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Dreamstime Review

Dreamstime is a stock photo agency with almost 15 years in the industry. Being one of the early players in the microstock business, they forged a great reputation and are amongst the top companies in the space. Offering a library of over 85 million royalty free stock images, they have affordable prices and quality of service.

Dreamstime sells photos on demand with credits for $0,88 – $22,50 each depending on size and level, and credit pack used. Best prices are with subscription plans. You can choose your plan duration from one month up to one year and your download volume, getting photos for between $0,22 and $5 the unit. Dreamstime is a very valid option to buy cheap stock photos from a reliable outlet.

Check out their collections easily: use the Dreamstime search feature below to enter your keywords and get lots of images in return!

We bring you the top 10 most downloaded photos in 2018 by Dreamstime and another 5 top stock photo agencies compared! Do check out this great resource to see what photos are most popular in Dreamstime right now and get inspiration for your upcoming stock photo downloads and further designs!

Dreamstime Review Basics

  • Over 11 million images
  • Dreamstime has been online since 2000
  • File types sold on Dreamstime are ordinary photos, vector files, TIFF files and exclusive photos. Vector files are available in JPG, AI and EPS formats.  RAW files are available for purchase.
  • Accepts payment by PayPal, Visa, American Express and MasterCard, JBC, Discovery Card

Dreamstime Particulars

  • Searchable by keywords, categories, collections, file type, orientation, license type. They enlist their community as Dream Team members to work on the search and keyword functions to ensure that the images and files can be searched in-depth.
  • Free weekly images and free image gallery
  • Active Blog (over 5 posts per day and member generated), forums and message boards for buyers and photographers alike, offering: tips,discussions, help and tools
  • Languages including: English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Italian, Portuguese
  • Their FAQ is extensive and is for members and contributors. The FAQ sections are designed to find answers.
  • Dreamstime has their corporate headquarters in Brentwood, USA

Dreamstime Credit-and Subscription Based Currency Options

The Dreamstime credit and subscription template is one of the easiest to use. They clearly outline what options are available, enable multiple currencies (that automatically know your geographical location), and are very transparent in the pricing per credit.

An exclusive process to Dreamstime, is their pricing system that is based on the popularity (number of downloads) of photos. The price of a photo, or the amount of credits needed to purchase an image or file could be 3 to 5 credits more in a few months if it is a downloaded more than 5 times by the membership database.  This affects both the credit and subscription payments.

Credit buying options:

  • Credits can be purchased in predetermined packages or through a custom selection option.
  • Credits start as low as 93¢ with a maximum price of $1.25 per credit with the credit package plan.
  • Custom selection has a minimum credit purchase of 110 credits at .93¢. The more you buy the less per credit you spend.
  • Minimum of 8 credits to start in their pre-bundled credit packages, which costs $9.99 (equal to $1.23 per credit).
  • Extended licenses can be purchased with credits starting at 50 Credits

Credit Pros

  • Custom and pre-packaged options
  • Extended licenses can be purchased with credits
  • Credit-based service allows you to purchase just one image at a time
  • An extensive Image Terms FAQ outlines credit cost of images and files for members
  • Multi-seat licenses can be purchased with credits

Credit Cons

  • Credits are pricey (starting at $1.23)
  • Photo’s pricing is based on the amount of downloads which can greatly raise the cost of purchasing the pictures. There is not a guaranteed image price for all images.

Subscription Services

Dreamstime offers subscription buying options that are defined by image purchases but use a confusing download calculation system based on image levels and download quantity:

  • Flexible subscription options
  • Minimum of 10 images per day to a maximum of 50 images per day
  • One week, One month, 3 month, 6 month and annual subscriptions

Here is an example of the subscription description of image pricing:

Level 1 & 2 images = 1 download
Level 3 & 4 images = 2 downloads
Level 5 images = 3 downloads

Subscription Pros

  • Flexibility in subscription options
  • Subscription services are cheap

Subscription Cons

  • Unclear which images or files can be downloaded on the subscription plan
  • Alternative licensing options require the purchase of credits for payment
  • Little information on subscription plans
  • Very confusing pricing of cost per downloads so it is difficult to figure out how much images really cost

Image Searching Tools

Keymasters from the Dreamstime Dream Team work tirelessly to improve the searchability of stock photos and files. Involving members in the process has proven a success model for Dreamstime.

Basic search options are extensive and include licensing options. Their Dreams Finder provides even further in-depth search parameters. They also include well defined categories, have member picked collections, and enable image display options that include image properties, model properties and record latest searches.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Their use of icons to save space in the search engines can be confusing but not unmanageable.
  • A search can become too overwhelming for new members who are not familiar with all the licensing definitions

Licensing Options

Dreamstime has some of the most extensive licensing options out of any of the stock photo agencies.  This includes the purchase of an image copyright. The licensing options include royalty free, extended, editorial, and full copyright.

What they have done is segmented the extended licensing into categories, unlimted seats, unlimited copies, print usage and web usage and created their own codes for each of these extended licenses. It is confusing, but it does clarify for the buyer (once they study their segments) exactly how they can use the images.

Add-ons and Special Features

Dreamstime Blog-Their blog is worth mentioning as it is the only member driven and member written blog seen in stock photography agencies. It is active and answers questions that new and more seasoned users can benefit from.

Stock Photo Utilities-This is for designers and includes information, books and suggestions. This is useful for new and seasoned members and I would guarantee that this is also membership driven from the Dream Team

Photo Map-If you require geographical images and photos, Dreamstime just introduced their photo map that allows members to search by country.

Merchandise Store-For their members, Dreamstime has created a retail store of Dreamstime merchandise.  It lends to their community based model and assists in creating their tribe.

Our Dreamstime Special Deal can be found here.

Dreamstime Review Summary

Using their community based model to drive their website that engages their members and contributors, Dreamstime is a great stock photography agency to get involved with and learn from the members. Their extensive licensing options, copyright purchasing option and RAW file inventory is well worth a free membership so you can utilize these features.

Their searching tools provide in-depth file searches, where a member can find photos easily and with the right licensing options. It would be nice to see a less confusing subscription buying option that is more transparent and would require no studying of their terms and conditions and use of in-house definitions of image downloads. Additionally the price increase on popular files makes it difficult to gauge prices over time.

Dreamstime has been a leader in the stock photography business for over 11 years and will continue to be an innovator in the industry.


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