I started acquiring stock images for the Baxter Foods Facebook page. I was used to sourcing public domain images from Pixabay, Free Images and Wikipedia Commons or creative commons images from Flickr, and raumrot. These are great resources but they are limited: too limited for what I am doing with Baxter.

I do not remember when I first learned about Dollar Photo Club but I do know that it impressed me as being a simple to use and affordable. I payed the $10 fee subscription fee and have been very satisfied with this service.

I had been using Dollar Photo Club for a month when I saw an advertisement for Bigstock in the Webdesigner Depot newsletter. The ad was offering five free downloads a day for 14 days. I signed up for a trial account and started downloading. It was like an early Christmas.

A short time later, I saw another ad but this time it was for GraphicStock. It offered unlimited downloads for seven days. My Bigstock trial had not ended yet but I signed up anyway. Using the three stock image providers simultaneously allowed me to pit them against each other.

How They Stock Up

I was very impressed with the quality and quantity of Bigstock’s collection. I was much less impressed with their payment models, especially the so-many-images-per-day one. It was fun at first but it soon became a burden. It was a huge time suck. I felt that I had to visit the site every day to download the images. I did not need five images every day and trying to foresee what I would need was an unnecessary stress. The cost-per-image is $0.16 to $0.53 depending on the plan. This is much less than on Dollar Photo Club but only if the correct number of downloads are made each day. Bigstock does offer a credit packs. In this model, one pays for so many credits which can be used within one year of purchase. They advertise that the price-per-image using credits is $0.99 to $3.50 depending on the size of the pack. This is very deceptive. This is the price range for a small image. A full sized image or vector costs six times as much.

It is hardly worth talking about the price of images on GraphicStock. They are potentially very cheep in that GraphicStock offers unlimited downloads for $49 a month or $588 a year. A quick look at its collection will tell you why I think this is a moot point because Bigstock and Dollar Photo Club have much better collections. The interesting thing about this site is that it offers a bigger variety of file formats: JPG, PNG, PDF, EPS, and even PSD.

Dollar Photo Club is the company I started with and the one I am sticking to. It has a nice collection and is extremely simple to manage. I do not have to ask myself what size of image I need or what its cost will be. I never have to concern myself with how many images I have downloaded or if my credits have expired. My big frustration with Bigstock is that its downloads and credits are time limited. If one downloads four out of five images, he or she will loose the fifth image. Its credits expire too but they are overpriced anyway.

My Recommendation

Dollar Photo Club makes billing simple. It is a subscription based payment plan. It costs $10 a month or $99 a year. These subscriptions pay for 10 and 99 images respectively. Think that you will need more than that? No problem. Additional image credits can be purchased at $1 a credit. Each image costs one credit which is why it’s called Dollar Photo Club. Additional credits can be purchased in any quantity under 5,000. I like how simple it is. It is easy to explain to my customers and to itemize on invoices. The collection quality and the ease of use make it my recommendation of the three.

If you are going to start an account with a stock image provider or are considering switching companies, I recommend that you take a look at Dollar Photo Club. I would appreciate it if you would use this link to do so. I signed up for the Dollar Photo Club Ambassador Program, which means that I will get $10 for every referral who decides to subscribe. (Hey, if I’m going to recommend something I might as well get paid for it)

What has your experience been with stock image providers?

David Stewart

Website at davidfstewart.ca. Twwets at tweets.davidfstewart.ca