Are Shutterstock images royalty-free? Comparison of all license types

If you’re considering creating a Shutterstock account, you might be wondering if its images are ALL royalty-free. Here’s everything you need to know…


If you go to any YouTube channel – or blog – chances are you’ve seen photos or videos in action. If you don’t have the budget to take professional quality videos and/or photos, stock footage is a godsend.

You can use stock videos to flesh out your video content, stock images in blog posts, and email marketing. You no longer have to worry about finding your own images, so you can focus on your main job: producing content.

One of the most popular photo and video sources on the web is Shutterstock. How it works is simple: you create an account and then you can browse and use any of the photos or videos from its extensive library – and there’s a LOT of stuff in its library.

Shutterstock images are royalty-free

Once you have a Shutterstock account, you can download, edit and augment its images and videos as much as you want. All of Shutterstock’s images and videos are royalty-free, which means you can use them for marketing campaigns, on your blog, and even in YouTube videos.

With other online photo and video repositories, there may be stipulations on how you use the images and videos. For example, some images may not be eligible for commercial use, others may have a “time limit” for how long they can be used – all very confusing.

These “types” of copyrighted images are called “rights-managed license” contents. You have to pay to use them, of course, but even when you’ve paid, you’re still not free to do with them what you want – there are caveats and rules you must follow.

And, let’s be honest, NOBODY wants to deal with it. This is why content creators should ALWAYS opt for royalty-free image and video services like Shutterstock. This will make your life much easier in the short, medium and long term.

That’s what makes Shutterstock so useful to online content creators: all of its content is royalty-free, so you can do whatever you want with it, removing all doubt about what you can and can’t do with it. images and videos from the platform.

Shutterstock

The ultimate online resource for royalty-free images, videos, music and editorial content. Over 70 billion types of content. It’s the perfect solution for any modern content creator.

Advantages:
  • Over 70 billion images, videos and music tracks
  • Cheap packages
  • Covers all types of users
  • Robust Licensing
  • All content is royalty free

SEE THE LATEST PRICES

Is Shutterstock free?

Shutterstock offers a free version of its platform which is good for the basics. But there are some limitations associated with its free account membership that you should definitely be aware of. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • You are limited to a small amount of content
  • The license agreement is not as solid
  • Images may change status, so they may require a different license agreement at a later date, which could put you at risk

Types of Shutterstock accounts

Shutterstock has a range of accounts and each comes with a slightly more robust license in place. Currently, several different account types are available through Shutterstock:

  • standard license – Unlimited digital usage up to 500,000 uses (posters, books, magazines and outdoor advertising).
  • Enhanced License – Same as standard license, but can also be used in web or print designs, merchandise and decorations in commercial space
  • Premier License
  • Enterprise License

If you use a lot of images and videos, you’ll want to opt for Shutterstock’s enhanced license. Or, if you do a LOT of content, its Enterprise or Premier license might be more appropriate – these give you full access to its 70 billion images and videos and offer the most robust royalty-free licenses.

I have included a quick comparison of how Shutterstock’s Enterprise and Premier licenses compare below:

Premier License

  • Sensitive Use Rights
  • Unlimited compensation
  • Transferability of third party rights
  • Use in Merchandise and Models
  • High resolution watermark free compositions

Enterprise platform

  • Unlimited access to seats
  • Batch download
  • Use of sensitive rights
  • Subaccounts with Managed Permissions
  • Increased legal protection
  • API access
  • Unlimited no-watermark comps available with certain licensing options
  • Ability to add custom metadata when uploading
  • Regional and Language Account Managers

Shutterstock

The ultimate online resource for royalty-free images, videos, music and editorial content. Over 70 billion types of content. It’s the perfect solution for any modern content creator.

Advantages:
  • Over 70 billion images, videos and music tracks
  • Cheap packages
  • Covers all types of users
  • Robust Licensing
  • All content is royalty free

SEE THE LATEST PRICES

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has worked as a technical journalist for over 10 years. He is the publisher and owner of KnowYourMobile.

Milton S. Rodgers