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Download Adobe Stock for free: how to get royalty-free images at zero cost

Variety of images on Adobe Stock homepage
(Image credit: Adobe)

Previously known as Fotolia, Adobe Stock is a stock image library that provides millions of premium stock photographs, video clips, animations, illustrators, icons, templates, 3D models, audio clips, and other assets for royalty-free use in your creative projects. 

It's primarily notable for its size, the quality of its assets and perhaps most importantly, its integration with Adobe apps. This means that it's very easy to, for example, trial an Adobe Stock photo within a design you're crafting in Photoshop, before you decide to buy it.

Adobe Stock assets can be bought in one of two ways: by purchasing credit packs, or by taking out a subscription, which entitles you to a set number of assets every month. However, there are also two perfectly legal ways you can download Adobe Stock files for free.

Download 10 free images with a free trial of Adobe Stock Take out a 30-day free trial of Adobe Stock, and you'll get 10 Adobe Stock standard assets, absolutely free. If you wish to end your subscription, you can cancel risk-free at any time during the trial period. Otherwise, Adobe will start charging you during your second month. Click the link above or the View Deal button.View Deal

Download Adobe Stock assets for free: method 1

Firstly, there are more than 70,000 Adobe Stock files available for free on the site. You don't need to supply any credit card details to access them, nor take out a subscription to either Adobe Stock or Creative Cloud. You just need to create an Adobe ID for free, and then you can find a variety of free assets here.

You can browse these free Adobe Stock files by category or topic. All free images on Adobe Stock's site are cleared for commercial-use, and are royalty-free.

Download Adobe Stock assets for free: method 2

The second way to download Adobe Stock assets for free is to take out a free 30-day trial to Adobe Stock, which allows you to download up to 10 standard assets for free. (Note: Adobe Stock divides its assets into 'Standard' and 'Premium'. The latter are, as the name suggests, higher in quality, but there are plenty of decent Standard files that are worth downloading too).

To start your free trial, head to this page and click the button that reads 'Start Free trial'. Again, you’ll need an Adobe ID to start your trial, and this time you will need to supply credit card details. However, as long as you cancel your subscription before the end of the trial, you won't be charged.  

How much does it cost to download Adobe Stock?

Adobe Stock assets can be purchased directly from within Creative Cloud desktop apps such as Photoshop and Illustrator, or via the website stock.adobe.com. However, you can't just pay for a single asset, you have to pay for a bunch of them at once. There are two methods of doing so.

Option 1 is to buy a credit pack. These allow you to download packs of five, 16, 40, 80 or 150 credits. The bigger the pack, the cheaper each credit gets. 

So for example, the cheapest package gets you five credits for $49.95 / £29.95 / AU$54.95, which works out as $9.99 / £5.99 / AU$10.99 each, while the most expensive pack gets you 150 credits for $1,200 / £600 / AU$1,308.99, which means you're paying just $8 / £4 / AU$8.72 each

Just to make things a little more complicated, different assets cost a different number of credits. So you can buy standard images and templates for just one credit, whereas videos cost between 8 and 12 credits each, and premium images start at 12 credits each.

Option 2 is to take out an annual or monthly subscription. Annual plans are the most economical, allowing you to download 10 assets for $29.99 / £19.99 / AU$39.95 per month; 40 assets for $79.99 / £47.99 / AU$109.99 per month; 350 assets for $169.99 / £65.99 / AU$219.99 per month; or 750 assets for $199.99 / £119.99 / AU$263.99 per month. 

Global: Get a subscription to Adobe Stock from $29.99/month
UK: 
Get a subscription to Adobe Stock from £19.99/month
Australia: 
Get a subscription to Adobe Stock from AU$39.95/month With a subscription to Adobe Stock, you can download from 10 assets a month for use in your creative projects. Click the link above, or the View Deal button.View Deal

Is Adobe Stock included in the Creative Cloud subscription?

An Adobe Stock subscription is NOT included in the Creative Cloud subscription, which has to be paid for separately. However, it's still worth subscribing to the Creative Cloud, because Adobe Stock is so beautifully and seamlessly integrated into a range of Adobe apps. 

With a Creative Cloud subscription, for instance, you'll be able to import Adobe Stock assets quickly and easily into apps like Photoshop, without ever having to leave the interface. That's a fantastic productivity boost, especially as you can trial Adobe Stock assets in your designs before committing to buy them.

Get an all-Apps Creative Cloud subscription: $52.99 per month (US) / £49.94 per month (UK) / AU$76.99 per month (Aus) An All Apps subscription to the Creative Cloud will allow you to make the best use of Adobe Stock. When you're working in apps like Photoshop, you'll be able to import and try out Adobe Stock assets easily and quickly, without ever leaving the interface. View Deal

Can students and teachers get a discount on Adobe Stock?

No, there's no educational discount on Adobe Stock. However, if you’re a student, teacher or anyone working in education, then you can get a big discount on an All Apps Creative Cloud plan. This means the price plummets just $19.99 / £16.24 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year, and then $29.99 / £24.96 / AU$43.99 the following year. 

Educational discount: Get After Effects as part of an all-Apps Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (first year only): $19.99 per month (US)£16.24 per month (UK) /  AU$21.99 per month (Aus) Students, teachers and education workers can get an All Apps subscription to the Creative Cloud at a bargain price, allowing you to make the best use of Adobe Stock. In the second year, you can continue to access Creative Cloud for $29.99 / £24.96 / AU$43.99 if you choose.View Deal

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.