Pixmac and iStockPhoto: Which Is Better For Your Small Business?

Sometimes your business needs stock photos. Whether for advertising or background or just simple in-store promotional efforts there are times when you need a picture of something. And as much as you might like to go grabbing something of Google Photos, you know that phrase “picture may be subject to copyright” can mean deeply unpleasant things for your business. And as such, we’ve got a special head-to-head comparison of two of the biggest sites out there: pixmac.com and istockphoto.com. But which one is better for your business? We’ll take a look at that right now.

In order to determine which stock photo service is better, we’re going to go in and use a universal set of standards to compare them and thus assign a better or worse value. We’ll start with price, number of pictures available, ease of use and a wild card factor, range of pictures to make our determination. In the event of a tie, the winner will go to the lowest cost, as we’re all watching our bottom lines these days.


Pixmac’s prices are really rather affordable, with a quick picture costing between $0.92 and $4.60, and for those who need more pictures, you can buy entire subscriptions to their library for between $99.95 and $299.95 a month, based on the number of pictures you want (the $299.95 model is good for 20 high-resolution pictures a day). Meanwhile, iStockPhoto offers up pictures between $0.95 and $14.25 depending on size. Corporate subscriptions are also available which lower the prices to between $.24 and $3.60 a picture, but you’ll need to buy in bulk.

Edge: Pixmac

Number of pictures available

The numbers unaided were telling enough on this one: Pixmac offers up just over 800,000 pictures, as well as a bonus collection of 51,000 completely free photos. iStockPhoto, meanwhile, offers up not only over eight million pictures, but also has several subcategories including illustrations, video footage, audio samplings and Flash media items.

Edge: iStockPhoto

Ease of Use

Pixmac has a comparatively smaller number of pictures available, but how do you find just the one you want? I assigned a completely random topic of picture to find–namely, a Jack Russell terrier near a birthday cake–and went looking to see how hard it would be to find in either collection, if it could be found at all. While iStockPhoto believed me to be insane, and in turn offered me a variety of subclassifications in which I could go rummaging, Pixmac returned the closest thing it had, namely, a rat terrier on a fuzzy pink blanket wearing a birthday hat. The hat was also in pink. Pixmac then offered up a variety of similar pictures, and a set of related pictures, along with a series of keywords I could choose from to search later. Recovering from the shock of that much pink in one place, I knew what had to be next.

Edge: Pixmac

Range of pictures

Pixmac offers a good variety of pictures, and offers up a set of celebrity photos as well for those of you out there whose business happens to involve talking about famous people. Meanwhile, iStockPhoto has simply more pictures, as well as more types of pictures, so while this time, I found what I wanted on Pixmac, statistically, you have a much better chance of finding what you want on iStockPhoto.

Edge: iStockPhoto

The end result here is actually substantially more difficult to call than first picked. While the winner by our own standards is Pixmac, it’s in a tie, and actually does lose out in some ways.

The best way to express this is, basically, depending on your needs. Start with Pixmac, but be prepared to go to iStockPhoto when you can’t find what you need. You’ve got plenty of options, but now, you’ve also got a plan.

Related Keywords: stock photo, marketing, photography, promotions