Published on 1 March 2018 | Updated on 18 July 2021
Have you ever wondered how you can speed up your design workflow? There is, among others, a simple way: take advantage of the best stock photo plugins designed by the best stock photo agencies.
We tried a few different plugins but decided to focus only on some of them as in our opinion these are the best stock photo plugins.
As stock photographers, since 2016 we use Adobe Creative Cloud apps in our every day work so we took closer look at Adobe CC plugins from Shutterstock, iStock and Getty Images.
We don’t normally use Chrome browser, but we installed and tried Getty Images ‘New Tab’ plugin to see if it is worth recommendation.
Although we focus on the best stock photo plugins, we don’t forget about videographers so we mention Pond5 plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro.
Best Stock Photo Plugins
Shutterstock Plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud
Along with the recent update of Adobe Creative Cloud applications, Shutterstock has released an updated version of their Plugin, and it is among the best stock photo plugins available. With this plugin you save time as you get access to Shutterstock royalty-free images, vectors and videos straight from the most popular Adobe programs. Shutterstock plugin is designed for Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro.
This 4-in-1 Shutterstock plugin is very straight forward no matter which application you use.
- Once you open it you get access to millions of royalty free stock photos, vectors, illustrations and videos without leaving the application.
- Choose an image from curated collections or search with keywords.
- Insert watermarked preview into your project and make as many edits as you like.
- Add images to your collections.
- Sign in to your Shutterstock account (or create a new one) from within the plugin.
- License the content – your edits will be automatically applied to the image you download.
When searching for stock photos, you can filter search results by Popular/Relevant/Newest and by orientation (Horizontal/Vertical/All). Preview the image (along with similar or same model images) in the plugin or choose to see it on Shutterstock website.
When signed in, you can check your account details, create new collections, see (and clear) your preview history and images you licensed.
Watch the video to see Shutterstock plugin for Adobe Photoshop in action.
To use the Shutterstock plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud:
- Download the plugin.
- Open and install it.
- Open the Adobe Creative Cloud app. (Or restart it if already open).
- In the program you work with go to Window > Extensions > Shutterstock to start the plugin.
All plugin users can take advantage of this special offer: 20% discount on stock images and videos. Just click on the “Exclusive Offer” banner in the plugin and your coupon code will be automatically applied at the checkout.
If you don’t have a Shutterstock account yet, you can sign up directly from the plugin. If you’d prefer to register online, visit Shutterstock Website and create your free account. You can also check our Shutterstock Photo Search to find perfect images without leaving StockPhotoAdviser’s website.
iStock Plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud
Another best stock photo plugin comes from iStock and appears to be pretty similar to Shutterstock’s although when you look closer it has some different features. The principle is the same: search and license stock photos and vectors without leaving the program. It is designed for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, all CC 2016 versions and above. To use the plugin you will need Mac OS X 10.9 or greater and Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 or greater.
Advanced search engine lets you filter results by license type (Creative/Editorial), number of people and even color. Search by photos or illustrations and sort the images by newest or most popular, and even exclude nudity.
Open high resolution watermarked previews in your application with one click or add them to any of your boards.
Set your own preferences and specify where to save your comps or licensed images: to the current project folder or specific folder. You can also decide what you want to do with new downloads. Place them as individual layers in current document or open as new documents.
Once you find your perfect image you can check its details, such as title, author, license, and keywords. You can also see similar images, and those with the same model are presented first. Then simply follow the link in the plugin to purchase the image on iStock website.
All your edits are automatically carried over to the final, licensed version.
You can access all previous downloads and purchases not only in the plugin, but also on iStock website and mobile apps.
See what you can do with the iStock plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud.
Getting this plugin to work takes 4 easy steps:
- Download iStock plugin.
- Open installer and follow on-screen prompts to install the plugin.
- Open the Adobe Creative Cloud application. (Or restart it if already open).
- In the application, go to Window > Extensions > iStock to start the plugin.
The biggest difference between Shutterstock and iStock plugins is that you cannot use the latter with Adobe Premiere, and therefore you cannot download videos.
If you are a stock photo buyer looking for iStock coupon codes read this post to get our special discount on credits and subscription.
Getty Images Plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud
Getty Images also designed one of the best stock photo plugins but it is almost the same as iStock’s. The main difference is that it is for Getty Images users registered for Getty Images’ Premium Access, Easy Access, and UltraPacks accounts.
Comparing to iStock plugin, image search offers a few more filters, including number of people, age, people composition, image style and ethnicity. On the image details page you also see a little bit more information, such as the size, resolution and release info.
These are generally all differences between iStock’s and Getty Images plugins and even the design is very similar.
To learn more about Getty Images plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud watch the video below.
Get the plugin from Getty Images website and install it following the same steps as for the other two plugins. Then you find the plugin in the program under Window > Extensions > Getty Images tab.
Unfortunately, same as with the iStock plugin, you cannot download video clips as the Getty Images plugin is not compatible with Adobe Premiere yet.
123RF Stock Photos Add-on for Adobe Photoshop
Yet another plugin named 123RF Stock Photos Add-on for Photoshop. It’s not as feature-packed as the other plugins and you’ll need to sign up for a 123RF account to be able to use it. It should not be a problem, just visit 123RF Website and register for free. You can still install it and browse the assets but without login in you cannot paste images into your artboard.
123RF Stock Photos Add-on for Adobe Photoshop is available both for Mac and Windows users. You can install it in 3 simple steps:
- Download the Add-on from 123RF website.
- Run the installation package. Once installed, you will be prompted to restart Photoshop if open.
- In Photoshop, launch the Add-on from Window > Extensions > 123RF Stock Photos.
Once you open the plugin, you can browse stock images by categories or you can search with your own keywords. What is great about this plugin – you get access to free stock photos section. The only thing you have to do is to sign up for free.
123RF Stock Photos Add-on for Photoshop does not have so many features as the other best stock photo plugins but 123RF registered users can now simplify their workflow and have access to 123RF impressive collection directly in Adobe Photoshop.
Pond5 Plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro
Although we focus on the best stock photo plugins it would be unfair not to mention Pond5 Add-on for Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It’s principle is 100% the same as of the other Adobe Creative Cloud plugins: get access to Pond5 videos, music tracks and sound effects without leaving Adobe Premiere. It works on Mac and Windows and is compatible with Premiere Pro CC 2015 and above. Unfortunately, there is no support for images and vectors so it cannot be used with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
To install the Pond5 Add-on:
- Visit Adobe Add-ons page.
- Click on ‘Free’ button.
- Adobe Creative Cloud application will notify you of the add-on installation.
- After installing, you can find the add-on in your program under Windows > Extensions > Pond5.
Watch the video to check the Pond5 Adobe Premiere Pro Add-on features.
With Pond5 Add-on for Adobe Premiere you can:
- Filter your search results by price, duration, resolution, or frame rate.
- Insert previews directly into your project.
- Replace watermarked previews with hi-res clips you purchase.
- Access your existing Pond5 media collections, or create new ones within the plugin.
And now the best part: Pond5 plugin comes with 50 free clips worth more than $1,000 for you to try!
Getty Images ‘New Tab’ Plugin
This plugin, designed purely for Chrome is one of the best stock photo plugins we have tried. Excellent idea and design that brings great visual experience to almost everyone for free. It is released by Getty Images so it is obvious that with this plugin you can purchase stock photos only from Getty Images or iStock. The plugin is a Chrome extension so visit the Chrome Web Store and click the Add to Chrome button to install it.
Once installed and enabled, each time you open new tab you will see full-screen photo from Getty Images. Each time you reload it, it will display a new image.
With this plugin you can:
- Search Google, Getty Images or iStock collections.
- Pick 3 categories of images displayed at the bottom of your screen: choose the most popular news, entertainment, sports and events images.
- Control time with a 12/24 hour clock and date.
- Change settings to see only what you need on the screen.
- Disable all options and see beautiful images with no distractions.
- Get the plugin in 9 languages (English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish).
TIP: When we installed and open the plugin for the first time, we experienced something strange. We could see the image but there was nothing else on the screen, no options, no search bar, no clock. Fortunately, restarting Chrome resolved the issue.
And the winner is….
In our opinion, first three plugins for Adobe Creative Cloud are the best stock photo plugins on the market. They carry similar features, work like charm and allow to sign in or register new account from the plugin.
Getty Images plugin displays more image details and offers more search filters that the other two. On the other hand Shutterstock offers 20% discount to its plugin users and it can be also used with Adobe Premiere Pro. And taking into consideration that Shutterstock and Getty are two competitive giants, you probably already have your preferences from where you (would like to) download stock images for your projects.
Runner up is the 123RF Stock Photos Add-on for Photoshop. With less features and options than the other three, it is still a handy tool for 123RF registered users.
Pond5 users should also consider the Add-on for Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It cannot be used with Photoshop or Illustrators but gives users access to millions of HD and 4K video clips, music tracks and sounds.
The last one tested, Getty Images ‘New Tab’ for Chrome is more of an aesthetic experience than packed with features stock photo tool. If you don’t buy stock photos you can use it to admire amazing images each time you start Chrome. Or just to search the web 🙂
What are your best stock photo plugins?
Share your thoughts in the comments on which stock photo plugins you use in your everyday work. We’ll be happy to test them and then share our opinion with other StockPhotoAdviser readers.