If you deal in content creation, getting hold of stock images can get expensive. Here’s why Canva is 100% better than Shutterstock for modern content creators

Shutterstock is a massively impressive, extensive platform that brings together a raft of royalty-free stock images, video, music, and even editorial content. As stock image/content platforms go, Shutterstock is up there with the best of them.

Shutterstock has been around for a good long while now. But there is a newer, more modern platform available and it is growing in popularity. I’m talking, of course, about Canva – the all-in-one design and stock image/graphics/video tool.

If you’re a content creator or you run a blog and/or website, which is the best option for your media needs? Canva or Shutterstock? In order to answer this, we need to take a look at both platforms and explain how they function. At the end of this post, you’ll have answers to the following questions:

  • How they compare;
  • Which has the most features;
  • How much they cost;
  • And, finally, which is the best overall option for your exact needs

Shutterstock Reviews By Its Customers Are Terrible

Shutterstock does a lot of things right. It made getting affordable access to images, videos and music simple. Back when Shutterstock launched, easy access to royalty-free images and other types of media just wasn’t easily done – Shutterstock fixed this.

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. 

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

But that was back in 2003, things have moved on since then. We now have things like cloud computing, drag and drop web editors for building out website designs, email templates, and landing pages. Shutterstock doesn’t do any of these things, though…

What it does – give its users access to over 70 billion royalty-free pieces of content – it does great. But the needs and wants of users change over time; nowadays users want access to royalty-free images and videos but they also want the ability to edit them, augment them, to create designs and types of media based on them. And this is what Canva does.

Even just a cursory look around the web shows that customers MUCH prefer Canva to Shutterstock. Canva has an average rating of around 4.7 out of 5 (based on tens of thousands of reviews), while Shutterstock is around 1 (again, based on tens of thousands of reviews). And this is significant.

But a lot of the hate aimed at Shutterstock isn’t derived from the fact that it lacks most of the modern features users demand these days; rather, it is down to how it actually operates as a business – see below for examples of some of its irked customers:

My experience is the same as almost everyone else on here. Got roped into a subscription after a free trial and then they charged me to cancel it. Most of the downloads were not editable which makes no sense and their customer service is appalling. I don’t know how they are getting away with what they are doing. It is blatant fraud. If you value your money… and your sanity… avoid SHUTTERSCAM at all costs!

I signed up for the free trial to test out the service and was then automatically enrolled in an annual plan. There is no way to cancel either, you just have to call during a work day and beg them to stop stealing your money. This is called theft by deception, plain and simple.

The cancel message is not even grammatically correct:
“Cancellation of an annual plan early may incur an plan price adjustment.”

I didn’t want the annual plan, didn’t agree to it. Wasn’t notified of payment being taken. Wasn’t notified after being taken. Only found out when saw it coming out of the bank. Horrible salesperson style customer service “pay us £20 to cancel”. No I want a full refund. “Pay us £10 to cancel”. No I want a full refund. “Pay £10 and we’ll refund the last month”. No I want a full refund.

Plainly theft. They trick people into believing that’s 34.51 euro per year when they actually bill this amount monthly. And then ABSOLUTELY no way to contact support – always something went wrong, the chat gets stuck or nobody answer the phone number. I want to cancel my plan but I can’t. Also they somehow managed to obtain the details and charge my new card which I didn’t inserted on their site without my consent. It s#cks!

Canva Reviews

With respect to overall customer satisfaction, Canva would appear to be the EXACT opposite of Shutterstock. People love Canva; the platform has an average rating of 9.1 out of 10, based on 9732 reviews over at Capterra.

People love how easy Canva is to use; the fact it comes with loads of editing and design features that, again, are super simple to use; the wealth and depth of royalty-free images and video it has; and, finally, that it is an all-in-one design tool that has nearly all the tools designers need to create media-rich content and downloads.

The main pull of Canva, however, is that it is so simple to use: you do not have to have any experience with design tools to use it. Canva is built to be used by everyone from first-timers to experienced designers. It has everything you could ever need, including a super-useful background removal tool for images.


Add in its massive range of stock images and video, and Canva basically covers all the bases for modern content creators. You can use it online, with blogs and YouTube, offline, to create physical marketing materials and menus, and even for designing t-shirts and mercy for print-on-demand stores.

This is why millions of people now use Canva; the company essentially found a huge, untapped gap in the market and filled it. It has all of the basic features you find in Photoshop, just without any of the complex learning curves; it has all the royalty-free stock imagery you’ll ever need; and, finally, it works for all types of content creators, both online and offline.

And it has a sick app for iPhone and Android, so you can design on the go. The app also makes it really easy to design engaging and eye-catching posts for all the major social media platforms. If you use social media platforms and want to improve your audience and its engagement and you’re not using Canva, you’re seriously missing a trick…

Canva Has A LOT of Stock Images

Shutterstock has over 70 billion royalty-free pieces of media on its platform. That’s a big number. Canva has 60 million stock images. Granted, this is a lot less than Shutterstock but it is still more than enough for nearly every type of user.

In order to access Canva’s full library of royalty-free images and video, as well as its more advanced and useful tools, you will need to use a Canva Pro account – these cost $10 a month (which is incredible value for money for what this tool does).

Canva is More Useful Than Shutterstock For EVERYTHING…

Anecdotally, I use Canva literally every day. I use to create images for KYM, I use to create downloadable content for our email, and I use it to develop concepts for ideas I have before passing them onto my developers. It basically does everything I need and more. And it does it for $10 a month.

But that’s not all. You can also use Canva to:

  • Create engaging Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook posts;
  • Design landing pages;
  • Create infographics;
  • Design logos and branding for marketing materials;
  • Create posters and downloadable media;
  • Design products for print-on-demand services;
  • Create videos and animations for your blog or social channels

Basically, Canva does literally everything you could want from a modern online design tool. But unlike Adobe’s suite of applications – Photoshop, Illustrator – Canva is simple to use, so much so that no experience is required, and it costs next to nothing to start using. 10 bucks a month is incredible value for money for what the platform does; I’d happily pay double that amount for my subscription.

Canva is Better Than Shutterstock

As you can see, it’s pretty black and white here: Canva is a vastly superior platform Shutterstock. Shutterstock has more content, of course, but it is also more expensive and the company’s customer service has been noted as being essentially non-existent.

With Canva, you get the following benefits:

  • It costs less than Shutterstock;
  • It has WAY more features;
  • You can create and design anything inside Canva;
  • Canva has over 60 million royalty-free images and videos;
  • And, finally, Canva is also a design tool. You can use it to quickly and easily create PDFs, infographics, downloadable content, social media posts, images for your blog or website, and even things like t-shirts and mugs.
  • And it ONLY costs $10 a month.

The bottom line here is simple: if you’re looking for the best royalty-free stock image service, go with Canva – you’ll get access to loads of stock images and videos but also, as a side bonus, a brilliant design tool for creating and editing media and other forms of consumable content.

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