Shutterstock Review: Is It worth It In 2019

Stock Video Photo Website

Shutterstock is one of the most popular words in any creatives vocabulary but while you may have heard people talking about Shutterstock in 2019, you may not be fully aware of what it actually does. In this Shutterstock review we are going to run through a bit of background about the company, some of the features you will find on the website, information regarding the pricing structure and finally what others have to say about the service. If you are thinking about using Shutterstock any time in the near future then you will want to read through this review to fully understand what Shutterstock can provide for you.

Shutterstock Review: What is Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a website that is dedicated to selling images, footage & music for creatives to use on their websites, blogs, magazines, YouTube channels etc. The content that Shutterstock provides is created by photographers and artists that upload it to the website to sell. The content is then bought by other creatives and used within their work. There are lots of free images on Shutterstock, but the higher quality content is chargeable. This fee can vary greatly and there are pricing plans that cover various options from a one off payment to a full team access option.

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Shutterstock: A Bit of Background

Created in 2003, Shutterstock began its life as a subscription service whereby people were offered unlimited downloads for a set fee each year. Fast forward 16 years and Shutterstock now has over 3 million royalty free images as well as many more paid content. The company itself has 7 main values that it holds itself to. These are passion, innovation, collaboration, honesty, accountability, selflessness and courage. It currently employs over 700 people but what’s more, gives people the opportunity to sell their own images and footage on the platform and therefore make money.

Shutterstock has been expanding rapidly in the last decade and has added different elements to the business such as Shutterstock Apps and Shutterstock Labs, creating more of a community for those using Shutterstock.

The Pricing Plans

As previously stated, Shutterstock has over 3 million royalty free images, vectors and illustrations. But for those wanting to create quality content or needing to use licenced images, you are going to need to know what the pricing structure of Shutterstock entails. There are three main types of plan; On Demand, Individual Subscription and Team Description. Each of these plans then have a price per month depending on how many images you are going to download a month.

On Demand:

· 5 images - $49

· 25 images - $229

Individual Subscription:

· 10 images - $29 a month

· 50 images - $99 a month

· 350 images - $169 a month

· 750 images - $199 a month

Team Subscription (based on 750 images a month):

· 2 users - $379 a month

· 3 users - $479 a month

· 4 or more - $579 a month

Shutterstock: The Pros

So, what are the pros of using Shutterstock? Well, to begin with the vast amounts of royalty free images mean that there should be something to fit your requirements that won’t cost a cent. A search bar and filter function means that you won’t be trawling through pages and pages of images to get the right thing. If you are specific enough with your search requirements it should only take a few clicks to get the right image for your project.

Another pro is that you are able to download footage and music as well as images. This is ideal for YouTube based projects that automatically scan your videos for copyrighted backing tracks and footage. By using Shutterstock content your project will come with licences that comply with most websites’ guidelines.

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Shutterstock: The Cons

The biggest con to using Shutterstock is the cost. It is expensive for most users who are looking for images to upload to their personal blogs or small scale YouTube Channels. These projects take a lot of effort and hard work to turn a profit, so you may want to think about whether you can use a royalty free image instead of committing to a subscription plan.

Another con is that while Shutterstock has so many free images, they may not be exactly what you’re after therefore leaving you no option but to buy into a subscription. Paying a yearly subscription does save money and also saves you accidentally letting the subscription roll over from month to month when you aren’t using it. The On Demand service is very overpriced at $9.80 per image whereas a comparable individual plan is $2.90 at the most for one image.

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What Do the Users Say?

When reviewing anything, the best place to start is on review sites such as Trustpilot to see what actual consumers are saying about their experience. Here are a few reviews from Trustpilot relating to Shutterstock and the experience they received.

James, In May 2018 wrote “I went to Shutterstock as it appears to be a household name for images. To be fair, they do have a vast selection, and there were quite a few images I wanted, so I decided to purchase them.

The downside is transparency. When I bought the images, I thought I was paying for 4/5 downloads, in actual fact I had paid for an annual subscription. I think Shutterstock should help the customer by showing (in a very transparent way) what they are signing up for. Judging by the reviews I have read; I am clearly not the only person to fall into this trap.”

Maksims in March 2018 wrote “the largest selection of photos on for any tasks”

Zenny in 2017 wrote “Gorgeous pictures, but the pricing is prohibitive. I use another service and get equally good choices.”

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In Summary: Good Value for Money? Or Not Worth it in 2019?

Hopefully the information in this Shutterstock Review has shown you that Shutterstock has its pros and cons. While it may be expensive, it does have millions of free images which you could use for almost any type of project. The subscriptions are good value if you intend on downloading hundreds of images each month or work in a team. Whether Shutterstock works for you will depend on your individual need, so take some time to assess the pricing plans and what they include so that you can make a more informed decision that’s right for you.