How To Download Shutterstock Images Without Watermarks?

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It’s alarming to see the abundance of services promising free Shutterstock images through illegal methods. These methods promote copyright infringement, which is a serious legal offense. At Photutorial, we have years of experience using Shutterstock and want to help you access its images safely and legally.

In this article, we’ll explore several legal methods for downloading Shutterstock images without watermarks. By following these methods, you can access Shutterstock’s extensive collection of images for your personal or commercial use without risking legal trouble.

Shutterstock Free Trial

  • 10 royalty-free images, unwatermarked images
  • 30 days long, totally risk-free
  • Use images even commercially
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How to Download Shutterstock Images Without Watermarks?

If you want to use Shutterstock images without legal issues, it’s important to understand the guidelines and purchase a license granting you the right to use the content. However, there are also several legal ways to access Shutterstock images without watermarks for free. Here are the best options:

1. Use Shutterstock Free Trial (free)

Shutterstock offers a 30-day free trial that allows you to download 10 stock images or 1 video, or 4 soundtracks plus 2 images for free. On top of that, you can use them even commercially. This is a legal and safe method, but it does require you to enter your credit card information. However, you won’t be charged as long as you cancel the free trial before the 30 days are up.

The free trial comes with an annual subscription of 10 downloads per month. This means that by using the trial, you can legally download 10 royalty-free images licensed under the Standard License without a watermark for free, which would normally cost $29.00.

How to get the free trial

  1. Go to Shutterstock’s website
  2. Click on “Try for free now”
  3. Enter your payment information
  4. Click on “Complete checkout”

You should now be able to access Shutterstock images without watermarks for free. If the free trial doesn’t automatically apply to your account, you may need to enter the code “TRYFLEX10” to activate it manually. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before applying for the trial.

Pros

  • 10 commercial images
  • Royalty-free license with $10,000 indemnity
  • Worth $29

Cons

  • It gets auto-renewed if you don’t cancel before the end (you can disable this feature)
  • The free trial is not available in India

Footnotes

  1. The free trial previously had a policy that required users to cancel at least 4 days (later shortened to 2 days) before the end of the trial to avoid being billed. This policy has since been removed, and you can cancel the trial anytime. However, we still recommend you cancel the trial before the 30 days are up to avoid any potential issues.
  2. The free trial used to apply to the standard image subscription of 10 monthly downloads, which has since been substituted with All-in-one subscriptions. Now, you can download 10 images, 1 video, or 2 audio tracks + 2 images.

2. Subscribe to Shutterstock’s newsletter (free)

By subscribing to Shutterstock’s newsletter, you get one free image and one free vector each week delivered straight to your inbox. To sign up, simply create an account on Shutterstock’s website and opt-in to receive promotional offers.

Shutterstock free image collection

These free images are subject to the same terms of use as regular Shutterstock images, including commercial use and a $10,000 indemnity, but they cannot be used for merchandise or resale, which requires an Enhanced License.

How to get it:

  1. Go to Shutterstock.
  2. Create a free Shutterstock account.
  3. Confirm the email address.
  4. Wait to receive one photo and one vector in your inbox.

Check back every week to get one free photo and vector. If you don’t get them into your inbox, go to Shutterstock’s free download page, and download them from there.

Pros:

  • 1 free image and 1 free vector every week
  • Commercial license

Cons:

  • You have to give your email address, and you’ll keep receiving promotional offers
  • You cannot choose which image and vector you get

3. Download from free collections (free)

Did you know that Shutterstock has a collection of free stock images that are high quality and do not have watermarks? These images can be downloaded in packs that are organized by topic.

Shutterstock free image pack

Like the images included in the free trial and newsletter, these free collection images can be used for commercial purposes and have unlimited prints. Additionally, the photo and vector you receive each week through the newsletter are royalty-free and can be used for commercial purposes without watermarks.

How to get it:

  1. Go to Shutterstock.
  2. Go to the free image collections.
  3. Select an image pack.
  4. Download the image pack.
  5. Unzip the images.

Pros:

  • Hundreds of free images
  • Shutterstock Standard license

Cons:

  • Organized in packs where many of the images won’t be useful for you

4. Free images for students

Students can access 47 free stock images for their class assignments and creative projects by signing up with an email address and password on Shutterstock and verifying their student status

How to get it:

  1. Go to Shutterstock.
  2. Go to the lip student free pack page.
  3. Sign up with an email and password.
  4. Wait to get verified.
  5. Enjoy your free images.

For a while in 2019, you could also get a free MackBook Air by creating the best project for the creative challenge, which resulted from a partnership between Shutterstock and Lecture in Progress.

5. Shutterstock’s subscription plans (paid)

Shutterstock’s subscription plans offer a cost-effective way to access stock images without watermarks. By paying a fixed monthly fee, subscribers receive a certain number of credits that can be used to download images, videos, or audio tracks. There are six different plan sizes and three durations to choose from, with the annual plan billed upfront being the most affordable option starting at $0.22 per image.

Credits per monthMonthlyAnnual (billed monthly)Annual (billed upfront)
10$49$29$25 ($299/ye)
25$89$59$50 $599/ye)
50$125$99$82 ($989/ye)
150$189$149$125 ($1,499/ye)
350$199$169$137 ($1,649/ye)
750$249$199$167 ($1,999/ye)
Subscription plans pricing (prices are monthly)

You can use the credits to download images (photos, illustrations, vectors), videos, or audio tracks. Each content type costs a different number of credits:

  • Images: 1 credit
  • Video: 10 credits
  • Audio tracks: 4 credits

For subscriptions, you may also use our Shutterstock coupon code to save an additional 10%. Such low prices make Shutterstock one of the cheapest stock photo sites, while its large library and decades of trustworthy service make it one of the best stock photo sites.

Pros:

  • Commercial license
  • Download any of the 410+ million images, 25+ million videos, and tens of thousands of audio tracks
  • The annual subscription with 10 credits comes with a 1-month free trial
  • 20% discount on annual (billed monthly) plans and 32% discount on the annual (billed upfront) plans

Cons:

  • Starts at $25 per month
  • The Enhanced License is not included

Footnotes

Shutterstock subscriptions used to be separated for each content type (images, videos, audio tracks). In the second half of 2022, Shutterstock introduced unified All-in-one subscriptions (previously FLEX).

6. Shutterstock’s on-demand packs (paid)

Image packs are your best choice for unwatermarked images when you don’t need them regularly. While they are more expensive than subscriptions, you get more freedom. This is because you may use them at any time.

Pack sizeStandardEnhanced
2 images$29 ($14.50/image)$199 ($99.50/image)
5 images$49 ($9.80/image)$449 ($89.80/image)
25 images$229 ($9.16/image)$1,699 ($67.96/image)

With image packs, you can also get the Enhanced license that you cannot get otherwise.

Shutterstock image downloaders

Shutterstock image downloaders are illegal tools that promise to provide Shutterstock images without a watermark. However, most of them don’t work and may contain computer viruses.

We are only telling you about this method to warn you against it. We’ve noticed that several other websites promote tools that provide Shutterstock images without a watermark for free. We’ve tested all of them to see what they’re all about. And while some work, they are also frauds because they infringe copyrights—in fact, you are by using them.

When you buy a stock photo, you pay for the right to use it. That right is linked to a royalty-free license, your proof of payment. This way, the author of the photo gets paid for their work.

On the other hand, when you procure a photo illegally, you don’t have the right to use it. Because to use someone else’s intellectual property, you need their permission. You can get that permission with a license. However, when you use a stock photo without having the right to use it, you’re infringing the author’s copyright. And if you get sued, it can cost you a lot of money.

WARNING: Do not use the tools promising you free stock photos from paid stock photo agencies. Your business might get shut down, or you will have to pay a ridiculously high amount of money.

Here are the 3 top problems with Shutterstock image downloaders:

  • They usually don’t work.
  • They may contain malware.
  • They are 100% illegal and you are not allowed to use the photos you get with them.

Best Shutterstock alternatives for unwatermarked images

While Shutterstock is a fantastic source of unwatermarked images, they are several other alternatives. For example, Adobe Stock gives you up to 40 unwatermarked images for free.

  1. Adobe Stock – Overall best Shutterstock alternative
  2. iStock – Best alternative for subscriptions
  3. Depositphotos – Best alternative for bloggers
  4. Canva – Best alternative for unlimited downloads
  5. Getty Images – Best alternative for editorial content
  6. Offset (by Shutterstock) – Best alternative for premium stock photos
  7. Unsplash – Best free alternative
  8. CanStockPhoto – The cheapest alternative
  9. Dreamstime – Cheapest alternative for extended licenses
  10. Pond5 – Best alternative for stock videos

Related: Best Shutterstock Alternatives

How to get Shutterstock videos for free without a watermark?

Currently, there’s no way of getting Shutterstock videos for free without a watermark. For a brief 14-day period in the summer of 2022, Shutterstock offered a 30-day free trial of the FLEX25 subscription, which granted you up to 3 free videos. However, it’s currently inactive.

The only legal way to videos from Shutterstock is by paying. The best way to download Shutterstock videos without a watermark is by purchasing the FLEX25 subscription plan. For between $42–$69/month, you get 3 video clips per month without a watermark. Another way is stock footage subscriptions costing $8.35–$37.80/video.

ClipsMonthlyAnnualAnnual (prepaid)
5 videos$189 ($37.80/video)$99 ($19.80/video)$79 ($15.80/video)
10 videos$359 ($35.90/video)$159 ($15.90/video)$133 ($13.30/video)
20 videos$669 ($33.45/video)$199 ($9.95/video)$167 ($8.35/video)
Flex25$69 ($23.00/video)$49 ($16.33/video)$42 ($14.00/video)

How to download the Shutterstock vector without a watermark?

Any of the 86 million vectors can be downloaded without a watermark. This is the same as downloading stock photos. You can do it with the free trial, get 1 free vector each week when you subscribe to the newsletter, or by purchasing image subscriptions or image packs.

Vectors are files that come in EPS format, which you can open with Adobe Illustrator, for example.

Conclusion

To summarize, anyone can download Shutterstock images without a watermark using the free trial, by purchasing a subscription plan, or an on-demand pack. With the free trial, you get 10 free images, while with a subscription plan, you may download up to 750 images/month for just $0.22/image.

How to download free Shutterstock images without a watermark:

  1. Use Shutterstock Free Trial
  2. Subscribe to Shutterstock’s newsletter
  3. Download from free collections
  4. Students get free images

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I remove the watermark from Shutterstock images?

There are many ways to remove the watermark from Shutterstock images, but you shouldn’t do it illegally. This includes using 3rd party tools that remove the watermark after you provide the link to the photos. The best and legal way to get Shutterstock images without a watermark for free is through the 30-day trial that gives you 10 royalty-free images.

How can I download Shutterstock videos without a watermark for free?

There is no legal way of downloading Shutterstock videos without a watermark for free. Illegal tools that remove your watermark might get you in big trouble. The best way to get Shutterstock videos without a watermark is to buy them with subscription plans.

Can you use Shutterstock images for free with a watermark?

Yes, you can get 10 free Shutterstock images with the free trial during the first 30 days. Another option is creating a free account, for which you get one free photo and one vector to your email inbox each week.

Is it illegal to remove Shutterstock’s watermark?

Yes, it’s illegal to remove Shutterstock’s watermark from images without paying for the license first. By doing so, you’re infringing the copyright, thus putting yourself and your project at risk of a lawsuit.

Other Unwatermarked Images To Consider

Sources

  1. Stock Photo, Royalty-Free Image Prices and Plans, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
  2. Video Clips, Stock Footage Pricing & Plans, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
  3. Royalty-free Stock Music Licensing Prices, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
  4. Editorial Stock Photos and Images, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
  5. Students: Get Free Images, Share Your Creative Work, and You May Win, Shutterstock, Updated: November 15, 2019. Retrieved: July 19, 2022.
  6. Students: Show us where you’ve used Shutterstock assets for the chance to win a MacBook Air!, Creative Lives in Progress, October 29, 2019. Retrieved: July 19, 2022.

About your guide

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Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a multifaceted creative professional, with experience as a photographer, graphic designer, and business owner. He has a decade of experience in helping other creatives improve their craft and start their own businesses. His writing and research have been featured in notable publications such as The Guardian, PetaPixel, and USA Today. Additionally, his scientific research has been recognized with a cover feature in the prestigious MDPI-owned journal. In his leisure time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and spending time with dogs. Read more

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