iStock Review, Pricing, Features with Pros and Cons

In this iStock review, you'll find more information about its features, pricing, pros and cons and why you should consider using it.
9.4/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #6 in category Media Library
9.4Expert Score
Find the right content for your projects, at the right price.

Unlock a world of creative possibilities with iStock’s vast and diverse media library. From exclusive, high-quality images to flexible licensing options, iStock is your go-to platform for all things visual. Its user-friendly interface, complete with advanced search functionality and organizational Boards, makes sourcing the perfect asset a breeze. Whether you’re a professional designer or a small business owner, iStock offers a seamless, one-stop solution for elevating your projects to the next level.

Customer support
Value for money
Ease of use
  • Simple pricing and flexible licensing
  • User-friendly interface
  • Wide variety of content
  • Exclusive, high-quality images
  • No subscription options for videos
  • Complicated credit system
  • Extended licenses can be costly

Navigating the world of stock media can be a daunting task, especially with a plethora of options at your fingertips.

Whether you’re a seasoned designer, a small business owner, or someone diving into a creative project, understanding the ins and outs of a platform like iStock can be a game-changer.

This comprehensive guide delves into everything you need to know about iStock’s offerings—from its diverse media types and licensing options to its user-friendly features—ensuring you make the most out of your visual content needs.

Read further to learn more about iStock, in our review we will detail its features, pros and cons with our rating, and a conclusion about why you should use it.

Click on “open” if you want to see exactly what we will talk about in the rest of this article.


What is iStock?

iStock is a media library offering millions of exclusive stock photos, videos, vectors, and illustrations. Created by a diverse global community of artists, the platform aims to provide inclusive and inspirational visual content.

iStock differentiates itself by offering unique visuals that are exclusive to their platform, sourced from artists who work solely with them. The platform employs AI-powered search functionality to help users find the content they need without sifting through numerous pages.

It offers both value and premium-quality content, backed by industry-leading licensing coverage. iStock also provides various tools and features such as an Adobe plugin and an iStock Editor for enhanced user experience.

iStock app

iStock specifications

Features4K videos / Boards / Collections / Editorial content / HD videos / Illustrations / Licensing / Ready-to-Use Content / Search filters / Stock images / Vector stock / Video Stock / iStock Editor
Best suited forIndividuals, Freelancers, Small businesses, Mid size businesses, Large enterprises
Website languagesArabic / Brasil / Chinese / Czech / Danish / Deutsch / English / French / Hindi / Indonesian / Italian / Japanese / Korean / Malay / Nederlands / Norsk / Polsky / Portuguese / Română / Russian / Spanish / Suomi / Svenska / Turkish / Ukrainian
Website URLVisit official website
Support linkSupport page
Live chatNo
Company addressCalgary, Alberta
Year founded2000


iStock pricing: How much does iStock cost?

Looking to elevate your creative projects without breaking the bank? iStock’s versatile pricing plans have got you covered.

With options ranging from $40 to $399 per month, you can access everything from basic, project-ready photos to an all-encompassing library of exclusive visuals, videos, and music tracks.

Tailor your subscription to fit your needs and make the most of unused download rollovers. Your perfect visual asset is just a click away!

Pricing rangeFrom $40 to $399 per month
Pricing typesMonthly subscription
Free planNo
Free trialYes, 30 days
Money back guaranteeYes, 14 days
Pricing page linkSee plans

iStock pricing plans


Basic Plan

  • Content: Millions of project-ready photos and illustrations
  • Downloads per Month: 10, 25, 50, 750
  • Unused Downloads Rollover: Yes
  • Cost: $40/month ($4.00/download)

Premium Plan

  • Content: All images, including exclusive, high-quality Signature imagery
  • Downloads per Month: 10, 25, 50, 750
  • Unused Downloads Rollover: Yes
  • Cost: $100/month ($10.00/download)

Premium + Video Plan

  • Content: All images, videos, and music tracks
  • Downloads per Month: 10, 25, 50
  • Unused Downloads Rollover: Yes
  • New Customer Price: $149/month or $199/month

Each plan offers the flexibility to rollover unused downloads, providing added value and convenience for users. Whether you’re looking for basic photos and illustrations or a more comprehensive media library, iStock has a pricing plan to suit your needs.


iStock features: What can you do with it?

The features of iStock are designed to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly experience for sourcing high-quality visual content.

From diverse media types and flexible licensing options to advanced search functionality and organizational tools, iStock offers a range of features that cater to both individual creatives and large enterprises.

iStock features

iStock offers a diverse range of media types to cater to various creative needs, making it a one-stop-shop for visual content. The platform provides high-quality stock photos that cover a wide array of subjects, from landscapes and lifestyle to technology and business.

In addition to photos, iStock also offers illustrations and vectors, which are ideal for digital designs, marketing materials, and presentations.

For those looking to add dynamic elements to their projects, the platform features an extensive collection of video clips, including 4K videos, slow-motion footage, and time-lapses.

Whether you’re working on an advertising campaign, a website, or a video production, iStock’s comprehensive media library ensures you’ll find the perfect visual assets for your project.

Ready-to-Use Content

iStock offers a comprehensive library of ready-to-use visual assets, including photos, illustrations, vectors, and video clips. These assets are sourced from a global community of artists and contributors.

Each piece of content undergoes a rigorous vetting process to ensure it meets iStock’s high-quality standards.

The platform aims to provide versatile content that can be seamlessly integrated into a wide array of projects, such as advertising campaigns, websites, presentations, and more.

Licensing Options

iStock provides a flexible licensing model that caters to various user needs. With a standard license, users can incorporate downloaded files into multiple types of projects, including but not limited to advertising, websites, and presentations.

The files are royalty-free, meaning you pay a one-time fee for the initial download and can use the asset in unlimited projects for an indefinite period.

For those who require more extensive usage rights, iStock offers extended licenses that provide additional permissions like unlimited reproduction and resale.

Search Functionality

iStock’s search functionality is designed to offer a user-friendly and efficient experience. Users can simply type in keywords related to the content they are looking for in the search bar.

To further refine the search, additional filters can be applied, allowing users to narrow down results based on various criteria like file type, orientation, and more.

This robust search feature aims to save time and effort, making it easier to find relevant content among the platform’s extensive offerings.

iStock templates


iStock organizes its content into two primary collections: Essentials and Signature. The Essentials collection is designed to provide everyday, basic content that fulfills general needs.

On the other hand, the Signature collection is a curated set of premium, handpicked stock files that are exclusive to the platform.

This bifurcation allows users to choose content based on their specific requirements, whether they are looking for value-oriented options or premium-quality visuals.

Boards for Organization

One of the standout features of iStock is the Boards functionality, which allows users to save, organize, and share their favorite files. Users can create multiple Boards to group images and videos by project, brand, or any other category of interest.

This organizational tool is particularly useful for professionals managing multiple projects or collaborating with teams, as it streamlines the process of selecting and sharing content.

Editorial Use Only Photos

iStock offers a category of photos labeled as ‘Editorial Use Only,’ which are typically images capturing real-world events, news, sports, and entertainment.

These photos do not have any model or property releases, meaning they cannot be used for commercial, promotional, or endorsement purposes. They are intended to be used in contexts that are newsworthy or of general interest, such as blogs, textbooks, and magazine articles.

Prohibited Uses

The platform has a set of guidelines that outline prohibited uses for its content. Users are not allowed to use iStock assets for unlawful activities, in works that promote violence, or in content that incites hatred.

Understanding these limitations is crucial for compliance and to avoid legal complications. It’s highly recommended to read the Content License Agreement for a comprehensive list of prohibitions.

Naming a Licensee

iStock offers the option to name a licensee when licensing content for a client or another entity. This feature allows the named licensee to use the downloaded file under the same terms and conditions as it was initially downloaded.

This is particularly useful for agencies or freelancers who are sourcing content for clients, as it provides a clear delineation of usage rights for each downloaded asset.

iStock Editor

iStock editor

iStock Editor is a simple yet powerful online photo editor that serves as your go-to tool for crafting standout visual content. Designed with both beginners and professionals in mind, this editor offers a range of features that make it incredibly easy to transform basic images into compelling visuals.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your social media posts, create eye-catching advertisements, or add flair to your website, this platform provides a user-friendly interface and intuitive controls to help you achieve your creative goals. Here’s how this versatile editor works:

Create Professional Designs in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Choose an Image: Select from millions of high-quality iStock photos, vectors, and illustrations. Simply click on “Edit this image” to get started.
  2. Edit Your Image: Crop, resize, and make other adjustments to your chosen image. You can also add text, upload logos, and apply filters to enhance the visual appeal.
  3. Download and Share: Once you’re satisfied with your edits, download the image to remove the watermark. You can then publish it directly to social media or share it wherever you like.

Make Any iStock Image Uniquely Yours

  • Start with Smart Sizes: Utilize popular preset web and social media image sizes as a shortcut for creating compelling online imagery and social media posts.
  • Apply Image Filters: You don’t need to be a design guru to make your images pop. With just a click, you can apply complex image edits using a variety of filters.
  • Add Text to Say Anything: Incorporate text into your design using a range of professional fonts. You have the flexibility to modify the color, size, position, and styling of the text.
  • Upload Images to Your Design: Personalize your creations by uploading your own graphic elements like logos and business images.


iStock review: Why you should use it?

iStock offers a vast array of high-quality images across various themes and styles, meeting diverse creative needs. The platform stands out for its exclusive content, which adds a unique touch to your projects.

With straightforward pricing and licensing, iStock allows for multiple usages of their images in any project indefinitely.

The user-friendly interface, complete with curated categories and an efficient search engine, makes navigation a breeze. Additionally, iStock isn’t just about images; it also provides stock footage and audio files.

Pros and Cons


  • Content Variety: Millions of stock content across all themes and styles.
  • Exclusive Content: Features unique photos that elevate your project’s uniqueness.
  • High Quality: Multiple image resolution options available.
  • Simple Pricing: Two main price points based on credits and collections.
  • Flexible Licensing: Wide usage royalty-free license.
  • User-Friendly: Curated categories and an easy-to-use search engine.
  • Additional Media Types: Stock footage and audio files are also available.


  • No Subscriptions for Videos: Videos must be purchased a la carte.
  • Complicated Buying Process: The credit system requires buying a pack first.
  • Costly Extended Licenses: Separate licenses for extended rights can be expensive.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any restrictions on using iStock’s content?

Yes, the platform prohibits the use of its content for unlawful purposes, promoting violence, or inciting hatred. It’s essential to read the Content License Agreement to understand these limitations.

Can I name a licensee when licensing content for a client?

Yes, it allows you to name a licensee when licensing content for a client or another company. This enables the named entity to use the file under the same terms it was downloaded under.

How do I buy videos on iStock?

Videos on iStock must be purchased a la carte, as there are no subscription options for videos. You’ll need to select a pack first and pay for it before you can use them to pay for photos and videos.

How do iStock’s licensing options benefit me?

The platform provides a flexible licensing model, including a standard royalty-free license and extended licenses for more specific needs. This allows you to use the assets in multiple projects without worrying about additional fees.

What is the purpose of iStock Boards?

The platform Boards is a unique feature that helps you organize and manage your favorite assets. You can create different Boards for various projects, making it easier to collaborate with team members.

Can I get high-resolution images on iStock?

Yes, iStock offers multiple resolution options for their images, ensuring you get high-quality assets for your projects.

Is iStock suitable for small businesses?

The platform offers a range of pricing options and a vast library of assets, making it a suitable choice for small businesses looking for high-quality visual content.

Do I need an account to download from iStock?

Yes, you’ll need to create an iStock account to download assets and take advantage of the platform’s features.

What types of projects can benefit from iStock’s media library?

iStock’s diverse media library is ideal for various projects, including advertising campaigns, digital marketing, presentations, and even video productions.

iStock Review, Pricing, Features with Pros and Cons
iStock Review, Pricing, Features with Pros and Cons