Shutterstock Review (2024): Worth it or Not?

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Review Summary
Photos260 million
Videos27 million
Free TrialYes
AlternativesiStock & Pond5
Shutterstock logo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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In this review, we test out Shutterstock by looking at stock media quality, pricing, and website features.

Firstly, it’s no secret that Shutterstock is one of the most popular stock photo and video websites out there. And it’s easy to see why when you consider what it offers. We’ve been using it for years but is it the right option for you?

Get 15% off at Shutterstock. Find the perfect royalty-free stock image, footage, or music to enhance your next project. 🙌

What is Shutterstock?

Simply put, when you need stock media, Shutterstock should be one of your go-to resources. Founded way back in 2003, it has grown into one of the largest and most popular stock agencies in the world.

As such, it now offers 400 million images, videos, templates, and music tracks at affordable prices. As a bonus, you can also browse the library for free before you sign up. So, you can decide if it’s the right platform for you before you shell out any cash.

Who is Shutterstock for?

We’ve already seen that Shutterstock has a massive library of images, videos, and music tracks. Basically, it offers everything any creator could ever need. It’s perfect for any of the following:

  • Filmmakers
  • Content creators
  • Video Editors
  • Photographers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Marketing companies

How Does it Work?

Shutterstock categories
Categories – Shutterstock Review

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of content on Shutterstock. Luckily, the platform has made finding the content you’re looking for easy. For example, you can browse the content on the platform by category, media type, or collection. This is perfect for those cases where you’re searching for something but not exactly sure what it is.

By far the easiest way to find stock media is using Shutterstock’s search feature. Here, it’s as simple as choosing the type of media you’re looking for, entering your keywords, and hitting the search button. You can even search the library on the go with one of Shutterstock’s mobile apps.

Shutterstock Features

Once you go to the Shutterstock homepage, you’ll see that the interface is intuitive and easy to use. As such, it’s simple to find what you’re looking for using either the menu bar or the search feature.

Menu Bar

Menu bar
Menu Bar – Shutterstock Review

If you want to explore the latest media on Shutterstock, the navigation menu comes in handy. It’s also helpful if you’re unsure what you’re looking for.

With it, every media type from images to footage and music has a dropdown menu. Using these dropdown menus, you can go to the homepage for the media type or browse by category.

Depending on the option you select, you’ll go to a results page or a subpage. On the subpage, you’ll be able to choose more categories.

Search bar
Search Bar – Shutterstock Review

You’ll likely find what you’re looking for using the menu bar, but the search bar makes it a lot easier. And let’s face it, easier means you save a lot of time and effort.

With that in mind, let’s look at how it works. On the left side of the search bar, there’s a dropdown menu where you can pick the media type you’re looking for. Here, you can pick anything from images to videos, photos, editorial content, and more.

Once you’ve made your choice, you can enter the keywords for what you’re looking for and hit the search button. You also have the option to search by image. This means you can easily upload a reference image and search for similar images and videos.


Shutterstock tools
Tools – Shutterstock Review

In the navigation bar, you’ll also find several other tools you can use to edit media on the platform.

Shutterstock EditorImage ResizerFile ConverterCollage MakerColor Schemes
This design tool lets you create and edit social media posts, ads, presentations, and more. You can also use templates to create these and edit your own uploaded images.This tool lets you resize your images into various sizes. It’s as easy as uploading your file, choosing a size, and letting the tool work its magic.Like the Image Resizer, this tool lets you upload your images and converts them to JPEG, PNG, or TIFF.Here, you can use templates to create photo collages. You can also add filters, effects and position your images any way you like.This tool helps you pick a color palette for any project you’re working on.

How Much Does Shutterstock Cost?

Shutterstock pricing
Pricing – Shutterstock Review

Luckily, Shutterstock keeps pricing nice and flexible. It gives you several pricing options you can use to buy the media you need. These pricing options are:

Keep in mind, though, the different pricing options depend on the specific type of media. Let’s now look at on-demand pricing a bit closer.

On-Demand Pricing

With on-demand pricing, you get access to the media you need without subscribing.

FootageFrom $299From $549From $1,299
Music$49 for a Standard License and $419 for an Enhanced License

When it comes to subscriptions, you also have quite a few options.


With a subscription, you’ll pay a monthly or yearly amount to download a specific number of assets every month.


10 Images50 Images350 Images750 Images


5 Clips10 Clips20 Clips


UnlimitedFlex 25 Mixed Subscription
$16.60/month$49/month for 25 credits


Another thing we should look at when it comes to pricing is the licenses Shutterstock offers. Here, you can choose between the Standard license and the Enhanced license.

But what is the difference between the two? Here is a quick breakdown.

Standard LicenseEnhanced License
License DurationPerpetualPerpetual
Regions of UseWorldwideWorldwide
Digital Use (websites, mobile apps, software, ebooks, etc.)UnlimitedUnlimited
Print Runs (in books/magazines, on posters, etc.)Up to 500,000Unlimited
Legal CoverageUp to $10,000 per imageUp to $250,000 per image
TV, Online Video, and FilmUnlimited viewers (production budgets up to $10,000 USD)Unlimited
Web Templates or Print Templates
Use in a Commercial Space
Use in a Commercial SpaceUp to 500,000 gross impressions (views, not viewers)Unlimited
Personal, non-commercial useUnlimited

Shutterstock Review: Worth it or Not?

✔ The largest collection of stock images✘ You can’t buy images or videos separately
✔ Flexible pricing options✘ More expensive than other sites
✔ Great search features
✔ High-quality content
✔ Free trial

In short, Yes! There’s a good reason why Shutterstock is so popular. Basically, its massive library of content gives creators everything they need to do any project. The sheer amount of content aside, it has various other standout features. Some of these are its editorial content, templates, and the range of tools it offers. 

Ultimately, if you’re looking for stock media, Shutterstock should be at the top of your list.


Is Shutterstock legit?

Yes, it’s completely safe. All communication, data, and payments are encrypted.

Can I use Shutterstock images for commercial use?

Yes, you can use images in various different commerical projects, like websites, apps, books, posters, television, online video, and film. The amount usage amount depends on whether you have a Standard or Enhanced license.

Is all content royalty-free?

Yes, all images, video, and music available on Shutterstock is royalty-free as long as it used is within the terms of the usage license.

Does Shutterstock offer a free trial?

Yes, Shutterstock currently offers a 30-day free trial.

Is Shutterstock free?

No, unfortunately, Shutterstock is not free. To download content requires a subscription or credit.

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About your guide
Shaquilla Alexander
Shaquilla Alexander
Shaquilla is a film editor and award-winning writer. She has an unwavering curiosity about all areas of filmmaking. Follow her on Twitter and Vimeo.