Alamy review (November 2022)
- Rahul Manchanda
- Nov 16, 2022
- 9 min read
Although Alamy offers high-quality stock photos, its prices and licensing aren’t a good option for most customers. First, it’s considerably more expensive than its competitors, mainly because there are no subscriptions. The ready-made licenses are quite narrow and applicable to only one project, yet still expensive. If you want to use any image for multiple projects, you need to get a royalty-free license that costs up to $675.
Alamy is one of the oldest stock photo agencies, and over the years, it has built an impressive collection of royalty-free stock images.
But Alamy has been criticized for unfair image acquisitions; allegedly, it sells images that are free for everyone.
Regardless of allegations, Alamy’s images are very high-quality and the variety of images covers most users’ needs, but those looking for affordable stock images will find better options elsewhere.
» MORE: Cheapest stock photo sites
Alamy sells images on-demand only, meaning you buy each image individually. You can also buy image packs to save some money, but it’s still more expensive than competing stock photo sites that offer subscriptions.
Alamy licenses images in two ways: based on the use (cheaper) and based on the image (more expensive). If you license an image for a specific use, that image cannot be repurposed elsewhere because you would need to buy a new license. However, royalty-free licenses based on images are more expensive, but you may use that image in multiple projects.
You can buy each license separately, which is the more expensive option:
Or save with image packs:
In addition to standard images, Alamy also licenses 360 images (=panoramas):
Instead of buying images for a single project, you can use them in multiple projects when you buy real royalty-free image licenses. The price depends on their size.
Alamy offers bespoke licenses, completely tailored to your needs. No matter if you’re a smaller business owner who’s looking for a few stock images a year or a well-established company, Alamy is happy to help you.
Compared to a royalty-free license, a rights-managed license lets you use an image only for a certain project, within a certain time frame, and only in a certain area. Alamy has a very handy tool to select these parameters, which also govern the price. The rights-managed license can cost from a few hundred dollars to $16k+, like in the example below.
Alamy accepts all major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA, American Express), PayPal, and Google Pay, so you won’t have any problems finding the right payment option for yourself. All payments are safe and quickly processed, giving you the chance to instantly start using the purchased images.
Below is a screenshot of the Alamy payment dialogue.
Alamy has a fantastic image search tool, that was so effective that Alamy even applied it for a patent. It is very easy to use and the implementation of various parameters makes finding the perfect image a simple task.
With the selection of proper search filters, you can narrow down your search and find exactly the image you’re looking for. You can search by:
Alamy’s advanced search filter is a great tool if you want to search for a particular collection or photographer or do a more detailed search. You can search by contributor name, or terms such as “all words”, “phrases”, “at least one of the words”, or “without the words”.
Related reading: Alamy Search Tools on Alamy Blog
Lightboxes let you store images that you find and like when you’re searching, saving them for later, should you decide to purchase them.
To create a Lightbox, make sure you’re registered first. You can do this easily and quickly by clicking the “Sign Up” button, and popping in your details.
Once you’re logged in to your account, go to the homepage and select “My Alamy” in the top right corner and click “Lightbox” from the drop-down menu. Select “Add a Lightbox”, give it a name, and description (optional). Click “Save” and you’re all set to start adding images to your Lightbox.
To start adding content to your Lightbox, go to the homepage, and enter your search term in the search bar. There are 2 ways to add images from the search results page.
Option 1. When you find an image that you like, hover the mouse over it and a set of 4 icons will very conveniently pop up. Click on the left-most icon.
Once you click the icon, a box will appear at the bottom of the screen, where you can select which Lightbox you want to add an image to.
Alamy promises that an icon changes once the image is added to a Lightbox to let you know that the task has been completed. However, no matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t make it work. Although the image was saved to my Lightbox, the icon didn’t change. This is not a huge issue since you get a confirmation when your image is saved to your Lightbox. It is probably only a temporary bug.
Option 2. When you find an image that you like, you can click on it and you will land on the image page. Next, you can click on the “Add to Lightbox” option under the image.
Once again, I couldn’t make the icon change work. Although not a deal-breaker, it would be nice to have. You can also learn more about Lightboxes in the Alamy vlog:
Alamy’s licensing is meant to be simplified, but it instead adds another level of complexity, because you also need to decide which license to buy. In addition, because Alamy doesn’t license stock images with subscriptions, it’s considerably more expensive than its alternatives, such as Adobe Stock or iStock. As a result, Alamy is not the best choice for smaller businesses and individuals on a limited budget, while large companies with more budget will benefit from better premium alternatives, such as GettyImages.
To review Alamy accurately, we took a holistic view of 31 stock photo agencies that incorporated image number, quality, variety, prices and pricing options, licensing terms, features, and customer support.
Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, the number of images per most popular searches, technical quality, and added value. We also looked at the variety of pricing plans, minimum, median, and maximum image prices, and free trial terms. Finally, we evaluated Alamy’s customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.
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