When people need high-quality images or video footage for their projects, they look for companies that have the best stock library on the market. Shutterstock is one of the top photo agencies on the internet in today’s digital age, and they refer to themselves as a company that offers their customers elegant, easy and user-friendly image services.
With an extensive history of stock image selling and buying, today Shutterstock provides stock image inventory to individuals, designers and corporate accounts that need large inventories of stock photos. That's why their buying model is subscription only. In most recent years they’ve extended their client base to include users with smaller requirements and they’ve also added an on-demand subscription option that doesn’t require a big investment or a large amount of downloads for the picturaes to be discounted.
The Shutterstock business model, which is considered to be unique in the stock photo business, favors new images, customers that need many downloads per month, and they have a one size image policy for monthly subscribers and several image options in their on-demand subscription.
Shutterstock has been a trendsetter since its inception, and their crowdsourcing skills have been complemented by the press since the early days of internet startups. To increase their reach in the world of microstock agencies, Shutterstock attained Bigstock (formerly known as Bigstockphoto) to increase their market share and consumer options without altering the Shutterstock model.
Shutterstock is now international, innovative and enormous. They are known as the leading agency in microstock photo options, and they continuously add updates to their stock photo agency.
The Shutterstock Essentials
- Shutterstock has over 70 million images in their inventory (the biggest royalty-free collection in the world), with 800,000+ fresh images added weekly.
- Shutterstock offers one of the lowest subscription services on the market.
- 3M + video clips (with over 2.5 million being HD videos).
- Shutterstock has images (photos, illustrations, vectors, icons), music, and video as well.
- Advanced search tools like Shutterstock Labs that can help you find what you need
- The company’s website is very easy to navigate.
- Shutterstock has been online since 2003 and was founded by a photographer.
- The company accepts most forms of payment like Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover, and JCB.
- Enhanced licenses offered with an exclusive selection of editorial licensed photos.
- Shutterstock was the first stock photo agency listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
- The company’s standard license has many rewards compared to other stock agencies.
- Shutterstock photos are high-resolution images.
- User submissions are accepted.
- Shutterstock offers a 100% money back guarantee.
Some More Shutterstock Details
- Images searchable by categories, keywords, buying options and licenses with more comprehensive categories. They offer great search capabilities, and it’s very easy to use.
- Weekly images are available to registered users for free.
- Language options that include: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese.
- The FAQ section is broad for consumers. The FAQ section has been designed to find answers and is simple to navigate.
- Shutterstock’s corporate headquarters is located in New York, USA and offers support to international buyers with foreign languages and contact options.
Licensing Terms and Subscription Options
The Shutterstock agency is a subscription only stock photo agency, sign up at Shutterstock today. They provide standard licenses or on-demand subscriptions and also have an advanced subscription for alternative licensing options. Subscription buying options are clearly defined and transparent. No hidden jargon.
- Subscriptions do vary in criteria so check the parameters carefully.
- Shutterstock got rid of the 25-a-day product and replaced it with more flexible options — no more daily download limits.
- Shutterstock also presented monthly billing so that if you buy an annual subscription, you have the option to pay by month, and not all up front (plus you get to save 20% with an annual). Here is the new pricing page:
- New improved licensing terms, which can be found here.
On-demand Subscription Buying Option:
- There are four options available which are determined by the image size and the number of downloads.
- Smallest investment to buy images is as low as $49.00 USD for 12 images or 60 images for $249.00 USD with limited sizing. Pricing for unlimited sizing and image type start at $49.00 USD for 5 images.
The On-demand Pros
- Low-cost investment
- Excellent for the small buyer
- There are package options for multiple user types
- Subscription is valid for one year
The On-demand Cons
- It can be a larger investment than other stock photo agencies.
- The per image price is a bit higher than other stock photo agencies.
Shutterstock agency started with a subscription plan that provides the largest size of images, vectors, and illustrations for one price. This subscription plan made the downloading procedure easy, and less sizing choices need to be made. This subscription is typical for Shutterstock consumers and makes their image rates competitive compared to other stock photo agencies. Plans are made in one, three, six and twelve months options.
- Alternate licensing options require the purchase of another enhanced licensing subscription.
- A larger investment is required for subscriptions.
Shutterstock has one of the best search engines for their image database. Their inventory categories are quite extensive, they have built-in keyword prompting, the search tools are conveniently located, and they have added a color option that is simple to use and specific to the designer’s color requirements.
A Couple of Things to Keep in Mind:
- The Shutterstock search options are basic but successfully bring up good image matches.
- You can perform editorial searches separately.
Shutterstock Licensing Options
Shutterstock offers both standard and enhanced licenses with limited editorial licensed images available to consumers. They clearly state that their images can’t be utilized for templates for sale, but the company does have a merchandising option. Make sure you review their licensing terms and conditions to avoid using images incorrectly and so that you know when it’s the right time to buy their enhanced license.
Special Features and Add-ons
- Free Images –Shutterstock released a 2 free images weekly offer where you get one stock photo and one vector image for registered members. Bonuses are always a good thing!
- Blog –Shutterstock has increased their blog posts, and the company often posts useful data, designer tips, various software tutorials and new images are frequently added.
- Graphic Design Tips and Tricks – Tips & Tricks is a helpful resource of articles written by Shutterstock submitters covering a variety of topics to enhance your graphic design knowledge. The information is sporadic but is useful for designers who need or could benefit from some extra information.
Shutterstock Labs Options
Shutterstock Labs is a beta area that allows users to try new creative options like:
- Shutterstock Sequence: An option that helps you bring your project to life with music and videos.
- Shutterstock Palette: Allows you to explore images filled with inspiring color combos.
- Shutterstock Spectrum: Provides the ability to discover images based on the specific color scheme you are working with.
- Shutterstock Instant: Helps you search through inspirational high-resolution images to help you find the perfect photo.
- Shutterstock People: A new form of browsing images of people and you can search through various images of the same photo shoot.
Shutterstock is classified as a subscription plan only stock agency that offers on-demand subscription which is an inexpensive introduction to their photo ordering services. They are one of the largest photo agencies that exist, and their image library confirms it with over 70 million images to pick from. The new addition of their footage website has made Shutterstock a media marketplace and not just a stock photo agency. Keep in mind that these sites are separate and that your subscription can not be combined to be used on both sites.
Shutterstock will not suit you if you are interested in buying one image or photo for $1. But, if you are planning to buy a large quantity of royalty free photos and images on a frequent basis, Shutterstock is the agency you should truly consider. The agency offers an incredible variety of photos and images that will meet the requirements of the utmost sophisticated customers.
If you are searching for something a little different in your buying options, you can check out their sister website Bigstock, especially since this portion of their business provides credit purchases and requires a less expensive investment for services.