Although few in number, subscription-based services work well for heavy stock users.
If you find your business using a lot of royalty-
free (RF) stock imagery, a subscription-
based service may be a good option.
Although only a few stock providers currently
offer this option"?most still only
allow users to pay on a per-image or per-collection
basis"?the economics of this makes
sense when you compare a monthly or
yearly fee to paying for multiple downloads
within that same time period.
Generally, subscriptions are available
in monthly, 6-month, and yearly options.
Some companies also base their prices
on the size and resolution of the images
available; in these cases, print versions of
images requiring higher resolution will
require a more-expensive subscription
than will a membership that comprises
only lower-res images for Web and multimedia
Once the subscription price is paid,
subscribers can download from the
company's website as many images per
day or month as the contract will allow.
Keep in mind that most subscription
prices are for single-user licenses only;
multiple users from a single company,
for instance, usually must purchase
multi-user licenses, which are more
What follows is a list of subscriptionbased
RF companies that offer high-resolution
stock imagery. We avoided companies
geared more toward consumer/
low-resolution images and those focused
primarily on multimedia applications.
A division of Hemera (see below), Able-
Stock was launched in 2002. Its collection
includes underwater images, retro
images, Asian and Latin people, family,
modern business, modern lifestyles,
technology, finance, medical, and tasteful
nudes. It offers stock photos as well as
photo-object images (images with the
backgrounds removed), raster illustrations,
and vector illustrations.
AbleStock offers three different subscription
options: $799/year, $599/6
months, and $179/month. All subscribers
have access to more than 82,800 royaltyfree
images, including the site's "superhigh"
resolutions of 28 MB, which print at
sizes of 8 x 12 to 9 x 13.5 in.
Although there is no limit to how many
images subscribers may use, there is a
maximum of 100 downloads per day
(some exceptions may be granted). Each
subscriber is provided with a single-user
license. Agencies may purchase multipleuser
licenses: A 1-year license for five
users costs $1599; a 1-year license for 10
users is $2599.