counts as 8 downloads. The downloads only count within a Calendar year, January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2020, and only downloads of photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos qualify towards the download count.

To learn more about the actual prices for each download, click here.

You can request a payout of your earnings via PayPal, Payoneer, or Skrill when you have reached at least $25 in earnings.

To submit your payment request for the first time, you must have a validated tax form, a minimum of 45 days must have passed from the date of the first sale, and you must have a valid payout account, PayPal, Payoneer, or Skrill.

How to upload images to Adobe Stock?

To upload images as a contributor, you need to create an account first. Then, click on Sell in the top right corner and start uploading images or videos with an FTP upload.

When the images upload, you’ll need to add a title, description, category, and keywords, for which Adobe Stock automatically provides suggestions. Importantly, for your photos that depict a property or a person, you must attach a valid Property or Model release.

When you’re done, click Submit and Adobe’s curating team will check your photos for technical and artistic issues, which takes around 1-3 days. When your images get approved, they automatically show in search, and you can start earning money.

Adobe Stock Contributor program also daily updates your sales to keep you up-to-date with your earnings.

Adobe Stock Review: 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?

Adobe Stock free images FAQ

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 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.

Adobe Stock Review: Conclusion

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 of the Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or After Effects.

Adobe Contributor program isn’t the most profitable of all but it makes up for lower commissions by providing a Bonus Program that gives free access to Creative Cloud apps to active contributors.

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.

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and are based on my experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. This post may contain affiliate links.

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