Image Buyers Guide

Licensing images has never been easier or more affordable.  With the new rise of microstock photography websites, you can quickly find an image you need at a price point that fits withing your budget.

This quick guide is meant to give an overview of the top microstock photography website.  Even though the various sites offer a similar product, they differ in a number of ways, giving appeal to different buyers.

If you are a photographer, you may want to refer to the Microstock Photographers Guide

Top Microstock Photography Websites



Shutterstock is a company primarily focused on catering to the big business image buyers.  If that sounds like you, one of Shutterstocks subscription packages should suite your needs quite well.  Shutterstock was the first microstock photography website to sell via the subscription method and has tweaked their system to become a very efficient and simple solution.  Shutterstock has a number of different pricing plans, with the largest packages becoming a very economical per image price.


deposit photos

DepositPhotos is a relatively new site in the microstock market but has allready claimed it’s stake with a beautifully designed site and a database of images whose quality is among the best.  Deposit Photos offers subscription downloads, single image downloads and a unique feature SMS purchase downloads.  Searching for and buying images at this site is easy and well laid out making for a pleasurable experience.



YAYimages is a solid company and one of the newer in the list.  YAY gives a fair 50% cut to the photographer, so when you buy here, you know you are making the suppliers happy, and encouraging their work.  YAYimages’s site is very elegantly laid out and simple to use.  The site is designed to serve both the buyer need a single image as well as the media giant need thousands of images a year.


Fotolia is a quickly growing company with a large customer base all over the world.   Their image database is one of the largest in the industry and growing rapidly.



BigStock started as a credit based site but now offers both credit and subscription accounts. Bigstock is owned by Shutterstock but their image catalog is still unique. Bigstock has half as many images as Shutterstock and offers a greater variety of subscription packages making it a more economical solution for the casual user.