Shutterstock Review 2024 – Is It The GOAT Of Stock Sites?

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Visuals are underrated.

And if you’re reading this you probably know the importance of having access to a vast library of high-quality stock photos and videos.

It makes things so much easier.

Shutterstock is one of the most popular platforms that provides just that.

It’s ideal for professional photographers, video editors, designers, and business owners. But not so much for YouTubers and other video content creators.

Let me explain.

What is shutterstock?

Shutterstock asset collection

Shutterstock is an online platform where you can purchase licenses for millions of photos, videos, logos, templates & other stock assets. The platform offers an extremely large library of high-quality visual content that can be used for various purposes such as landing pages, ads, YouTube videos, emails, Zoom backgrounds, LinkedIn banners, and other social media content.

Who is shutterstock suited for?

Shutterstock is best suited for photographers, businesses, and video editors. Whether you’re looking to add visuals to your marketing materials, create a video production, or simply need stock photos for personal use, Shutterstock has something for you.

It’s not the best stock footage platform for YouTubers because of its pricing model. 

Shutterstock charges per asset rather than offering an all-in-one subscription model which makes other stock footage sites like Envato Elements better suited for YouTuber’s needs.

How does Shutterstock subscription work

Each Shutterstock subscription plan gives you a certain amount of credits every month that you can use to purchase stock assets. Here are the prices of each asset:

  • Standard image license – 1 credit
  • Standard video license – 10 credits
  • Standard music track license – 4 credits
Read more about how Shutterstock’s licensing works on their official support page.

Packs vs. FLEX subscription vs. Multiple user plans

Shutterstock pricing plan comparison

Shutterstock has 2 main pricing plans for stock images, videos, and music – Packs and FLEX Subscription.

There is also a plan for multiple users for stock images and an enterprise plan for other stock assets.

The Packs plan lets you get videos or images on-demand.


  • 2 images – $29
  • 5 images – $49
  • 25 images – $229
  • 5 videos (HD) – $269
  • 10 videos (HD)– $499
  • 25 videos (HD)– $1199

The FLEX subscription gives you a set amount of credits per month with which you can download images, videos, and music within one subscription.

  • 10 credits – $29/month
  • 25 credits – $59/month
  • 50 credits – $99/month
  • 150 credits – $119/month
  • 350 credits – $129/month
  • 750 credits – $159/month

By default, the FLEX Storyblocks subscription is a yearly commitment. This means that even though you pay monthly, you will have to pay that amount for the whole year in order to be able to cancel your subscription once the free trial ends. You can choose this subscription without a yearly commitment by selecting payment options and choosing “monthly, no contract”.

To cancel your Shutterstock subscription during your free trial, visit the Plans page. If you do not cancel within the free trial period, your yearly commitment will begin and you will be charged the monthly subscription fee ($29) each month until the year ends.

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Shutterstock top features

Here are the best Shutterstock features that make it stand out among all the other stock footage sites:

1. The quality

Quality is king when it comes to stock footage.

And it’s one of the things that make Shutterstock stand out. The platform has strict quality control measures in place to ensure that only high-quality visuals are available on the platform. 

This means that you can be confident that the content you purchase is of excellent quality, whether you’re using it for personal or commercial purposes.

2. Crazy amount of images and video assets

Size does matter.

Shutterstock’s library is huge. They recently introduced AI-generated content which made their stock photo library expand even more. It has raster and vector images, stock videos, music and SFX, and various templates for social media & business that include cover photos, thumbnails, ads, banners, logos, and more.

Because of how much footage they have it’s easy to find exactly what looking for instead of having to settle for something that “maybe fits”.

3. Intuitive user interface with great filtering options

Shutterstock filtering options

With this much content on the website, there has to be a good way to sort through it all. 

And Shutterstock nailed this too.

Everything is organized into categories with the ability to filter stock footage by things like resolution, FPS, duration, people in the pictures, orientation, color, artists’ country, and more. 

Needless to say, they make it very hard not to find the stock footage you’re looking for.

Cons of Shutterstock?

Here are the most notable cons of Shutterstock.

1. Price

Although it has good quality assets, this website is pricey.

There are many cheaper alternatives for an all-in-one creative asset subscription such as Envato Elements or Pond5.

You can read my full Envato Elements review here.

2. Hard to unsubscribe

Shutterstock FLEX subscription pricing

The free trial is confusing.

The FLEX subscription gives you a 1-month free trial but it’s a yearly commitment. This means that if you don’t cancel your subscription during the trial you will be charged the default subscription price for the rest of the year.

There is an option to pick a no-commitment FLEX subscription but it’s not the default option when purchasing this plan.

What's the best stock website for YouTubers?

Due to the nature of Shutterstock’s subscription models, I wouldn’t recommend it for YouTubers.

With Shutterstock, you have to pay for each stock video individually.

This means that the cost of creating YouTube videos jumps up significantly because you might want to use many stock videos in one YouTube video.

Here are the alternatives:

I recommend checking out my in-depth review of the best stock footage websites for YouTubers to make sure you’re picking the right one for you.

Shutterstock Reviews

There are many negative Shutterstock reviews online, especially on Trustpilot, because of people forgetting to cancel their membership and getting billed early. 

This is something to be wary of when using Shutterstock. Their pricing and cancelation policies might be confusing so before purchasing a plan make sure to read everything through carefully and make sure that you’re not signing up for the wrong thing.

And here’s how other strangers from the internet review Shutterstock:

Shutterstock FAQ

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Shutterstock’s assets.

Are Shutterstock images copyright free?

Once you buy an image from Shutterstock it becomes royalty-free for you to use. This means that you will get a license to use the image you purchased without the risk of getting a copyright strike. You can also use the image you bought as many times as you want.

Can you use Shutterstock images for anything?

You can use the Standard Licence Shutterstock images for web and app advertising, e-publications, and email marketing, in social media and on video sharing services (like YouTube), in small film productions, TV series, or ads with a budget under $10K, printed materials, including product packaging, with less than 500K total prints, personal, non-commercial use (not for resale, download, distribution, or any commercial use of any kind).

You can use the Enhanced License Shutterstock images for everything that the Standard Licence covers as well as for merchandise for promotional or retail use, use within templates and for decoration in a business or commercial space.

Can you use Shutterstock images on YouTube?

You can use images on YouTube that you purchase with any license from Shutterstock.

Was this Shutterstock review useful?

Overall, Shutterstock is best suited for businesses, designers, photographers, and video editors looking for a large library of high-quality visual assets.

Shutterstock is not the best stock photo website for YouTubers because of its pricing model. Envato Elements is a better alternative because it offers unlimited downloads for a single monthly payment.

And with that said I’ll leave you with a few useful resources:

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