Shutterstock Review

About Shutterstock

Shutterstock Review

A picture is worth a thousand words, so why waste your time writing that much when a single picture can capture the same essence?

It’s likely that Shutterstock will have the exact photo to match those thousand words, seeing as it has one of the largest stock image libraries on the internet. The company distributes royalty-free music, videos, images, and templates.

They have over 355k Instagram followers, but that’s nothing compared to the depths of their media library. This Shutterstock review will look at how deep their collection is, what their prices are like, how their services work, and more. So strap and get ready to learn!

Overview of Shutterstock

Shutterstock Review

In the realm of stock images, there are few brands that can stand up to Shutterstock. The company began in 2003 and has remained a leading figure in the industry to the point that almost everyone online has at least one photo saved to their hard drive from the company.

Shutterstock began as a one-man project by New York-based entrepreneur Jon Oringer. He founded the company as an online subscription service that hosted royalty-free images.

His operation soon ballooned as people realized the quality of his photos. In 2008, Shutterstock added an on-demand plan so customers could download each asset for a set price instead of subscribing.

Oringer is no longer the only contributor to Shutterstock’s library. The company hosts images, videos, music, and templates from over 1.5 million creators across the globe. The properties are available in 25 different languages in over 150 countries.

Those are some big numbers, but here’s the biggest one so far. Shutterstock has garnered over 1 billion downloads since 2003. 

With all that considered, let’s dig into the details of this Shutterstock review. We’ll look at some highlights from the company and their business model.


  • Over 400 million images available
  • Over 200,000 images added every day
  • Media properties come from over one million independent contributors
  • Multiple price plans
  • Properties can connect directly to your editing apps
  • Offers a 1-month free trial

Plus, we found an overwhelming number of assets for sale in a multitude of mediums. The company distributes photographs, movie clips, music, 3D models, and software tools.

Shutterstock Bestsellers Review

The best way for you to understand what Shutterstock offers is by telling you about just that. This segment of our Shutterstock review will cover some of the company’s most popular features.

Shutterstock Video Review

The Shutterstock Video library can knock you off your feet in the same way that the first motion picture convinced audiences that they were going to be run over by a train. 

Their videos might make your heart stop but at least you’ll be looking at something good when it happens!

Morbid humor aside, Shutterstock’s collection of royalty-free footage is quite astounding. Their clips are available in SD, HD and 4K, giving them a studio-quality finish. 

These pieces of footage are more than just sunsets and rainbows, though those are also available if that’s what you’re after.

Shutterstock separates their videos into categories. Here are a few options:

  • Aerial
  • Timelapse
  • People
  • Technology
  • Editorial

Inside each of these categories are subcategories that’ll direct you towards the exact footage you’re after. For example, there are a plethora of video clips about mothers, women in STEM, female empowerment, and women in business, all underneath the people category.

Shutterstock Music Review

Music is so vital to the human experience that even Ludwig van Beethoven persevered through his deafness to compose symphonies. You can’t overstate how integral music is to art, advertising, or a generally pleasant existence.

The Shutterstock Music catalog has a sublime roster of exclusive royalty-free tracks. They can be the perfect score for any project of yours. From epic moods to pulsing hip hop beats to funky soundtracks, this library has it all.

You can sort through the entire collection by selecting a particular theme, mood, genre, or BPM

Shutterstock PremiumBeat Review

The Shutterstock PremiumBeat package proves that Dr. Dre isn’t the only one who can provide the best beats. This service provides access to fully licensed tracks, song loops, samples, beat stems, and more.

Shutterstock makes it easy for users to discover new music by separating their tracks into different categories. You can filter results through different genres, moods, or premade collections. 

If you’re really in a rut then you can rely on the company’s in-house curators. They rank their favorite tracks, making it less of a hassle to find the picture perfect soundtrack for your project.

You’ll be able to download five tracks every month through this package. It costs $13 USD (per month). 

Shutterstock Templates Review

Social media marketing is a game of presentation. Oftentimes the right banner is all you need to get someone to turn into your page instead of closing the tab. 

The Shutterstock Templates line-up seeks to make the head-scratching process of picking the right layout as simple as choosing the right design.

These templates are made for a variety of platforms. You’ll find headers for YouTube channels, banners for Twitter accounts, bespoke designs for Facebook and Instagram stories, and more. They’re all trimmed to fit both desktop screens and mobile devices.

What’s better is that these templates are also for physical advertising too. Shutterstock Templates has options for business cards and print projects like magazines. In total, there are over 150 different designs that you can edit and personalize.

This offering can dramatically reduce the time you spend tinkering in Photoshop perfecting your layout. Just download a pre-made template, edit it to your specifications, and breathe in the sweet smells of success (or the sights of success, technically speaking).

Shutterstock 3D Models Reviews

Shutterstock 3D Models Reviews
Shutterstock 3D Models

Let’s go into one of the most unique offerings our Shutterstock review writers found. There are plenty of companies that offer premade designs, but how many offer three-dimensional shapes?

The Shutterstock 3D models use StemCell 3D technology to make shapes that they send to you. From there, you can bring these models to life using a 3D printer. 

There are a multitude of different models available. These are separated by engines, meaning you can download products like Unity Models, Unreal Models, and FBX Models.

Additionally, Shutterstock organizes their models into tangible categories like vehicles, animals, characters, people, furniture, technology, and landscape.

Shutterstock Images Review

Shutterstock Image Free Trial Review

This service is the company’s bread-and-butter offering. The Shutterstock Image Free Trial provides a full month’s access to their evergreen assortment of images. 

The company’s library rivals that of the Library of Congress in terms of size. There are a whopping 400 million images that you can choose from.

With that many options is it any surprise that there are a plethora of categories to sift through. If we’re being honest, our Shutterstock review writers wasted countless hours feeding our eyes with the company’s high-quality images. 

Food and drinks, landmarks, medical, abstract, wildlife, fashion, and finance are just some of the genres of Shutterstock Images you can sort through.

Who Is Shutterstock For? 

Shutterstock Review

Shutterstock is for anyone looking to expand their hobby or business this includes creatives, designers, tech companies, start-ups and small businesses. Shutterstock has so many options available in so many mediums that you’ll likely be able to build your online persona just like how you pictured it in your head.

How Does Shutterstock Work? 

Shutterstock Review

There are two broad types of Shutterstock models, subscriptions and a-la-carte. We’ll cover the price differences between the two later in this Shutterstock review as they vary depending on which service you want.

A subscription will allow you a certain number of credits that you put towards downloading files from Shutterstock every month. 

Your credits will refill at the beginning of the next month, essentially resetting how many assets you can download. You don’t have to use all the credits you’re given each month, but credits don’t carry over from month to month.

Shutterstock’s a-la-carte program allows you to buy a certain number of videos, images, music files, or templates without subscribing. This is the better option if you’re hunting for one or two media pieces to round out a project.

What Kinds of Tools Does Shutterstock Offer? 

Shutterstock Review

Shutterstock offers more than just media; it also provides customers inventive ways for them to engage with their downloads. 

Some of their tools include the Shutterstock Photo Editor, a photo resizer, file converters, collage-making apps, plugins to connect their properties to apps like WordPress and the Adobe Creative Cloud, and bespoke color schemes.

How Much Does Shutterstock Cost? 

Shutterstock Review

Our Shutterstock review writers found a litany of available prices depending on what you’re looking for from this company.

Each plan comes with a different amount of downloads per month and different perks. Obviously, the more expensive the plan, the more Shutterstock includes with your purchase.

You can either choose a standard license or an enhanced license. The latter expands the rights of the properties you download, allowing you to use them in advertisements and marketing. 

Shutterstock reports that their best-valued plan is the Shutterstock Flex Plan. It includes 10 credits per month that you can put towards downloading images, movies, or music. It costs $29 per month. 

They also have an On-Demand plan where you can choose how many downloads you want per year. 25 downloads with a standard license cost $229 on this plan. 

There are other plans like the Shutterstock Business ($479 per month) which can cover up to 10 team members and the Shutterstock Enterprise plan. 

They also have select deals for the video clips. 5 video clip downloads per month can be yours for $99

Shutterstock Reviews: What Do Customers Think?

Shutterstock Review

Any good company’s backbone is built on strong customer reviews. Bad word of mouth can tank a company while a positive reception can show that they’re more valuable than their marketing lets on.

That being said, this section of our Shutterstock review will focus on what real customers have said about shopping with the brand.

The first place we pulled customer reviews from was G2. Over 486 customers on that website gave Shutterstock an average score of 4.5/5 stars.

Most customers were impressed by the size and scope of the company’s library. They found images, videos, and music that surpassed their expectations. Here’s what one customer said about Shutterstock’s massive asset catalog: 

The best part is its enormous library which has stock images and needs for each campaign I’m planning to run. I can always find relatable illustrations that have helped me with my marketing campaigns by bringing down the costs significantly.

Other business owners felt the same way about the brand. Shutterstock allowed them to spend less time developing their own media and more time on improving their overall brand. A comprehensive 5/5 stars reviewer had this to say about the company:

The image library is the main selling point of Shutterstock. They have an endless library of images, videos, graphics, music, and more. Anytime I need to find a stock image there’s a high chance this tool has what I am looking for. The amount of customization options is just staggering and I’ve probably only scratched the surface… The price for Shutterstock is very reasonable compared to other tools.

It wasn’t enough for us to rely on one source of customer reception, so we moved over to the reviews on SiteJabber. There, some buyers complimented Shutterstock’s customer service. They said that the company quickly remedied their problems. 

This is what one satisfied buyer wrote about their troubleshooting experience with Shutterstock:

I bought a 4K video that I already owned in HD in order to better my website. Upon downloading I realized there was no difference what’s so ever between the two versions or barely… I called them up in order to get a credit so I could buy another video instead and they were quite understanding of the situation. I got my credit and the other video I bought is amazing.

This buyer wrote about their splendid cancellation process:

I was billed for 29$ 5 days before the free trial ends, I immediately tried to cancel my annual subscription and emailed and chat customer support, I thought I was also one of the victims but to my surprise, the agent immediately processed the cancellation and even requested the refund of 29$ which was billed to me.

This section of our Shutterstock review, in a nutshell, wants you to know that the company was admired for their high-quality collection of boundless assets.

Is Shutterstock Legit?

Shutterstock Review

Though you may be worried after reading about some customers’ less-than-savory experiences with Shutterstock’s cancellation plans, it seems that these issues are easy to circumvent if you read through the plans and subscriptions beforehand.

Taking that into consideration, we feel that Shutterstock is a legitimate company.

Is Shutterstock Worth It?

Shutterstock Review

Anybody can go on Google Images and save a low-quality picture. What elevates Shutterstock above other similar services is their huge roster of contributors that supply them with a diverse selection of assets.

For that reason, we believe that Shutterstock is worth it so long as you read through their plans and cancellation policies. This could save you a headache later on if you feel like you no longer want to use their services.

Shutterstock Promotions & Discounts 

Shutterstock Review

The team behind this Shutterstock review found that the company has a page dedicated to reporting their latest promotions and discounts. 

Currently, you can use the promo code SS10 at checkout to receive a 10% discount on any standard-license image purchase. You can also enter the code FF10 to get a 10% discount on any music or video purchase.

Finally, the brand has a code for people who want to test out their services. Using the code PICK10FREE at checkout will enroll you in a single-month free trial of Shutterstock.

Where to Buy Shutterstock

Shutterstock Review

As if it wasn’t clear by the fact that this is an online service, you can only purchase Shutterstock plans and assets through the company’s website at


Shutterstock Review

Who owns Shutterstock?

Jon Oringer must feel very proud of Shutterstock, evidenced by the fact that he maintains ownership over the company to this day.

What is Shutterstock’s Privacy Policy? 

Shutterstock mostly uses the information you provide them for payment and troubleshooting. They will not distribute or sell your information to any third parties.

What is Shutterstock’s Cancellation Policy? 

It’s easier to turn off the auto-renewal function of any Shutterstock subscription plan and let it expire than it is to cancel a plan early. 

Early cancellations on annual plans may result in you having to pay a cancellation fee. You should contact the company to find out how much this fee costs as they do not publish the information on their website.

What is Shutterstock’s Refund Policy? 

Shutterstock does not offer any refunds, even on plans that you cancel before they run out. That means you have to be sure that you want to shop with Shutterstock before you sign up. 

Good thing we included a code for a free trial earlier in this Shutterstock review!

How to Contact Shutterstock

It’s time to close the case on our review. These are the most reliable ways for you to contact the company if you have any questions that we haven’t already answered:

  1. Call them at (866) 663-3954
  2. Email them through their website
  3. Speak directly with a customer service representative by accessing the Chat function on their Contact Us page

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