Shutterstock is the most desirable source of stock photos, and most people want them for free. But what they don’t know is that most options listed online are illegal and could get you into serious trouble. To help you avoid trouble, we explain six methods to download Shutterstock images without watermarks legally (and one method that is illegal).
Get 10 Unwatermarked Images For Free
Shutterstock offers a 30-day free trial that allows you to download 10 premium images for free and use them even commercially.
How to Download Shutterstock Images Without a Watermark?
There are several legal ways to get Shutterstock images for free without watermarks, but it is also necessary to understand how if you want to use the images without issues. The point is that using watermarked images is against the guidelines and is a direct copyright infringement. If you want to use photos, vectors, videos, and other content legally, you need to purchase a license that gives you the right to use them. And here are the best ways to get Shutterstock images without watermarks for free:
1. Use Shutterstock Free Trial (free)
Shutterstock’s free trial lasts for 30 days, during which you may download 10 royalty-free images at zero cost. This is a 100% legal and safe method, but it requires you to enter your credit card information. Yet, you won’t be charged if you cancel the free trial in time—that is, before the 30 days end.
The free trial has many negative reviews on social media and customer review sites, which were deserved back then. The problem was that you had to cancel the free trial 4 days before it ended (later shortened to 2 days), otherwise you got billed anyway. Luckily, this policy has now been removed, and you may cancel the free trial at the last moment. Yet, we recommend you don’t wait until the last minute.
Shutterstock’s free trial comes with an annual subscription of 10 downloads per month. So, by using the trial, you may download 10 royalty-free images licensed under the Standard License without a watermark that would otherwise cost $29.00.
How to get it:
- Go to Shutterstock.
- Click on “Try for free now”.
- Enter your payment information.
- Click on “Complete checkout”.
- Get Shutterstock images free without a watermark.
Sometimes the free trial doesn’t automatically apply, so you have to enter the code “PICK10FREE”, which activates the free trial manually. Make sure you read the terms and conditions before applying for the trial.
2. Subscribe to Shutterstock’s newsletter (free)
By subscribing to Shutterstock’s newsletter, you’ll get one free image and one free vector weekly. Simply create an account with your email and check the box that allows Shutterstock to send you promotional offers.
These images are just like regular Shutterstock images—you may use them for commercial purposes and you also get $10,000 indemnity. However, you may not use them for merchandise or resale, since that would require an Enhanced License.
How to get it:
- Go to Shutterstock.
- Create a free Shutterstock account.
- Confirm the email address.
- Wait to receive one photo and one vector into 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.
3. Download from free collections (free)
Shutterstock’s free collections are little-known, but you can get hundreds of very good stock images with them. You can download them in packs only, which contain various images, but they are usually sorted by topic.
As for the free trial and the newsletter, the images from the collections are equal to the standard Shutterstock images, that is, you can use them for commercial purposes and with unlimited prints.
How to get it:
- Go to Shutterstock.
- Go to the free image collections.
- Select an image pack.
- Download the image pack.
- Unzip the images.
The photo and vector you’ll receive each week are royalty-free, meaning you may use them for commercial purposes. And best of all, they are not watermarked.
4. Students get free images
Students can get over 40 (47, to be precise) free images for their class assignments and creative projects. All you have to do is sign up with an email address and a password, and then get verified by Shutterstock.
How to get it:
- Go to Shutterstock.
- Go to the lip student free pack page.
- Sign up with an email and password.
- Wait to get verified.
- Enjoy your free images.
A while ago in 2019, you could also get a free MackBook Air by creating the best project for the creative challenge, which was the result of a partnership between Shutterstock and Lecture in Progress.
5. Shutterstock’s subscription plans (paid)
Subscriptions are the cheapest paid method to get Shutterstock images without a watermark. They work by paying a fixed monthly fee for which you get a certain number of photos each month. You can choose between four plan sizes and three durations, with the annual prepaid being the cheapest (starting at $0.22/image).
|Monthly downloads||Monthly||Annual||Annual (prepaid)|
For subscriptions, you may also use our Shutterstock coupon code to save an additional 25%. 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.
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.
|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 are infringing 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.
- Adobe Stock – Overall best Shutterstock alternative
- iStock – Best alternative for subscriptions
- Depositphotos – Best alternative for bloggers
- Canva – Best alternative for unlimited downloads
- Getty Images – Best alternative for editorial content
- Offset (by Shutterstock) – Best alternative for premium stock photos
- Unsplash – Best free alternative
- CanStockPhoto – The cheapest alternative
- Dreamstime – Cheapest alternative for extended licenses
- Pond5 – Best alternative for stock videos
Related: Best Shutterstock Alternatives
How to download the Shutterstock video without a watermark?
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.
|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?
Downloading any of the 86 million vectors without a watermark is analogous to 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 image subscriptions or image packs.
Vectors are the files that come in the EPS format, which you can open with Adobe Illustrator, for example.
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.
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.
- Stock Photo, Royalty-Free Image Prices and Plans, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
- Video Clips, Stock Footage Pricing & Plans, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
- Royalty-free Stock Music Licensing Prices, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
- Editorial Stock Photos and Images, Shutterstock. Retrieved: June 11, 2022.
- Students: Get Free Images, Share Your Creative Work, and You May Win, Shutterstock, Updated: November 15, 2019. Retrieved: July 19, 2022.
- 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.