Is Shutterstock Free? (2023)

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You want Shutterstock images but don’t want to pay for them. Luckily, there’s a way for you to get 10 free Shutterstock images. In this post, we answer all your questions about whether Shutterstock is free or not.

Is Shutterstock free?

No, Shutterstock is not free. Shutterstock licenses all of its content under royalty-free licenses, which is often misunderstood to mean “free.” Instead, it means that you don’t have to pay any additional royalties after you pay the initial fee.

In other words:

You can get 10 free Shutterstock images with the 30-day free trial. Also, Shutterstock gives one free photo each week. Besides that, the only way to use Shutterstock images is by purchasing a subscription plan or an image pack. These provide you with access to royalty-free images, which is the only legal way to use Shutterstock images.

Shutterstock free trial landing page screenshot
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Is Shutterstock free to use?

Shutterstock is royalty-free, which means that after you pay the fee for the image, you get the copyright and license to use the image indefinitely anywhere in the world. You can get a royalty-free license with the 30-day free version, free collections, or purchasing images as part of subscriptions or image packages.

Can you use Shutterstock images for free?

Yes, you can use Shutterstock images for free, but only the ten images are included in your free trial. You can also use the one weekly photo and one vector you get with the free account. After that, you’ll have to pay for all Shutterstock images, starting at $0.22 per image. You can also use all Shutterstock images for commercial purposes.

However, by its very nature, Shutterstock is a royalty-free stock photo agency, meaning you may use an image at zero cost forever after you buy the license. In that sense, you may use Shutterstock images that you own for free.

How to get Shutterstock for free?

To get Shutterstock for free, go to Shutterstock’s free trial page and click on the “Try for free now” button. Enter your credit card information (you won’t get charged), and complete the checkout. You will immediately get the free trial confirmation in your email.

Shutterstock Free Trial

Total Time: 3 minutes

  1. Go to Shutterstock.

    The easiest way to get the free trial is to go directly to the free trial page.

  2. Click “Try for free now.”

    This will take you to the checkout page.

  3. Enter your payment information.

    You can choose PayPal, SEPA, or a credit card. Shutterstock is safe, so don’t worry about entering your information. Also, you won’t get charged.

  4. Click “Complete checkout.”

    You will receive the confirmation in your email.

Is Shutterstock copyright free?

No, Shutterstock is not copyright-free, but it’s royalty-free. The main difference is that copyright-free means that an image is in the public domain, and anyone can use it freely, while “royalty-free” means that you don’t have to pay a fee every time you use the image.

In other words:

Royalty-free means that after you buy the license, which usually costs less than $1, you may use the images (or any other content) for free forever. This is exceptionally useful for bloggers, graphic designers, and other creatives because they don’t need to relicense the image every time they use it.

Related: What does royalty-free mean?

Does Shutterstock have free images?

Yes, Shutterstock offers a new photo and vector for free every week. To get them, you must first sign up for a free account and then click on the download link below the image to save them to your computer. The weekly free photos are distributed under the standard license that allows commercial use.

The standard license includes up to 500,000 physical reproductions, unlimited web distribution, and media projects that don’t exceed a $10,000 budget.

How to download Shutterstock’s free stock image collections?

In addition to the weekly free images, you can download free stock images and image packs. These include 25 free background images, zoom backgrounds, 40 flower images, and many others. To download collections, head over to

These images are also licensed with the standard license.

Shutterstock's free stock image collection screenshot
A screenshot of Shutterstock’s free stock image collection (Credit: Shutterstock)

How much does it cost to use Shutterstock?

As per our Shutterstock review, Shutterstock royalty-free images cost $0.22–$14.50. You can get them with subscriptions ($25–$249/month) or image packs ($29–$229/pack). Extended licenses cost $67.96–$99.50/image, based on the size of the image packs.

If you’re new and don’t know whether Shutterstock’s the best fit for you, sign up for the free trial that gives you the first month free. But Shutterstock is not the only stock photo agency with a free trial. Several free trials give you over 100 free images combined.

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
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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