Adobe Stock vs Getty: Pros & Cons

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There’s no more famous stock photo agency than Getty Images, although Adobe Stock have only bceome more popular with photo buyers as time goes by.

Licensing photos, videos and vectors from either agency can be a good choice depending on the kinds of images and licenses that you want, with pretty much everything covered across both agencies.

This quick article compares the key differences and similarities for Getty vs Adobe Stock, so that you can be sure that you are getting the subscription or credit pack that is right for you.

At a basic level, when comparing Adobe Stock vs Getty:

  • Getty is the world’s premium image library, and is ideal for those wanting exclusive, rights-managed images, or who want access to the largest image library in the world.
  • Adobe Stock still has tens of millions of very high-quality images, but concentrates on royalty-free imagery, meaning that it is usually substantially better value for money.

adobe stock vs getty
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Getty vs Adobe Stock Comparison

Below are the key technical differences between Getty Images and Adobe Stock. We’ll follow this with some pros and cons of each service, and show you who each service is best suited for.

Comparison Getty Images Adobe Stock
Offers Royalty-Free Images?
Offers Exclusive, Right’s Managed Licenses?
Offers Annual / Monthly Subscriptions?
Offers On-Demand Images?
Has a Dedicated Team to Handle Clearances for you?
No. of Downloads per Month (Subscription) N/A 3; 10; 40; 350; 750
No. of Downloads per On-Demand Pack 1; 5; 10 5; 16; 40; 80; 150
Subscription Cost per Image N/A $0.26 – $9.99
On Demand Cost per Image $150.00 – $499.00 $8.00 – $9.99
Ease of Use Medium – no integration with design software like Adobe Creative Cloud. Same web search interface as Adobe Stock Very easy – search within Adobe Creative Cloud or use smart filters on the site
Major Pros Simple licensing structure; Exclusive licenses available; Dedicated team to handle clearances; World’s top imagery that you don’t see elsewhere Excellent integration with Photoshop & Illustrator; Search functionality is very powerful; High quality images; Low prices
Major Cons Very expensive License types and ‘assets’ terminology can be confusing; Only royalty-free images
Ideal for High-end users looking for world-leading imagery, including some of the most iconic photos in history, and who don’t care about price Freelance designers and agencies looking for high quality, finished images, or those wanting ease of use and excellent value for money
Free Trial None 10 or 40 Free Images

Pros and Cons of Adobe Stock and Getty

Let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of Getty and Adobe Stock.

adobe stock homepage
(Image Credit: Adobe)
Adobe Stock Logo
(Image Credit: Adobe)

Adobe Stock

Pros

  • Huge selection of very high quality images
  • Flexible choice of subscriptions and on-demand pack sizes
  • Excellent search functionality with smart filters
  • Creative Cloud Integration, including Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Premium-feel product ideal for those creating composite designs who want to minimize stress
  • Rollover unused subscription image credits from month-to-month
  • Ability to download extra images on top of a monthly subscription for the same per image price
  • Much cheaper than Getty Images

Cons

  • Imagery is more generic than Getty – no world-famous images
  • More varieties of licensing can be confusing
Getty hompage
(Image Credit: Getty)
Getty Logo
(Image Credit: Getty)

Getty

Pros

  • World-famous imagery
  • The widest selection of images of any library
  • The highest quality images of any library
  • Access to a dedicated image clearance team
  • Fantastic all-round support
  • Exclusive image licensing available
  • Easy to use pricing structure
  • Ideal for photos of celebrities and for single photos for advertising major products

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not ideal for those wanting to create composite images

Who Should Use Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock has a very clean interface and excellent integration with the Adobe Creative Suite of applications. Finding images is easy and straightforward, with the ability to run searches using smart filters within your browser, or directly within programs like Photoshop or Illustrator.

The latter allows you to create a mock-up using watermarked images, then only paying for the images that you need once you have finalized your design, removing the watermark. This makes the process of creating composite images very easy, and is something that the average designer will very much appreciate.

adobe stock prices
Adobe Stock monthly subscription prices
(Image Credit: Adobe)

Adobe Stock pricing is either in annual or monthly subscription, with a set number of images able to be licensed per month for both subscription streams. Licenses are rolled over if unused for the current month, with per-image prices ranging from $0.26 for the 750 assets per month annual subscription to $9.99 for the 3 assets per month monthly subscription.

adobe stock credit pack prices
Adobe Stock on-demand credit pack prices
(Image Credit: Adobe)

One annoyance of Adobe Stock is the separating of images into standard and premium assets. The former costs one credit and can be downloaded using any of the subscription packages. But if you want premium imagery (which tends to be of higher quality, although there seems to be little difference in practice), then you will need to buy a credit pack, with premium imagery starting at 8 credits per image.

Credit packs can also be used for standard images if you do not require a subscription plan, although image cost is higher, ranging from $8.00 per-image for the 150 credit pack to $9.99 per-image for the 5 credit pack.

Overall, Adobe Stock is best for those who create composite imagery or who want more standard stock photos, either on a regular monthly basis, or as one-off images. In practice, this will be most designers and agencies.


Who Should Use Getty?

Getty Images has by far the most impressive library of images of any picture service, with many of the world’s most famous photos available for licensing. The downside to this is the extremely high per-image cost of Getty.

The pricing structure is at least simple, with only on-demand image packs available, with credits never expiring.

getty images pricing
Getty Images pricing
(Image Credit: Getty)

There’s no integrations with design programs, although the browser-based search functionality is good.

The main service-based advantage of Getty is the access you gain to their dedicated image clearance team, who give personal service to ensure that you can get the rights that you require. If you want exclusive use, that’s no problem with Getty, and they can negotiate for the commerical rights to images of celebrities, for example.

Because of Getty’s high cost and the sheer quality of their library, they are not suited for those looking for images to use in composites, but are ideal for high-end agencies and customers looking for that one-off, special image to promote a major product launch.


Adobe Stock or Getty: Which is Better?

Both Adobe Stock and Getty have their benefits and drawbacks, with most customers much better suited to using Adobe Stock’s cheaper, easier to use service.

Although the images at Getty are objectively better, with many recognizably famous images available for licensing, Adobe Stock has a broader range of non-specialist imagery, inlcuding image cutouts and vectors, that every design project needs at one point or another.

Unless you have a specific need for world-famous images, then Adobe Stock offers better value for money, in addition to a free trial.

Adobe Stock Logo
(Image Credit: Adobe)
  • Adobe Stock is best for designers and agencies who want larger numbers of images, particularly if they also use Illustrator and/or Photoshop, who can’t afford to waste their time searching through sub-par images.
(Image Credit: Getty)
  • Getty Images is best for high-end users needing one-off examples of world-famous images.

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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 ...

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