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alamy vs. getty

Alamy vs. Getty: Which Stock Site Is The Best?

Wondering which is better between Alamy vs. Getty?

As a student, an educator, and content editor, using images always add color and sophistication to my presentations, modules, and articles. 

If you’re a blogger looking for content for your posts or a photographer looking for your big break, there is no better source for these images than visiting fast and reliable stock sites.

Let us look at two of the biggest stock sites we have on the web and see how both can bring to life the designs you have in mind.

If you’re one to sell your pictures or purchase one, let’s look which is better between Alamy vs. Getty.

What Are Stock Sites?

A stock photography site is an avenue for anyone to purchase images according to their needs.

If you need it as a personal copy, for a business presentation, or an advertisement in print or on TV, stock sites could provide you with the content you need. 

There are two basic types differ according to contributors.

  • Traditional Stock sites get their content from professional photographers, negotiating license fees with the agencies.
  • Micro Stock sites allow both professional and amateur photographers to submit their contributions; these would usually be cheaper options for purchase.

Why Visit A Stock Site?

If you would be interested in paying a photographer to capture a photo for your website or blog, it would surely be expensive. 

Amos Struck writes of “7 Reasons Why You Should Buy Stock Photos,” convinced us how these sites would quickly solve your creative needs. 

Stock sites save you resources and time by giving you access to the photo/s you need for a specific purpose and time. 

It is the modern version of the “Clip Art” we once used in our documents and presentations in Microsoft Word.

What Is Alamy?

Alamy is a British privately-owned company stock site that started in the UK in the year 1999. 

It boasts of “210 million stock images, vectors, videos, and 360-degree panoramic images.” 

Its collection is built up by photographers, stock agencies, archives, and public domain content from Wikimedia Commons.

In February 2020, it was acquired by PA Media Group. 

What Is Getty?

Getty Images is a British-American stock site founded in 1995.

It has over 200 million stock photos, video, and music for businesses and consumers.

Getty Images is known to grow and expand by acquiring agencies that built up the stock photography industry. 

In 2006, Getty Images acquired iStock, increasing its reach and distribution. 

Now, Let’s Compare!

We will be setting both sites against each other on four critical characteristics of stock sites.

Are you someone who searches for content or one who is willing to make a living off your masterpieces?

Or are you just someone trying to determine the better choice between the two?

Let us see how these two sites suit your needs.

Round 1: Searching For What You Seek

Stock sites often battle how many images they can offer versus the quality of the content they produce. 

In this battle, let us look at what these two sites prioritize in their collections.

As of this writing, when you search for “Tree” in both sites, Alamy would give you 10,083,299 results, while Getty offers 4,280,468 photos, illustrations, and vectors.

“Dog” would give you 1,712,808 on Alamy, 412,407 on Getty. 

And “Woman In Office Drinking Coffee” would show you 5,685 and 5,485 choices, respectively.

These figures show us that Alamy offers a more diverse array of images and you’d have a lot to choose from it. 

You may try being more specific with the image you are searching for.

Add keywords and toggle a few filters like image orientation, viewpoint, date taken, and location to suit your ideas. 

The downside of this is that you might have a lot of shots to shuffle with.

As this review says it may, unfortunately, take too much of your time depending on how much you have.

Alamy could have a wider range of pictures, but there can be lower quality images along the way.

Getty, on the other hand, looks much easier to use. 

With more search filters like ethnicity, image style, color, locations, it’s more organized and easier to navigate.  

It also has exclusive access to photographs of more iconic images.. 

And more than creative photos, Getty also provides editorial and news stock images, original videos, music, and blogs to help you in your business or industry. 

Getty may have less in quantity, but you are assured of higher quality materials.

Round 2: Purchasing Your Image

Before we proceed, it’s important to note that the pictures you purchase from stock sites do not become your property.

What you acquire is the right to use the image for the purpose you intend.

Thus, it is essential to determine how often you would use the image or images you have selected and if you will be putting it up on a news article, on a presentation, on a blog, on an advertisement, or anywhere else. 

You may read more about ‘royalties’ here and the difference of rights-managed and royalty-free images here.

With these in mind, let’s talk about money and prices.

Individual Prices

Comparing the two, Alamy comes off cheaper than Getty. 

Alamy does not require you to have a membership fee before purchase, and it easily allows you to download a single image for itself.

At the same time, Alamy allows you to customize your payment to your specific usage. 

You’ll be paying appropriately if you’ll use it for personal, newsletter, social media, marketing package, or television. 

And of course, you’re allowed to buy a royalty-free license according to the file size you wish. 

On Getty, most collections are under Rights-Managed licenses, and this adjusts the prices according to quality, reliability, variation, and uniqueness of the content.

Before purchasing, Getty reminds you that the royalty-free license gives unlimited print runs and digital impressions. 

Getty also grants comprehensive protection for your photos, setting no monetary limit on indemnification

It also offers “Market Freeze,” allowing you to have an individual license to the image and removing that image from their collection as long as you use it.


If you are on a tight budget, both sites offer discounts by packs or bundles.

Alamy offers you the same preferences as you would buy an individual photo, which would typically price from $19 – $375 depending on the license type. 

But you could save up to 30% with buying a 5 Pack, 10 Pack, or 25 Pack, ranging from $16.80 to $174.96 depending on where you would be using it.

On the other hand, Getty makes available Ultra Packs that could be used for editorial and educational purposes. 

Note, these are not for marketing and promotion. 

You could buy packs of 5 or 10, and they do not expire as long as you would sign-in your account at least once a year. 

These packs range from $115 – $110 per image for low-resolution pictures and videos and $450 – $425 for 4k videos and HD pictures. 

Good thing is Getty also provides customized plans for businesses of whatever size. 

If you think Getty is for you, discover more about the Getty Images Ultra Packs’ price range.

In this round, however, Alamy gains a point as it provides cheaper options for your stock photo needs.

Round 3: Submitting Your Work

Maybe you like to take photos as a hobby, or you would like to venture and make it your source of income. 

Let us take a look at how these two sites filter the images they accept into their collection.

Submitting your work in Alamy is either through FTP or Alamy Upload. 

There exists a distinct process for this, and you can learn more here

They may also accept mobile uploads through their iPhone app Stockimo

It goes through a simple Quality Control.

Alamy is said to be more strict in terms of technical quality than in artistic merit.

A slight blemish in your photo could lock you out for 28 days from contributing to the site for quality control.

But most contributors have a breeze in submitting their work.

Because Alamy is an editorial stock image site, it looks for the right content for its audience. 

It is suitable for starters and professionals alike, and it has a demand for current events.


Alamy offers you a 50% commission when they have sold your work exclusive to them, which is higher than any other stock site. 

And even if you plan to sell it to other stock sites, you could receive 40% of all direct sales.

On the other hand, Getty requires you to download their Contributor App.

You must be at least 18 years of age to apply.

They have an initial application process where you submit 3-6 of your samples before they send an invitation for you to contribute to either Getty Images or iStock.

As various reviews would tell you, Getty is very strict in rejections for poor artistic quality. 

They are also strict in model and property releases.

You might want to avoid just sending a ton of takes and retakes. 

Most contributors would emphasize that it is better to submit a confident and clean photo. 

You may use the Getty Images Calculator to help you out if you plan on submitting your masterpieces.


It is indeed challenging to put your photo up in the sale, but you would be able to boast its quality and your skill if it is accepted.

This means that your work is truly a work of art.

Getty is a slow, tedious process, but you would be able to earn 15% – 45% of the royalty from the sale of your contributions.  

They assure you of proper copyright protection too. 

At the same time, if you are asked to submit to iStock, your submissions could still be forwarded to other stock sites.

iStock royalty rates start at 15% for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations. 

However, you could be an exclusive contributor if you earn higher royalty rates in iStock or get invited in Getty Images.

Exclusive contributors can receive between 20% and 45%. 

With the prices that Getty sells their collection, your best shots could make you a living.

Round 4: Customer Service Reviews And Allegations

Different websites and reviewers have varied opinions regarding both sites. 

It is necessary first to note that there is no such thing as a free photo.  

Photographers, contributors, and those maintaining the website need to make a living as well. 

Customer Service is a little complicated to judge, mainly because it depends on who you speak with and even sometimes how you explain your side.

But no website is spared from issues and problems for both contributors and buyers.


There are some that says that Alamy offers better calls for feedback with enthusiastic customer support.

The reviews also noted that it was easier to transact because of the continuity of the conversation. 

But Alamy has been accused by several sites of stealing from military public affairs websites and selling it as their own.

A couple of contributors also had a hard time closing their contributor account and even resorted to getting a lawyer to get this arranged.

If you have concerns about your Alamy, you may try first to contact them through this link or their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

On the other hand, with the reputation of greatness and quality, Getty does seem to have more critical reviews about its bad delivery service and sometimes rude customer support. 

However, most critical reviews are because of the objectionable enforcement tactics done when a copyright has been breached. 

It is useful to bill people who may have been using their photos without a license unknowingly.

But some reviewers talk of the threat of litigation and excessive charges unless immediate payment is sent. 

They are honestly known for their cease-and-desist letters. 

This means that you should not mess with images Getty considers to be their property.

If you need any help in Getty Images, visit first their leading customer service, or you may try to contact their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The Verdict

Alamy is a microstock site with a two-decade reputation. 

I would recommend it for those of you trying to start a business, developing non-profit organization, or designing work for a more straightforward audience.

The cheaper options allow you to have quality content if you are willing to go through the pile.

As a photographer, you may use Alamy as a starting point, especially with a more contributor-friendly service. 

Do expect your contribution to be mixed in the vast collection, so make sure to shoot unique photos with brilliant technical quality. 

With 50% of profit, you would be pleased with the reward when your photo gets chosen.

Getty Images, on the other hand, offers the highest quality with its high price.

With its Market Freeze Option, you can reserve rights to exclusive shots for your company. 

You pay for the high-grade content you seek. 

Because it is a one-stop-shop for different kinds of images and other materials for your creative needs, Getty Images is a reliable site.

A contributor will gain a reputation once accepted into Getty Images. 

You may have trouble getting through the screening process, but practice and passion is a big plus. 

Their strictness in the artistic quality gives you something to boast once your genuine work is accepted.

Final Thoughts

They say that a picture paints a thousand words, and adding one to any of your projects says a lot about the quality of your work. 

If you seek good quality pictures for a relatively low price, Alamy is the place to be. 

But if what you want are exclusive rights to the highest quality of pictures, you’re sure to get your money’s worth with Getty.

Your interest and purpose will guide you to which stock site between Alamy vs. Getty is the one for you.

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