Purchasing on iStock

To download a file on iStock, you need to purchase a royalty-free license. There are two ways to purchase these licenses:

  • Credits let you download files as you need them. Credits are available in preset packs that let you save on downloads when you buy larger quantities.
  • Image subscriptions give you access to a set limit of photo or illustration downloads each month depending on subscription type.

View credits and subscription pricing

Learn more about collections and cost

Purchasing one image

If you've got a one-off need for an image, we make it easy to get single images.

  1. Go to the file's detailed information page
  2. Click "Download this image"
  3. You'll be redirected to the plans and pricing page
  4. Buy just the credits you need under the single image option (1 credit for any Essentials image, 3 credits for any Signature image)
  5. Once you complete your purchase, simply return to the file and click "Download this image" once more to get the file.

Pay per download with credits

All about credits

Credits are like iStock's very own currency and can be used to download any file on iStock – including photos, illustrations and video files. Credits are sold in preset packs – the larger the credit pack, the less you'll pay per credit.

You can combine multiple packs by using the Edit/Add option on the checkout page. Credits never expire, as long as you sign in at least once a year.

View credit pack pricing

Credit pack refunds

Unused credit packs can be returned for a full refund within 14 days of purchase. If any credits from a credit pack have been used, no refunds will be offered.

Image subscriptions

All about subscriptions

An image subscription lets you enjoy our lowest prices on photos, vectors and illustrations by paying a flat rate to access a set limit of downloads every month. Depending on the subscription plan you choose, you can get access to more images in total and more downloads per month. View subscription pricing.

There is no expiration date on your rights to use files downloaded during your subscription period.

Essentials vs. Signature subscriptions

Essential images only subscriptions give you the industry standard photos, vectors and illustrations in our budget Essentials collection. View examples of Essentials images.

Access all images on iStock with our premium image subscriptions. That includes every image in our Essentials collection as well as any of the handpicked premium Signature collection images that you can only get from us. View examples of Signature images.

View subscription details

Looking for information about your subscription? Sign in to your account and check out your overview page to view your subscription type, start and end date, and number of downloads remaining for the month.

Update payment information

If you have a subscription on auto-renew or periodic billing, you will have the ability to update your payment information.

To update your subscription's payment information, sign in to your account and go to the payment information page.

Unused downloads

Your subscription gives you access to a set number of downloads each month. You can rollover up to 250 unused downloads month to month if you've got an annual subscription or a subscription with auto-renew enabled. If auto-renew is disabled when your subscription term ends, you will lose all rollover downloads that you've accrued.

Sharing subscriptions

Our standard subscriptions are built for a single user, which means the same person has to sign in, download and use the files licensed with their subscription. If multiple members of your team need to be able to download and use subscription content, iStock Teamshare might be the right option for you.

Teamshare lets you pay a flat rate for each additional user sharing or accessing a subscription and everyone on a Teamshare subscription draws from the same monthly download limit.

To learn more about how iStock Teamshare can benefit your team, contact us.

Image subscription refunds

If you want a refund for an image subscription purchase you can submit a request in writing by email or through our contact us email form within 14 days from your initial invoice date, provided you have not downloaded more than 5 images and have not made use of any downloaded content.


Auto-renew automatically renews your subscription before it expires so you can continue to download images without worrying about service disruptions.

Your subscription will automatically renew at the end of your term. Renewal rates are subject to change, but we will always notify you of any rate change beforehand. If you use a promotional code to purchase a subscription, the discounted price will only only apply the initial subscription period, with subsequent periods auto-renewed at the website's price for your subscription at the time of renewal. If you make any changes to your subscription such as upgrade, downgrade, or change the number of downloads per month, your auto-renewal price will be updated to reflect these changes.

You can turn off auto-renew any time prior to your renewal date by going to your account.

Upgrade your Subscription

The pricing is determined by how much time is remaining on your current subscription. You can't currently upgrade a subscription online, but we'd be happy to help you. Give us a call.

Billing with terms

To pay for your credits or subscription on terms, you'll need to apply for a credit term account, or to be associated with an existing company account set up with terms. To get the process started, please contact us.


Credit pack refunds

Refunds for credit pack purchases can be made within 14 days of your invoice date, provided you have not used any credits from the credit pack.

Image subscription refunds

If you want a refund for an image subscription purchase you can submit a request in writing by email or through our contact us email form within 14 days from your initial invoice date, provided you have not downloaded more than 5 images and have not made use of any downloaded content.

File download refunds

iStock does not offer refunds or re-credits for downloaded files. File returns will only be considered based on technical issues with the file at the sole discretion of iStock.

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