Are Shutterstock Images Royalty-Free? A Guide For Potential Users…

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 07/31/22 •  4 min read

If you’re thinking about signing up for a Shutterstock account, you might be wondering whether its images are ALL royalty-free. Here’s everything you need to know…


If you go onto any YouTube channel – or blog – chances are you’ve seen stock photos or videos in action. If you lack the budget to take professional-looking videos and/or photos, stock images are a godsend.

You can use stock video to bulk out your video content, stock images inside blog posts, and email marketing. You no longer have to worry about sourcing your own images, so you can just get on with your main job: producing content.

One of the most popular stock photo and video sources on the web is Shutterstock. How it works is simple: you sign-up for an account and you can then peruse and use any of the photos or videos in its extensive library – and there is 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 like. All of Shutterstock’s images and videos are royalty-free which means you can use them for commercial campaigns, on your blog, and even inside YouTube videos.

With other photo and video repositories online, there may be stipulations about how you use images and video. For instance, some images might not be eligible for commercial use, others could have a “time frame” for how long they can be used – it’s all very confusing.

These “types” of copyrighted images are referred to as “rights-managed licensed” content. You have to pay to use them, of course, but even when you’ve paid, you’re still not free to do with them as you wish – there are caveats and rules you have to adhere to.

And, let’s be frank, NOBODY wants to deal with that. This is why content creators should ALWAYS go with a royalty-free image and video services like Shutterstock. It’ll just make your life a hell of a lot easier in the short, medium, and long term.

This is what makes Shutterstock so very, very useful to online content creators: all of its content is royalty-free, so you can basically do whatever you like with it, removing any and all doubts about what you can and cannot do with images and videos sourced from the platform.

Shutterstock
From $19 Per Month

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

Pros:
  • Over 70 Billion Images, Videos & Music Tracks
  • Cheap Plans
  • Covers All Types of User
  • Robust Licenses
  • All Content is Royalty-Free
VIEW LATEST PRICES

Is Shutterstock Free?

Shutterstock does offer a free version of its platform which is fine for basic stuff. But there are some limitations associated with its free account membership that you definitely need to know about. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Types of Shutterstock Accounts

Shutterstock has a range of accounts and each comes with slightly more robust licensing in place. As of right now, there are several different account types available via Shutterstock:

If you’re using a lot of stock images and video, you’ll want to go with Shutterstock’s Enhanced License. Or, if you’re doing A LOT of content, its Enterprise or Premier License might be more appropriate – these give you full access to its 70 billion stock images and video and offer the most robust royalty-free licenses.

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

Premier License

Enterprise Platform

Shutterstock
From $19 Per Month

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

Pros:
  • Over 70 Billion Images, Videos & Music Tracks
  • Cheap Plans
  • Covers All Types of User
  • Robust Licenses
  • All Content is Royalty-Free
VIEW LATEST PRICES
Are Shutterstock Images Royalty-Free
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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