How does Adobe Stock stack up?

Wondering whether or not it’s time for you to switch to Adobe Stock? Sick of hearing us banging on about the incredibly awesome workflow benefits that come with the integration into Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? OK, well how about some cold hard facts to help you make up your mind about how Adobe Stock stacks up against your current provider?

Here’s a quick guide that pits Adobe Stock against the big boys: iStock, Shutterstock, Bigstock and depositphotos.

Who has the most assets?

While I’ve always been told it’s quality not quantity, if you’re drawing blanks and want something to inspire you, having plenty of images to look through is always a bonus. But how do the stock providers compare to each other?

Adobe Stock – Adobe Stock has 45 million assets and counting. Since it’s launch in autumn last year, an additional 5 million have already been added to the pot! 

Big Stock – Despite the name, this is by no means the largest library on the list, with a relatively respectable 32 million assets.

depositphotos – While we’ve struggled to get a definitive number for this one, the last source we can find put this at about 12+ million items, making it the second smallest on the list.

iStock – Last reported, iStock had about 10+ million assets on its books, making it the smallest stock provider on the list.

Shutterstock – Definitely one of the largest databases on file, it has over 70 million stock assets. 

Verdict: While Adobe Stock doesn’t have the largest number of assets within its library, it is by no means the smallest, and is a big jump for anyone using iStock, depositphotos or Big Stock.

What assets are available?

Of course, it’s not all about imagery. Many stock websites also offer video and audio for more complete multimedia provision.

Imagery – As expected, all of the providers on the list offer creative and editorial imagery. Well, you’d hope so…

Illustrations and vector images – Illustrations and vectors aren’t always a given on stock services, but depositphotos, Big Stock, iStock, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock all include both though.

Video – Another big area for stock services is video. Adobe Stock has only recently added it to its arsenal, and all of the other providers on the list are advocates.

Audio – Audio is always a bit of a wild card for stock services and, of the full list, iStock and Shutterstock are the only ones to include it.

Verdict: For the most part, all of the services are fairly evenly weighted. Just bear in mind that if you’re after audio, then only iStock and Shutterstock are viable options. Adobe Stock is a good option for the non-audiophiles out there.

Who has the best assets? The zebra test…

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Jigsaw24 mascot is the elegant animal that is the zebra. Naturally, we find ourselves looking out for the very best zebra photography all the time. So how do the different stock providers look in terms of their zebra libraries?

depositphotos – A search on here returned 16,162 photos. Unlike others on the list, there’s much more of an emphasis on masked images of zebras on white backgrounds, and those that are photos aren’t always of the highest quality.

 deposit photos – the zebra test

Big Stock – Another with a focus on natural photography. The quality of the images is nice, although considering this has the fewest results (13,335 in total) a lot of the assets seem to be variations of the same image. Also, note that the search doesn’t seem to be able to distinguish between a zebra and a zebra crossing.

 Big stock – the zebra test

iStock – Now powered by Getty Images, it’s interesting that iStock returns very different results. A total of 18,133 assets for a search of ‘zebra’ with quite a nice mix of decent photography, zebras on white backgrounds and the odd quirky image thrown in.

 iStock – the zebra test

Shutterstock – The largest number of results came from Shutterstock, with a whopping 33,662 images! Quality is a mixed bag overall, with plenty of stylised photos as well as plenty you wouldn’t look twice at.

 Shutter stock – the zebra test

Adobe Stock – Like iStock, Adobe Stock has a nice mixture of assets and returns 18,786 results, making it the third largest in quantity. Oddly, Adobe Stock seems to return a large number of other objects (rhinos, birds, cake…) masquerading as zebras.

Adobe Stock – the zebra test 

Verdict: They all have their own specialities which makes it difficult to directly compare, but when it comes to variation and range Shutterstock, iStock and Adobe Stock come up trumps.

Which is the most expensive? 

It’s the all-important question and ultimately what helps sway the decision in many businesses, so what’s the difference in price?

First off, a slight caveat in that direct comparisons between different stock providers can be difficult because of the sheer number of options out there. However, for the purposes of this piece, we’re approaching it from the angle of needing an annual subscription for a team with a standard licence.

iStock – iStock only advertise for single users, and for a team subscription you would be looking at a higher cost. Their pricing is split between ‘Essentials’ subscriptions (which includes basic images only) and ‘Signature’ subscriptions (which includes access to all imagery.). For an annual Signature subscription, you can get 50 images per month for £119 (£2.38 per image) up to 750 images per month for £199.92 (27p per image).

Shutterstock – Shutterstock do offer team packages, with prices increasing as the number of users does. For a team of two users, they offer a 750 images per month package for £179 (24p per image).

Big Stock – Unfortunately there’s no mention of a teams package or an annual subscription, but monthly packages are available. For 25 images per month it’s £45 (£1.80 per image), and there are options up to 200 images per month for £112 (56p per image).

depositphotos – Team packages are available with an annual subscription through depositphotos. For 50 images it’s £51 per month (£1.02 per image) and options are available up to 500 images per month for £171 (34p per image).

Adobe Stock – The big thing to bear in mind here are that pooled imagery amongst teams does not cost more with Adobe Stock, so there’s no increase price as your team grows. A 10 image per month subscription will set you back £20 per month (equivalent to £2 per image). For 750 images per month, it’s £120 per month (or 16p per image).

Verdict: Adobe Stock is the clear winner in price when looking at team subscriptions. Ultimately, across all three services, the more images you’re buying the cheaper it’s going to be, but in terms of cost per image, Adobe Stock is the most cost-effective.

And one more thing… productivity

Stock imagery and productivity might sound like an odd combination, but the fact is that where Adobe Stock is in a very unique position is in its integration with your Creative Cloud applications. As well as being able to search for imagery directly within the app without having to jump back to the Adobe website, preview images can be saved and manipulated within your projects, then when it comes to buying the final version, you hit a button and it swaps out the preview for the final high res image, retaining any adjustments you made to the preview. Basically, it eradicates the need to duplicate work, so in theory, Adobe Stock makes you twice as fast.

And in regards the other stock providers? Oh, is that tumbleweed we see…

Buy Adobe Stock at Jigsaw24

Want to find out more about Adobe Stock? Head on over to our Adobe Stock page to take a look at the full feature-set. You can also give us a call on 03332 409 259, email or pop your details in the form below.

*Prices correct at the time of writing.

Call us: 03332 409 306

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