Alamy review: Summary

Alamy is a stock photo agency with a long history in the stock photo market. High-quality photos, affordability, and safety are the keywords that spring to mind when you think of Alamy.



☆ 4.8

Alamy comes with a huge library of excellent-quality images.


Easy of Use

☆ 4.7

Since there are no subscriptions, Alamy is super-easy to use. Just download images you like - no complications.



☆ 4.1

Alamy has great on-demand prices, but there is no subscription.



☆ 4.6

Alamy support is quick to respond and kind.

Click button below and use code BBAMTABG for 25% off your next purchase.

Alamy Review

Do you also need high-quality stock photos, like I did for my website?

I have been searching high and low to find a trustworthy Shutterstock alternative with good prices – and I found Alamy.

After I’ve been using Alamy for a few years and have also become an Alamy contributor, I decided to write an Alamy review in which I share my experience with Alamy stock photo.

(I also negotiated with Alamy for a discount for you 😉)

Learn how to claim Alamy 25% discount

Alamy review

Alamy is one of the oldest stock photo agencies – it is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. In these years, it has earned a well-deserved worldwide reputation for offering high-quality stock images.

Alamy’s library houses a whopping 210 million stock images, vectors, videos, and 360-degree panoramic images, with a simple pricing system – no subscriptions, no credits, no need to register!

What is more, image pricing starts as low as $6.96 per download.

  • Super-fast and kind support team
  • Huge content library
  • Excellent image quality
  • No subscriptions
  • No registration needed
  • No questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Questionable photo acquiring policy
  • No subscription-based discounts
  • Somewhat slow website

Why Alamy?

There are numerous reasons to buy from Alamy stock photo.

First, it’s a renowned and reputable stock photo company with over 20 years of experience in this industry – it is reliable, serious, and inexpensive.

In case of trouble, there is always one of the best support teams ready to assist you with any problem or question.

Currently, Alamy offers over 210 million stock images, vectors, illustrations, so you can always find the right content for your visual designs.

Here are just a few reasons why you should choose Alamy over other stock photo sites:

  • High-quality content comes from over 150,000 contributors.
  • Almost 700 trustworthy agencies
  • A library of 210 million images, with 100,000 more added every day.
  • Alamy covers a vast majority of countries


Alamy stock photo sells its content on-demand only, but you can save using credit packs.

Alamy’s prices are transparent and easy to determine since there are no credit options.

Its diverse catalogue offers various themes and styles available under either Royalty-Free license, starting at as low as $6.96 per image, or Rights Managed license with prices starting at $19.99 per image.

There is, however, a downside to no subscription plans because there are no immediate discounts on bulk purchases or recurring customers, the problem which has been now resolved with image packs.

You get a 30% discount with Alamy’s image packs.  The agency is also willing to work out a special offer for your individual needs. All you need to do is contact them directly.

Importantly, Alamy stock photo offers a full refund, no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

Popular image licenses

Alamy has pre-prepared Popular image licenses that are quick and easy to use.

These licenses differ in applicability. The following can be used for:

  • Personal use – $19.99. Personal prints, cards, and gifts, or reference for artists. Non-commercial use only, not for resale.
  • Presentation or newsletters – $19.99. Use in a presentation/talk or in a newsletter.
  • Website – $49.99. Websites, apps, social media, and blogs. Worldwide for 5 years.
  • Magazines and books – $69.99. Magazine or book, inside use, 2,500 circulations, worldwide for 5 years
  • Marketing package: Small business – $59.99. Marketing materials, worldwide for 5 years. For businesses of up to 10 employees.
  • Marketing package: Large business – $199.99. Marketing materials, worldwide for 5 years. For businesses of more than 10 employees.
Alamy review - Popular image licences
Alamy’s Popular image licenses (Source: Alamy Review)

Related reading: Alamy Popular Image License pricing

Royalty-free image licenses

Royalty-free image licenses are flexible and user-friendly.

All you need to do is select the resolution you need, and pay a one-off fee that allows you to use the selected image in any way you want, for an unlimited amount of time.

You can use them across multiple projects without having to buy extra licenses. It’s also a perfect choice if you don’t know how long your project is going to last, and therefore how long the images will be in use.

These images and illustrations are available in multiple sizes, ranging from XSmall to XXLarge.

Alamy review - Royalty-free image licenses
Alamy’s Royalty-free image licenses (Source: Alamy Review)

Related reading: Alamy Royalty-free image license pricing

Related reading: Definition of a Royalty-Free Image by the Houston Chronicle

Custom licenses

Alamy stock photo offers a bespoke license, completely tailored to your needs.

No matter if you’re a smaller business owner, who’s only looking for a few stock images a year, or a well-established company, Alamy is willing to help you.

Related reading: Alamy stock photo Custom license

Downloads packs

With Download packs, you get instant access to images. 

This is a pre-paid and download on-demand purchase option, ideal if you know you’ll need more than 10 images per year, as it can save you up to 30%.

There are a few rules:

  • Use is restricted to the license you’ve bought
  • Downloads are available for 12 months after purchase
  • Your unused downloads are not rolled-over
  • The download pack is never auto renewed

The majority of their collection is available for download, but there are some restrictions. Some images can’t be sold in certain countries or for certain uses, however, Alamy will always let you know which licenses are available in advance.

Related reading: Alamy Custom License

Alamy review - Small packs
Alamy’s Small packs (Source: Alamy Review)
Alamy review - Large packs
Alamy’s Large packs (Source: Alamy Review)

Payment options

Alamy stock photo accepts all major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, American Express), PayPal, and Google Pay, so you won’t have any problems finding the right payment option for yourself.

All payments via Alamy are safe, and very quickly processed, so you’ll be able to instantly start using the selected images.

Below is a screenshot of Alamy payment dialogue.

Alamy review - Payment
Alamy’s Payment form (Source: Alamy Review)

Related reading: How to claim Alamy 25% discount

Image search tools

Alamy stock photo has a fantastic image search tool, that was so effective that they even applied for a patent.

It is very easy to use and the implementation of various parameters makes finding the perfect image a simple task.

Search tools

With the selection of proper search filters, you can narrow down your search and find exactly the image you’re looking for. You can search by:

  • People – search by the number of people in an image or the age of the people, or even by their ethnicity
  • Location – USA, UK, Australia, and Europe
  • Image – select the orientation you want, pick the style or enter the minimum file size
  • Viewpoint – pick the angle that suits your needs, you can choose between front, side, rear, profile
  • Date taken – find images taken within specific time frames or search the most recently added content

Advanced search filter

Alamy’s Advanced search filter is a great tool if you want to search for a particular collection or photographer or do a more detailed search.

You can search by contributor name, or terms such as “all words”, phrases, “at least one of the words”, or “without the words”.

Alamy review - Advanced search
Alamy’s Advanced search toolbox (Source: Alamy Review)

Related reading: Alamy Search Tools on Alamy Blog


Lightboxes let the store images that you spot and like when you’re searching. They will be waiting for you in one place when you need them.

Create Lightbox

To create a Lightbox make sure you’re registered first. You can do this easily and quickly by clicking the “Sign Up” button, and popping in your details.

Once you’re logged in to your account, go to the homepage and select “My Alamy” in the top right corner and click “Lightbox” from the drop-down menu. Select “Add a Lightbox”, give it a name, and description (optional). Click “Save” and you’re all set to start adding images to your Lightbox.

Alamy review - Add Lightbox
Alamy’s dialogue to create a Lightbox (Source: Alamy Review)

Adding images to Lightbox

To start adding content into your Lightbox, go to the homepage, and enter your search term in the search bar. There are 2 ways to add images from the search results page.

Option 1. When you find an image that you like and hover the mouse over it, a set of 4 icons will very conveniently pop-up. Click on the left-most icon.

Alamy review - Lightbox
Save to Lightbox, Option #1 (Source: Alamy Review)

Once you click the icon, a box will appear at the bottom of the screen, where you can select which Lightbox you want to add an image to.

Alamy stock photo promises that an icon changes once the image is added to a Lightbox to let you know that the task has been completed, however, no matter how many times I tried I couldn’t make it work. Although the image was saved to my Lightbox, the icon didn’t change. This is not a huge issue since you get a confirmation when your image is saved to your Lightbox. It is probably only a temporary bug.

Option 2. When you find an image that you like, you can click on it and you will land on the image page. Next, you can click on the “Add to Lightbox” option under the image.

Alamy review - Lightbox Save
Save to Lightbox, Option #2 (Source: Alamy Review)

Once again I couldn’t make the icon change work. Although not a deal-breaker, it would be nice to have.

You can also learn more about Lightboxes in Alamy vlog:

Alamy’s representation of Lightboxes (Source: YouTube)

Alamy Contributors

Alamy stock photo has an easy to use and a profitable contributors program, which has paid more than $200 million to the contributors.

The best part is that you can send them anything.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an amateur landscape photographer who just wants to showcase their best images and make a few extra bucks or a professional stock photo photographer, Alamy welcomes all kinds of images.

Their library doesn’t only consist of images; you can also sell footage, vectors, illustrations, reportage, and archival imagery.

Quick Summary of Alamy Contributors:

  • You submit images, Alamy sells them,
  • You can also sell through their network of distributors,
  • You must be the copyright holder or have their permission (you’ll need written permission),
  • All the information you supply must be correct, especially that regarding property or people in your images,
  • You caption and keywords to your images,
  • Alamy determines the prices,
  • You get 50% of sales for exclusive images, and 40% for non-exclusive,
  • You are informed of all your sales, and you can withdraw your earning when they exceed $50.

Why contribute to Alamy?

There are 2 main reasons to choose Alamy’s Contributors program.

  1. Your work doesn’t need to be exclusive to Alamy. You may share your content on other non-exclusive stock photo sites as well. The more sites you upload your content to, the bigger the chance to sell.
    I recommend uploading your work to Shutterstock as well.
  2. Alamy Contributors’ commissions are (to my knowledge) the best in the stock photo industry. You get 50% for exclusive images and 40% for non-exclusive images.

Alamy is a big company, so you’ll gain tons of exposure. You are guaranteed that thousands of people will see your work.

How does Alamy Contributors work?

First, you need to apply for their program. You can do this here.

When you confirm your account, click “My Account” in the top right corner, choose the first option “Contributor dashboard”, and you’ll see big blue “Upload” button on the right.

Choose the images you wish to upload and send them for Quality Check. It usually takes somewhere between 12 hours and 3 days to get an answer.

Images that had been approved are now ready to be uploaded.

To maximize your chance of success, give your images a captivating title and caption that will draw customers’ attention to your work. Next, you need to add keywords that are relevant to your content. You can add up to 50 keywords.

What I do in this situation is that I try to imagine that I’m a customer and which keywords I’d type in the search bar to find the image.

Let me help you with an example. Let’s say that you have an image of oranges in a basket on a table covered in a blue sheet.

First, just start describing everything that’s in the image: oranges, basket, table, sheet, fruit

Next, you describe colours: orange, blue, brown, orange and teal, orange and blue, etc.

Now comes the hardest part; describing emotions. This depends on the mood in your image, but here are some that I use the most often: nostalgia, happiness, moody, health, love, boredom, etc.

How much money you can make with Alamy Contributors?

This is where the harsh truth kicks in.

Twenty or so years ago when there was not much online content, it was much easier to sell stock images.

Nowadays, there are tens (if not hundreds) of stock photo agencies with millions and even hundreds of millions of stock photo images in their libraries.

How are you going to compete with that?

You need to know what kind of content you need to shoot.

What to shoot for Alamy Contributors?

To get the most out of stock photo sites, you need to follow the trends in the world.

The majority of your customers are going to be large companies and media houses, which need images of the current event as soon as possible.

It is a good idea to follow the news to find out what’s happening in your local area. The smaller the area you are in, the lower the chance you’ll have any competition.

A few good examples include protests, political rallies, parades, festivals, concerts, etc. You get the point.

IMPORTANT: Before shooting and posting these images, make sure you’re not breaking any laws.

Another great way to find what’s selling best is following Alamy’s Picture Needs.

This is basically a list of topics that their collection lacks and their customers’ needs.


Is Alamy safe?

Yes, Alamy is a safe and reputable company. I’ve worked with them for years without any problems.

You might find some poor reviews on sites such as TrustPilot, but every brand or service has negative reviews, due to the customers not reading the terms and conditions.

How much does Alamy cost?

Alamy’s photos are available on-demand only, with the prices starting as low as $6.96 per download. The price depends on the License and Image resolution.

Is Alamy stock photo exclusive?

Alamy is a non-exclusive agency, meaning that you can sell images on their website as well as on other non-exclusive sites. Make sure you take advantage of that to get the most out of your work.

Is Alamy royalty-free?

Yes, Alamy also offers a Royalty-Free license, which means that you pay a one-off fee to use the image with no restrictions on how you use it, or for how long you use it. Royalty-free images can also be used across multiple projects, forever.

Can I use Alamy photos?

Yes, you can use Alamy photos, but only if either of these three conditions is met:

  1. If it has a creative commons license that allows it to be shared for free you will still need to insert a credit line that details the contributing party’s information. For example © Contributor’s name / Alamy Stock Photo
  2. You can share an image within Alamy. On the image page, you’ll find our ‘share’ button to the right-hand side, and from here you can select which social media channel you’d like to share the image on. The image will be shared equipped with watermark, credit line, and link back to the image page.
  3. If you don’t want to share a watermarked image or assign a credit line to the image, your best option is to buy the image under a license that enables the use of the image online.

Are Alamy Stock photos free?

No, Alamy’s photos are not free. You can, however, purchase images with the Royalty-free license.

Conclusion | Alamy review

Alamy stock photo is a great macro-stock website with a long tradition and a well-established reputation.

With 21 years of experience, they managed to build an impressive library of stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and 360-images, available at a decent price.

The quality of their content is excellent, but what stands out, even more, is the variety.

A downside to Alamy is that there are no subscription-based models, which are often more affordable. You can circumvent this by using Alamy’s download packs.

However, if you know that you’ll need images on a regular basis, I suggest that you consider using Shutterstock, which also offers subscriptions – you can read more about it in my extensive Shutterstock review.

Further reading: Best Stock Photo Sites

Enjoy Alamy,

– Matic

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.

4 thoughts on “Alamy Review”

  1. Alamy is not a microstock agency. It’s actually about the worse insult you could possibly give Alamy contributors. They are technically macrostock. Most contributors to Alamy find the microstock model the reason for dwindling prices.

  2. I wonder why are the customer ratings so bad for most vector selling websites including alamy, ratings for shutterstock, vectorstock, 123rf, dreamstime, bigstock and alamy ate between 1 and 2,7 out of 5. I wont give them my creditcard number but they do have great images so I wonder what you think about this.

    • Hi Robbert,
      these ratings are often low, because the majority of people who posts reviews on these websites are the dissatisfied customers.
      Satisfied customers rarely leave a review.
      If you don’t trust a website with your credit card, I recommend you use PayPal.


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