Adobe Stock Standard vs Extended License (2024) Explained!

with 2 Comments

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Adobe Stock’s licensing scheme can be a little intimidating for those looking to sign up.

You are probably asking, what’s the difference between Standard vs Extended Licenses, and how does Adobe Stock licensing work?

Adobe Stock Standard vs Extended License

Standard Licenses allow you to use the image for unlimited web views or on a physical product up to 500,000 units, but you cannot use the image in a product where the image itself is a key selling point, like on T-shirts.
Extended Licenses include all standard license rights, plus using the image in unlimited print runs and on products where the image is a key selling point.

But getting the right license for the best price can be tricky.
I’ll cover how to get the license you need for the best value for money below.

If you want to jump right into trying out Adobe Stock, then click the button below to get a free trial with 10 free photos included.

adobe stock standard vs extended license

Adobe Stock License Costs

Adobe Stock Licenses cost:

  • Standard License: $0.26 – $9.99 for subscribers, and $8.00 – $9.99 with credit packs.
  • Extended License: $79.99 base rate, with 20% off for subscribers, and some images priced higher.

Comparing the Adobe Stock Standard vs Extended License cost, you can see that there is a wide variation in prices depending on how you sign up for Adobe Stock – it’s possible to get either a very good deal or a very bad deal.

The best value for money option is to sign up for either the 10, 25 or 40 image subscription paid annually, using my link, which will get you a 1-month free trial and the specified number of image downloads. You can then cancel before the month is up if you don’t like the service and keep your downloaded images.

Adobe Stock License Comparison

The two most common license types for Adobe Stock images are Standard and Extended licenses, which are the least permissive and most permissive respectively, but there are also Enhanced licenses and Editorial Use licenses, which come inbetween them and might be more suitable for your uses.

Adobe Stock Licenses Standard License Enhanced License Extended License Editorial Use License*
Available for: Most images, vectors & illustrations Premium images & videos Everything Newsworthy Images – set by Adobe
Unlimited web views
Use the asset in email marketing, mobile advertising, social media, or a broadcast program
Can modify the asset
Up to 500,000 copies or views of the asset If used with Standard License
More than 500,000 copies or views of the asset If used with Extended License
Asset may be used in merchandise, templates, or other products for resale
Can only be used with newsworthy topics & must include credit line
Per Image Cost: $0.26 – $9.99 $0.26 – $149.00 $79.99 $0.26 – $9.99
*Full details on the Editorial Use license can be found at Adobe’s site.

What is Adobe Stock’s Standard License?

The standard license costs one credit per download and is the default license for Adobe’s images.

It is generally best for web use, where it has unlimited views, as it is limited to 500,000 copies in physical products, and cannot be used for T-shirts, mugs and the like where the image itself is the key selling point.

With a Standard License, you can:

  • Reproduce up to 500,000 copies of the asset in all media.
  • Include the asset in email marketing, mobile advertising, or a broadcast or digital program if the expected number of viewers is fewer than 500,000.
  • Post the asset to the web or social media, with no view limit.
  • Include the asset in products, if no more than 500,000 units are produced and the asset is not the primary selling point.
  • Share or transfer the unmodified asset with your employees and contractors.

With a Standard License, you cannot:

  • Distribute the stand-alone file.
  • Create products where the asset is the primary selling point, eg. mugs, posters and t-shirts.
  • Transfer the license to more than one employer or client.

Adobe Stock Standard License Cost

If you have a subscription, then the standard license will set you back:

  • A minimum of $0.26 per image for a 750 assets per month subscription, paid annually.
  • A maximum of $9.99 per image for a 3 assets per month subscription, paid monthly.

If you are using credits, then you will pay between:

  • A minimum of $8.00 per image for a 150 credit pack, letting you download 150 standard images.
  • A maximum of $9.90 per image for a 5 credit pack, letting you download 5 standard images.

Note than credit packs expire after one year, while subscription credits roll-over up to a pre-determined maximum for each plan.

It’s generally always much cheaper to get a subscription than to pay for credits.

As an example, if you wanted to download 10 standard images, the credits would set you back $99.90, while a 10 image monthly subscription would cost $29.99 per month (or you can take out the 1-month free trial and cancel after downloading your 10 images, costing you $0.00).

If you wanted 25 images, the credits would cost $249.89, while a 1-month rolling subscription that can be cancelled anytime, costs $69.99.

I hope you can see that you’re almost always better going with the monthly subscription, which is even better value when you can get a 1-month free trial by following my link.

What is Adobe Stock’s Extended License?

The Extended license is purchased only with credits and is not included with subscriptions.

This has the same rights as the Standard license, but you can print over 500,000 copies and can use the image as a key selling point, for example on clothing.

With an Enhanced License, you can:

  • Use the asset with all the rights granted in the Standard and Enhanced licenses, including print runs of over 500,000 units.
  • Create merchandise or products for resale or distribution where the main value of the product is associated with the asset itself, such as a coffee mug or t-shirt.

With an Enhanced License, you cannot:

  • Distribute the stand-alone file.

Adobe Stock Extended License Cost

Extended licenses are not available as part of a subscription, although you get 20% off purchasing the required credits if you do have one.

Because Extended license costs vary depending on the image type and size, it’s difficult to give a set range for their cost, but in general, Extended licenses start at $79.99 when purchased directly without a subscription.

If you only want an Extended license, then I wouldn’t recommend a subscription in general, although you can save 20% by taking out the free 1-month trial via my link and then cancelling before your month is up.

Standard vs Extended Licenses: Examples of Which to Use

To make it easy to see which license is right for you, here’s a few examples of when each is most appropriate.

Scenario A: You’re a T-Shirt designer modifying Adobe Stock images to sell as designs on your shirts.

Use an Extended license as the product is sold based on the image, even if you have modified it.

Scenario B: You’re downloading images for your website.

Use a Standard license as there are no view restrictions on web-use of the images.

Scenario C: You’re printing the image in a magazine with a print run of under 500,000 copies.

Use a Standard license as the print run is less than 500,000 units.

Scenario D: You’re including the image within software that you are creating, that will have over 500,000 downloads.

Use an Enhanced license because you expect more than 500,000 downloads. Otherwise you could use a Standard license. If the image is a key selling point of the software, you would need an Extended License.

Adobe Stock License FAQ

What Does “License” Mean in Adobe Stock?

The type of license you choose determines the uses for the image. Standard licenses are suitable for web use and small physical print runs, while Extended licenses give you freedom to sell products where the image itself is a key selling point.

Can I Use Adobe Stock Images On My Website?

You can use any Adobe Stock images on your website provided you have at least got a Standard license for them. This is the default license when downloading an image from Adobe Stock.

Read More:

Adobe Stock pricing

What is Adobe Stock 10 Assets a Month?

Adobe Stock vs Shutterstock Comparison

Adobe Stock vs Getty

Follow Tim Daniels:

Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

2 Responses

  1. Jimmy Reed
    | Reply

    Hi Tim. Thanks for the great article. I manufacture promotional buttons and I want to use a photo I see on Adobe stock on a run of buttons. It will be way less than 500,000 buttons. I will need the extended license. Can I pay the extended license one time only, buy the photo, and then continue to sell the buttons ongoing without having to pay anything additional? Or would it require continued monthly payments of some kind?

    thanks for clearing this up if you have a moment to reply,

    • Tim Daniels
      | Reply

      Hi Jimmy,
      You would only need a one-time purchase of the extended license and can then sell the buttons essentially forever with no further payment.

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