ShutterStock vs Dreamstime vs iStockphoto vs Pond5 vs 500px: Stock Photography Websites Reviewed

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ShutterStock has a huge library of over 55 million royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vectors to choose from. Dreamstime also has a large collection with over 50 million photos, illustrations, cliparts and vectors with the largest weekly stated


ShutterStock was founded in 2003 by Jon Oringer and has their headquarters in New York City. They are a stock photography, stock footage and a stock music provider with a library of over 55 million royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vectors. ShutterStock also has over 2 million video clips and pieces of music that they make available for license. They are the leading provider of digital imagery operating in 20 languages and 150 countries.

ShutterStock Features

ShutterStock is a great place for anyone to look for royalty-free photos, illustrations, videos and music pieces that you can use for any type of project. You can begin your search on ShutterStock by looking through the following main categories:

  • Photos
  • Vectors
  • Editorial
  • Illustrations
  • Footage
  • Music
  • Icons

ShutterStock has many categories for you to search through, making it easy to find the exact product you are looking for. Once you click on a main category, you can further refine your search by New, Popular, Relevant or Undiscovered. A few of their main categories include:

  • Abstract
  • Animals
  • Buildings / Landmarks
  • Infographics
  • Beauty / Fashion
  • People
  • Business / Finance
  • Food and Drink
  • Interiors
  • Nature
  • Parks and Outdoors
  • Vintage

Once you sign up on ShutterStock, you can also receive free content every week and get a free vector of the week download. You will always be able to find what you need on ShutterStock as they add 440,000 stock images per week.

ShutterStock Pricing

ShutterStock offers several pricing plans subscriptions for you to choose from.

Ongoing Projects Plan:


Annual Commitment

Monthly to Month

10 images per month

$29 per month

$49 per month

50 images per month

$99 per month

$125 per month

350 images per month

$169 per month

$199 per month

750 images per month

$199 per month

$249 per month

 Single Project Plan:

2 Images


5 Images


25 Images


ShutterStock also has several other plans:

  • An Enterprise plan for large businesses needing an enterprise workflow, specific licenses, and VIP service.
  • Team subscriptions include 750 images starting at 2 users for $379 per month for a 1-year subscription. A 3 user plan for $479 per month and a 4 user plan starting at $579 per month.


Dreamstime has been online since 2000 and is one of the world’s largest Royalty free photography websites. They currently have more than 300,000 contributing photographers and over 50 million photos, illustrations, cliparts and vectors.

Dreamstime Features and Photos

Dreamstime has all types of photo topics like abstract, animals, arts, architecture, business, holidays, editorial, nature, people and objects. Some of their great features include:

  • Smart advanced search offers a multi-tiered in-depth search engine.
  • Secure and flexible payment options.
  • A free image section.
  • A referral program that allows you to earn money.
  • Keymasters will help you keyword your photos.

Dreamstime Features for Photographers

Dreamstime also includes photographer incentive programs like:

  • Blog sections where you can share tips and read tutorials.
  • In the news section for photographers that want to elevate their exposure as a photojournalist.
  • A monthly assignment contest.
  • Moderated forums.
  • Exclusivity rewards photographers with up to 60% of each sale.

Dreamstime Plans and Prices

Dreamstime offers credit packages and subscriptions, and they always have sales listed for their offers. Their current subscription plan prices are as follows.

  • 1 month, 5 to 10 image downloads for $25. A current promo lets you get 5 to 10 images for free for the first month.
  • 1 month duration includes 750 monthly image downloads for $197.
  • 3 months includes 750 image downloads per month (2275 total images) for $564.
  • 6 months offers 750 image downloads per month (4550 images) for $1,075.
  • 12 month plan offers 750 image downloads per month (9125 images total) for $1,724.

Their credit packages allow customers to pay per download, which is great to just pay for what you need at the time.


iStockphoto was founded in 2000 by Bruce Livingstone originally as a free stock photo website. Since then, the company has been acquired by Getty Images and their stock of photos has grown substantially.

iStockphoto Stock Photos

All of their photos are royalty free, which means you only have to pay once to use the photo multiple times. They give you a legal guarantee that using their royalty free photos will not infringe on any copyright, trademark or any other intellectual property rights or violate any other rights of privacy.

iStockphoto has many stock photo categories to choose from including:

  • Architecture and Buildings
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Babies and Children
  • Beauty and Health
  • Technology
  • Animals and Pets
  • Families
  • Food and Drink
  • Sports
  • Illustrations and Vectors
  • Nature
  • Business
  • People
  • Landscaping

iStockphoto Stock Photo Pricing Plans

iStockphoto has subscription plans or you can buy credits towards photos. iStockphoto offers the following subscription plans.

iStockphoto Essentials

  • The monthly plan starts at $40 per month for 10 downloads and goes up to $199 per month for 750 images.
  • 1 year plans range from $29 per month for 10 images per month to $166 per month for 750 image downloads per month

iStockphoto Signature Plan - Access All Images

  • 1 month cost $99.00 with 10 downloads per month and goes up to 750 downloads for $399.
  • 1 year costs $70 and allows 10 downloads per month and goes to $333 for 750 images pre month.

iStockphoto also allows customers to buy credits and download the images and videos you need using credits. They offer many different credits including:

  • 3 credits - $33.00
  • 6 credits -  $60.00
  • 12 credits - $115
  • 24 credits - $220
  • 36 credits - $325
  • 60 credits - $520


Pond5 is great for anyone that needs to buy photographs and high quality video clips. Some of their customers include The Weather Channel, BBC, The History Channel and many others.

Pond5 Features

Pond5 offers the following types of media:

  • Footage
  • Music
  • Sound FX
  • After Effects
  • Images
  • 3D Models

Pond5 Plans and Prices

Pond5 offers two types of membership plans that allows the following:

  • Access to over 500,000 footage clips selected from their broader library
  • 10 downloads per month
  • Their lowest prices on HD + 4K video
  • Monthly rollover of unused downloads

Their membership plans and prices are as follows:

  • Monthly Membership for $99 per month and you get 10 downloads per month from their collection of 500,000 HD video files, 30,000 music + SFX files and 700,000 image files.
  • Annual Plan: This plan costs $999 per year and you get 10 downloads per month from their collection of 500,000 HD video files, 30,000 music + SFX files and 700,000 image files.


500px was launched in 2009 and today is one of the best sites to share your photos with the world. 500px is a photo community for discovering, sharing, buying and selling inspiring photography.

500px Features

  • See the latest up-to-date work from the people you follow.
  • Personalize to your tastes in photography and follow the photographers you like.
  • Keep discovering photographers that share the same interests.
  • Take it with you on your iPhone, iPad and Android apps.

500px photography topics include abstract, animals, black and white, food, landscapes, nature, macro, people, street life, sports and much more.

500px Plans, Prices, and Features

500px offers the following plans and prices:

Each of their plans include the following featues:

  • Access to the community
  • History of all liked photos
  • Ad free experience
  • Directory listing
  • Unlimited uploads
  • Gallery slideshows
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Priority support
  • Profile badge

With their two other upgrade plans, you will get even more features such as organize your profile, priority listing in directory, and display your workshops feature. With their top plan, Pro +, you will also get a customizable website powered by Format.

All plans offer worldwide usage and unlimited media types. They also offer plans that enhance your license plans that range from $99 to $499.