Shutterstock is one of the best and most popular places to find stock images, stock videos, royalty-free audio, and more if you are creative. Plus, you can also use it as a platform where you can sell your high-quality creations.  

Although Shutterstock is a paid service, and people can get royalty-free images and videos for free someplace else, Shutterstock is still one of the best. It can provide you with a more extensive list of media you can use to spice up your blog posts, vlogs, landing pages, profiles, and more. 

This Shutterstock review will not only point out everything that is good and bad about the platform, but it will also explain everything there is to know about Shutterstock, including what to expect in terms of pricing and customer service.

Get ten free images when you sign up for Shutterstock’s free trial here.

What is Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is a paid service dedicated to selling high-quality images, video footage, and music creatives can use for their content. So if you are a blogger, vlogger, music producer, video editor, or any type of creative, Shutterstock is a website that can provide you with the media you need to make your content better and more professional. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to sell your photos, videos, and music, Shutterstock is a viable platform to make money from your work. It helps creatives earn money from their work while providing other creatives with an extensive list of royalty-free media for a meager price. 

This platform was created in 2003 and began as a subscription service where people pay a monthly premium and get unlimited downloads for the same price. However, their structure has changed, giving people a choice between their plans and offering over 3 million royalty-free images and paid content. 

It is a continuously expanding company that employs over 700 individuals and gives the opportunity to creatives to sell their work for money. Part of their expansion is adding Shutterstock Apps and Shutterstock Labs, which expands the community of creatives and patrons that enjoy using the platform. 

Check out our roundup of the Free Stock Photo Resources

What are the pros and cons of Shutterstock?

Although Shutterstock is well-praised in the creative community, it does have its fair share of disadvantages. Below is a list of Shutterstock’s pros and cons:


  • Massive library of royalty-free images

When searching for royalty-free images for your blog post, website landing page, or Shopify store, finding a specific image to fit your requirement is pretty challenging. And because of that, you need to get a little creative with the photos you include in your article– especially if you are talking about something too specific. 

But because Shutterstock has a massive library, you can definitely find what you are looking for. In addition, Shutterstock has a search bar and filter functionality so you can get more specific with your searches to find the perfect image. As a result, finding the ideal image or stock footage is fairly easy to do. 

  • Creatives can sell their work

With platforms like Shutterstock, you can now sell your photos, videos, and music tracks and earn money when someone uses your creations for their projects. If you can shoot high-quality photos, you can make a living out of Shutterstock and make it a passive source of income. 

No matter where you are in the world at any time, you can make money with your work as the money you make will go straight into your bank account. You can be anywhere and earn money with Shutterstock without having to deal with clients and make the most out of your time to grow and get better at your craft. Because of this, you get to earn money doing what you love. 

  • Unlimited growth opportunities

As a starter, you can make at least $10 to $50 on a single photo. Then, if a client gets interested in your work, you’ll be contacted and asked to provide permission to release your photos with a Shutterstock license. Doing so enables you to make up to $300 or more for just one photo. Their standards might be a little high, but it does pay off. 

The payment threshold is pretty low compared to other sites, meaning you can get your money into your PayPal account as soon as you make $35. 


  • Price to buy photos is high

There is no denying that Shutterstock can provide you with only the best images with high quality, but the price of new images and subscriptions are not that affordable. Yes, the creators did put a lot of work into taking high-quality photos, videos, and music– but Shutterstock gains more with the prices they sell them for. 

With that being said, many users opt out of the premium subscription and settle for using royalty-free images.

Another thing is that you can hardly ever find what you are looking for without subscribing, which is why most users are left with no option but to pay for a subscription. Shutterstock is still an excellent platform, but all good things come with a price. 

  • Price to sell photos is low 

Shutterstock only pays 25 cents per photo sold if you are a Shutterstock contributor. It is pretty low, but you can still count it as making passive income. You only make up to hundreds of dollars on a single photo if you sell more pictures, which is definitely the outcome of your work’s quality. 

Make sure you hone your craft to get a higher chance of selling stock photography for a higher price. It does take time, but it will definitely be worth it when you can sustain a living out of selling your work. In addition, you will need a giant portfolio for a better chance of selling more photos. 

  • Strict requirements

Your images have to be basically perfect for Shutterstock to accept them. They do not accept low-quality images, but that could be a good thing for its consumers. 

Because of these strict requirements, it gives a reason for photographers to step up their game and become better at what they do. It challenges them to take higher-quality photos until Shutterstock approves their work for a chance to earn.

What are the best features of Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is not just another platform for downloading royalty-free images and stock photos. This service also offers a ton of neat features that you can use with your subscription plans. You will find some of Shutterstock’s best features below:

Access to Shutterstock Editor Pro

Shutterstock includes the Shutterstock Editor Pro, which is an advanced design platform that offers a variety of helpful features and tons of value for creatives. With its sophisticated set of tools, you can create the perfect professionally laid out images for your projects. 

It includes powerful editing features, such as professional filters, adding stickers to your image, image transformation features, and many more. It also allows you to access their collection of professionally-made design templates, which is an excellent tool for beginner photo editors. 

In addition, Shutterstock Editor Pro also offers text templates and the ability to create unlimited designs with unlimited sharing and downloads. This photo editor is one of the best features you can take advantage of with a Shutterstock subscription. 

Mobile app

Shutterstock has a mobile app that allows users to explore their featured collection of images and videos in the palm of their hand. You can quickly save your favorite content in your collections folder, share them with your friends or on social media, and download them at a later date. 

With the mobile app, you can also work from anywhere and get more work done with your iOS or Android device. 

Shutterstock Plugin

Suppose you work on platforms like WordPress or edit videos on Final Cut Pro on your Mac. In that case, you can download the Shutterstock Plugin and experience seamless integration with Shutterstock and your preferred computer software and apps. 

Some of the extensions and plugins work for Google Chrome and Adobe Creative Cloud applications such as Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Illustrator. In addition, the Shutterstock plugin is also supported by Microsoft Office Powerpoint and Google Slides.

How much does Shutterstock cost?

Get ten free images when you sign up for Shutterstock’s free trial here.

Now that you know most of the features and how Shutterstock works, let’s talk numbers. Shutterstock offers many pricing plans depending on your budget and needs. Of course, just like any other paid service, you can save more if you opt for an annual plan. But here is a list of the prices for Shutterstock’s monthly plans:

  • 750 images per month: $249 at $0.33 per image
  • 350 images per month: $199 at $0.57 per image
  • 50 images per month: $125 at $2.57 per image
  • 10 images per month: $49 at $4.90 per image

You can clearly see the difference in the prices per image when you choose higher plans. However, it might not make sense for most people since they only need a few photos a month. However, if you rely on using stock photo agencies for your business and projects, it makes more sense to subscribe to a higher plan or an annual plan. 

Here is a list of prices for annual plans:

  • 750 images per month: $199 at $0.27 per image
  • 350 images per month: $169 at $0.48 per image
  • 50 images per month: $199 at $1.98 per image
  • 10 images per month: $29 at $2.90 per image

You can save up to almost 50% if you subscribe for an annual plan, but if it doesn’t make a lot of sense– you can always pay for a monthly plan instead– or you can choose to settle for their royalty-free images if it suits your projects.

Alternatively, you can also opt for one of their package plans here:

Photos and vectors in any size:

  • 25 images: $299 at $9.16 per image
  • 5 images: $49 at $9.80 per image

Small and medium photos:

  • 60 images: $229 at $3.81 per image
  • 12 images: $49 at $4.08 per image

For videos and music, the prices are slightly different. Here are the monthly expenses for annual video subscriptions. You’ll notice there are download limits:

  • $99 per month for 5 video clips
  • $159 per month for 10 video clips
  • $199 per month for 20 video clips

For audio:

  • $16.60 per month for unlimited music downloads

What kind of customer support can users expect?

Because of its high price, Shutterstock, inc provides 24/7 customer service. You can expect to get high-quality customer service any time and anywhere via phone or live chat. There are no complaints about their support, and their customer service team is pretty polite and excellent at what they do, which is solving problems for subscribers. 

What are the benefits of Shutterstock? has a lot of benefits, and one of the best is its massive photo collection. You truly get what you pay for with the quality of the media, and that is why many users trust Shutterstock when it comes to their creative projects. 

It also provides a way for photographers, videographers, and music producers to make money by selling their work. 

What are the disadvantages of Shutterstock?

The biggest disadvantage of Shutterstock images is its high prices, and because of that, we don’t recommend it for beginner content creators. However, if you do have the budget and want to create high-quality content with Shutterstock’s vast media library– no one will stop you. 


How much does Shutterstock pay?

Shutterstock pays 25 to 38 cents per image download, and you can withdraw the money into your PayPal account as soon as you make $35. 

Does Shutterstock have a free trial?

Yes, if you are a first-time subscriber, you can get a no-risk 30-day free trial and download 10 images with full access to the 316-million photo library for free. You can also keep the photos even after canceling your image subscription.

Can I buy a single photo from Shutterstock?

You can purchase one image from Shutterstock. However, you will need to input your payment details for every purchase, and the prices will cost significantly higher than subscribers.