Visual content is the buzz word of the day especially if you’re into content marketing or social media! Unless you’re a brilliant artist or designer, you’re going to need a lot of photos. I know, I know, I can just hear you moaning ‘not another article about images!’ But wait, give me a chance, I promise I’m taking a different approach! I have a number of stock libraries which I subscribe to annually & yesterday my favorite one expired! I always like to make sure I’m getting the best value, so I decided to do a comparison of the biggest stock libraries. Firstly, there are loads of places you can download free images but

So, assuming you are happy to pay for your images ie not go down the freebie route, you will need to decide what sort of photos will fit your brand, how they will be used & how many you will want over a year. Having decided that, I’m going to go through a few scenarios, in my reviews I am going to search for dogs, business woman & food (so we can get an apples for apple idea):

You need images regularly throughout the year…

99club main page

searching for dogs

dogs, not hot dogs

seaching for business woman

search for food

yum, they look tasty!

previous downloads window

save to lightbox

The 99 Club

THE 99club ♥: is a fairly new kid on the block so at the moment it has a super special deal (until sold out). It offers a subscription of $99USD pa which entitles you to download 200 images through out your year. Need more? No problem, further downloads will cost you 99c each.  It’s key features are

  • members have a choice of small, medium & XXX photos at no extra charge
  • all images are fully royalty free with the relevant model and property releases
  • once you join you’ll be able to keep your membership for a long as you wish

The 99club ♥ uses the ingImage ♥ back-end so you have access a bank of over 3,000,000 high quality images. Now I reckon this is a pretty good deal. Some years ago I got in on a special deal with IngImage for 50 downloads a month. As a graphic designer this is great for me because I can offer this as part of my service to my ‘done for you‘ clients but for the average business it is over the top. From my point of view the pros are …

  • the images are of a high quality & there is a good variety
  • you can download ‘comps’ to see if the image works in context
  • search filtering is fairly good
  • you can search for similar images or more from that artist
  • you can download the same image as many times as you want

the cons …

  • you can only access images while you are a current subscriber (that’s fine, you just need to keep an off-line back-up)
  • there is no ability to show you if you have downloaded an image previously (means you have to be careful not to double up)

COST:  your first 200 images work out to be 50c each after that 99c. That’s not bad!

GraphicStock.com screengrab

graphicstock.com

search for dogs

hmm, pretty wacky search results for photos of dogs!?!?!

search for business woman

search for food

ready to download

shows format, size & dimensions, whether you have previously downloaded it, dominant colours & how many times it has been downloaded (this is good if you want a unique image!)

my downloads

Under you account you can view icons of all the images you have downloaded along with their file type, the date you downloaded them & an option to put them in a folder (this is a new feature I quite like!)
GraphicStock

GRAPHIC STOCK ♥: I have had a yearly subscription with these guys for year, in fact if was one of the first libraries I subscribed to.

From my point of view the pros…

  • All images come with the right to use them royalty free in all types of projects.
  • There are absolutely no additional fees beyond the subscription cost
  • ability to download to dropbox or folder
  • tells you if you have already downloaded an image

the cons …

  • well as the saying goes, you get what you pay for as there is some real garbage so you need to have a keen eye
  • search filter is pretty useless… my search for photos of dogs brought up a whole lot of hotdog images

COST: USD$99pa unlimited downloads (if you use my GRAPHIC STOCK ♥ friend link)

home page

statistics

initial search for food

disappointing!

scroll down for better food images

seach for business woman

search for dogs

woo there, where did the flowers come in? Perhaps it thought I was looking for dogwood tree?

Stock-Graphics

When I first subscribed to Stock-Graphics ♥ they were offering unlimited lifetime access to their image library for $39USD. Well, hey, how could I resist a deal like that?

There are a lot of images in this library I haven’t seen else where. The search filter is as much as useless but if I go into the categories  there are some interesting shots. There are a number of sequence studio shots which would be really useful if you specialised in doing .gif or slow-mo animations.

Personally I think there are other sites who offer better value for you dollar but I have included this one because it may just be the perfect choice for niche market.

the pros …

  • Unlimited Downloads
  • No download limits
  • Continuously Updated
  • Keep the files forever

the cons …

  • terrible search tool

COST: they are no longer offering that package I bought in at & now have only one plan @ USD$390pa. OUCH.


*** Little side notes to keep in mind

  • This article focuses on photos (not vector or video files – that’s for another time)
  • Calculations are based on todays currency rate (November 13, 2015) & prices advertised today.
  • I’m Australian so I do all my calculations in the Aussie dollar. When making a decision to purchase, remember to convert to your currencies. For your convenience there is a currency converter at the end of this post.
  • If your find any info on this page is wildly incorrect, like a plan I’ve discussed is no longer available please let me know so I can correct it.

Do you use stock images? What is your go-to stock library? Please comment below …

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