iStock review

iStock Review [November 2022]: Pros & Cons

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Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ease of Use

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
Photos148 million
Videos12.9 million
Sound Effects90,000
Illustrations28 million
Free TrialYes (10 images)

In this article, we give a quick review of iStock looking at media quality, pricing and website features.

iStock is a stock photo site that offers millions of images and video clips for use on websites and blogs. iStock has the largest collection of high-quality images, videos, vectors and music but it is also one of the more expensive stock media sites.

That said, you get what you pay for, so if you want the best of the best, then iStock is the place to look. But there are several other stock photo sites that also offer a great selection, and all of them are cheaper. So, is iStock really worth it? We think so, and in this review, we will explain why. 

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What is iStock?

iStock is a stock photo and video library owned and operated by Getty Images. If you’re new to the concept of stock photography, it’s basically a collection of photos or videos that can be purchased for use in creative projects like:

  • Film & TV
  • Websites
  • Books
  • Magazines

As you can see from this list, there are lots of different types of businesses that use stock photography. The great thing about iStock is that it offers the highest quality photos and videos of any service we’ve found online. Its customers include big brands like Apple and Google.

So, if you’re looking for something for a project you’re working on then iStock is worth checking out!

Who Can Use iStock?

Pretty much anyone. From filmmakers and photographers to animators and designers.

iStock is a great resource for anyone who needs stunning images or videos to help their project, whether it be in an ad, on a blog post, or website. If you’re trying to sell a product or connect with your audience, then iStock has got you covered.

However, iStock isn’t only for customers. It’s also great for people who want to get their work out there and make money from it. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who’s really good at taking photos, iStock has a plan that can help you take your work to a whole new audience and grow your business.

How It Works

The iStock website is designed with both companies and freelancers in mind. Browse through hundreds of categories to find the perfect image or video that matches your needs.

Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can buy it with a credit card, iStock Credits, or PayPal directly on the site and then download it in high-resolution (up to 4K). The signup process is quick and easy.

iStock signup page screenshot
Signup Page – iStock Review

Getting Started on iStock

  1. Head on over to the iStock website and click “Register” in the top right-hand corner of the page.  
  2. Add your email address and choose a secure password, then click “Register Now” to create your account.
  3. Validate your email address by clicking the link sent to your email account and then log in to your new account.
  4. In the account section, click on “billing and subscriptions” you can then sign up for a subscription or purchase one-time credits.
  5. Search the website for photos you want to use and then download them. The payment will be deducted from your available credits or count against your monthly limit.

Need footage for a project? Check out our full guide on the best stock video sites 🎥

iStock Features

iStock has a ton of great features for filmmakers, photographers and designers. Of course, the best feature for customers is that they can download high-quality photos, videos, and icons for use in their personal or business projects. However, there are many other features of iStock that you won’t find with other stock photo sites.

Below are some of our favourite features of iStock.

1. Huge Selection

iStock search page screenshot
Search Page – iStock Review

iStock has the largest selection of stock photos and videos online. With over 80 million media assets to choose from, the site has plenty of options for everyone.

2. High-Quality Stock

Another benefit of using iStock is that the stock photos and videos on the site are unique and high-quality. You won’t find these photos on other websites and blogs.

Images are available in full res at 300 DPI and videos can be downloaded in UHD 4K or higher.

Finding the perfect photo for your project can be difficult, but iStock makes it easy. By using the advanced media search tool (left hand side), you can add filters and sort through millions of photos quickly so that you can find the perfect one for your needs.

For photos, you can choose from license type, orientation, image size, number of people and main colour. With video, you can choose from various filters like duration, resolution, number of people and ethnicity.

4. iStock + Dropbox

Organization just got easier. Link your Dropbox account on iStock to access, share and collaborate with your content across all your devices. Enjoy a swift, seamless workflow that lets you spend less time managing your content and more time creating outstanding work.

5. Adobe CC Plugin

Find the perfect iStock image faster without ever leaving Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Use their industry-leading search and organizational tools to download previews of any iStock image. Ready to go from comp to final? Simply download your image with your credits or subscription.

How Much Does iStock Cost?

iStock pricing
Pricing – iStock Review

iStock isn’t cheap; in fact, it’s the most expensive stock photo platform in the world, with Shutterstock being a close second. That said, it’s expensive for a reason, it offers users the best of the best photos, vectors, and video files for sale online.

So, if you want your video, website, blog, book, magazine, or any other creative project to stand out from the crowd and look super professional, then iStock is definitely the way to go.

iStock offers a number of different payment plans and pricing options. Let’s quickly go over them here so you can get an idea of what you’ll be paying if you decide to commit.


iStock subscriptions are the best value option on the site. They offer a number of different subscriptions based on what you need.

Basic Subscription

This package allows you to download a set number of photos per month from the Essentials collection. This subscription includes only photos, so no vectors or video files. The prices are as follows.

10 photos$29/month$40/month
25 photos$49/month$65/month
50 photos$90/month$99/month
100 photos$166/month$199/month
Basic subscription pricing comparison

Premium Subscription

This package is a step up from the basic package and allows users to download Signature collection photos, as well as Essential collection photos. Again, you can only download photos with this package. The prices are as follows.

10 photos$70/month$99/month
25 photos$120/month$149/month
50 photos$199/month$229/month
100 photos$333/month$399/month
Premium subscription pricing comparison

Premium + Video Subscription

This is the top-tier package on iStockPhoto; it allows users to download any asset they want, including photos from any collection as well as UHD video files, vectors, and icon sets. The prices are as follows.

10 files$99/month$149/month
25 files$165/month$229/month
50 files$265/month$349/month
Premium + Video subscription pricing comparison


iStock also allows users to download photo and video assets using one-time credits. Credits are available in a variety of different packages and pricing bundles which are detailed in the list below.

1 credit$12
3 credits$33
6 credits$60
12 credits$115
18 credits$170
24 credits$220
36 credits$325
60 credits$520
150 credits$1250
300 credits$2400
Credit packs pricing comparison

It requires one credit to download an Essential collection photo, three credits to download a Signature collection photo, and six credits to download vectors and video files.

So, as you can see, the service isn’t cheap, but it is a great value when you consider that you are getting the very best quality photos and video files available for sale online.

iStock Review – Worth it or Not?

In short, yes! All things considered, iStock is absolutely worth it for freelancers who want their projects to be of the highest possible quality.

Although the photos and videos on the site aren’t cheap, they are the best around, and using high-quality assets will make a huge difference in terms of how your customers view your work. If you want the best of the best, then iStock certainly delivers, and we fully recommend them. 👍

Check out their website today and see what they have to offer.

iStock FAQ

Does iStock Have a Free Trial?

Yes. The iStock free trial gives you a month of the Basic plan which includes 10 free stock image downloads from the Essentials collection.

Is iStock safe?

Yes, iStock is legit. It’s one of the most respected stock photo agencies. It’s owned by GettyImages, a popular choice even among the largest brands in the world.

Is iStock Royalty-Free?

Yes. iStock’s license agreements are all royalty-free. Both the standard and the extended licenses are available. Once you pay and download an image or video from iStock you won’t have to pay any extra royalties.

Should I get credits or a subscription?

If you have one-off or hard-to-predict image needs, credits are a great option. Buy just enough for the images and video clips you need or stock up and save on future downloads. The more you buy, the less they cost.

If you download as few as four images (photos, illustrations, and vectors) or two videos in a month, you’ll get the best value with an iStock subscription.

How long are my credits valid?

Credits never expire as long as you sign into your account at least once a year.

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