How to get Shutterstock free trial safely

Get 10 royalty-free images or 2 audio tracks at zero cost. You also save $29.

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.

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Shutterstock free trial on screen

Shutterstock’s free trial has been around since November 11, 2019, but they keep us all on our toes by changing the offer every few months. In the most recent iteration, effective August 2023, Shutterstock removed the option to use the 10 credits to download a video by increasing video costs to 25 credits. From now on, you can use the free trial only to download 10 royalty-free images or 2 audio tracks.

Follow these 6 steps to start the free trial:

  1. Go to the free trial page
  2. Click on “Try for free now” button
  3. Sign in to your Shutterstock account
  4. Enter your payment information and confirm
  5. Download photos
  6. Cancel after 30 days to pay nothing

The free trial is available with the annual, billed monthly FLEX subscription that gets you 10 credits per month. If you check Shutterstock’s pricing page, you can find it in the Image, Video, and Music tabs. Although, due to the testing, it’s sometimes named differently, i.e., “Annual image subscription.”

In either case, you’re saving $29 on the first month, and you get 10 credits you can spend on 10 images or 2 audio tracks. At the time of writing, you cannot get a free trial of any other plan.

How to get Shutterstock’s free trial?

Starting a Shutterstock free trial isn’t as straightforward as you might hope, but don’t fret; we’ve got you covered. If you’re on the hunt for the quickest route, this direct link will usher you straight to the free trial page. However, keep an eye out—Shutterstock has a habit of tweaking this page’s design, so it may not be a mirror image of what we’ve described here. From that landing page, there’s a conspicuous “Try for free now” button that will guide you toward signing up.

Shutterstock free trial page
Shutterstock free trial pricing page (Credit: Shutterstock/Photutorial)

Alternatively, for those who land on Shutterstock’s main page, you’ll want to steer your way to the Pricing page. Just glance at the top right corner for the link. Once there, browse through the Images, Videos, or Music tabs to find the FLEX subscription. But here’s a pro tip: Shutterstock might occasionally swap out the FLEX label as they test different naming conventions. So, if you’re committed to diving into the trial, select the humble 10-credit per month package that’s paired with the “annual, billed monthly” payment scheme. It should be pretty recognizable once you’re on that page.

Shutterstock free trial pricing page
Access Shutterstock’s free trial from the pricing page. Select Images, Videos, or Music and the Annual, billed monthly payment.

To start your free trial, locate and click on the “Start a free trial” button. This action redirects you to the checkout page. If this button eludes you, ensure you’ve selected the “Annual Monthly” plan coupled with the “Single User” option; the free trial currently excludes other plans. At this stage, you’ll either log into your existing account or set up a new one. If you’re new to Shutterstock, registering is a breeze—simply input your email and a password or conveniently link to your Google or Facebook for quicker access.

As you proceed to the checkout, it’s a standard affair: provide your payment details, including PayPal, S€PA, or any major credit card, and finalize your billing address. Before moving forward, take a moment to confirm the successful application of the free trial in the summary section. You should spot a deduction labeled “You entered a valid coupon code -$29.” Remember, even though you’ve keyed in your payment particulars, the billing only commences post the trial period. To avoid any unintentional charges, consider ending the trial before its 30-day duration. You can also enter other Shutterstock coupons for discounts.

Shutterstock free trial checkout page
Shutterstock free trial checkout page

Upon confirming the checkout, your free trial officially kicks off, guaranteeing you won’t face any immediate charges. Expect an email affirmation of the same. Now, the fun part— with your trial, utilize your 10 credits to download any preferred images, videos, or audio. It’s as comprehensive as a paid subscription, just without the price tag. Enjoy exploring!

Common misspellings

The most common misspellings of the Shutterstock free trial include “shutterstock free trail”, “sutterstrock free trail”, and “shutter stock free trial”.

Terms and conditions

I frequently check review sites like Trustpilot to see what other customers think about the products I use and review. When it comes to Shutterstock, most bad reviews come from customers who didn’t read the terms and conditions and are now disappointed. To know what you’re getting, make sure you read the terms carefully. And if you don’t have the time, here’s a quick summary:

  • What is it? Shutterstock free trial is a one-month trial period of the FLEX subscription with 10 credits per month.
  • What do you get? You get 10 monthly credits that you can use to download images and music tracks or any mix of those. Images cost 1 credit, and music tracks 4 credits. For example, you can get 2 music tracks and 2 images (2×4 credit + 2 credits = 10 credits) or 1 music track and 6 images.
  • Risk-free: You may cancel anytime within the first month and pay nothing. There are also no cancellation fees.
  • Keep files: Even if you cancel, you can keep all the images or music tracks you downloaded with the free trial.
  • Save $29: You don’t pay for the first month of a $29/month subscription plan. You can continue the subscription after the free trial normally and get up to 10 credits per month.
  • Full access: You can download any Shutterstock image or audio track that can be licensed under the Standard license (Editorial images are excluded). You also get full access to Creative Flow+ and templates.
  • 1 free trial per person.
  • You can’t combine it with any other offers, coupons, or discounts.
  • Availability: The Shutterstock free trial is available worldwide, except for India.

How to cancel Shutterstock free trial?

Rest assured, Shutterstock has simplified its cancellation policies over the years. There used to be requirements to cancel the free trial four days in advance, later reduced to two days. Now, that’s no longer the case. You can comfortably cancel right up to the last moment of your trial.

To cancel the free trial, navigate to the ‘Plans‘ page in your account. There, you’ll find the “Cancel plan early” option. Clicking on this before your trial concludes will ensure that your trial ends without any obligations.

How to cancel Shutterstock free trial
How to cancel Shutterstock free trial (Credit: Photutorial/Matic Broz)

For those who have opted for other plans, there’s a straightforward approach to manage your subscriptions. If you’ve chosen the Annual Commitment Plan and paid upfront, you can cancel anytime and avoid future renewals. Those on the monthly billing cycle of the annual plan have the choice to either let the plan end after its 12-month course or cancel early, though the latter has an associated fee based on the savings of the annual commitment. The Free Trial gives you a glimpse into the annual FLEX 10 subscription, but remember to cancel before its end, or it will transition to an annual commitment with monthly bills. And if you’re on the flexible, non-commitment plans, you can simply head to the ‘Plans’ page to cancel or reactivate before their expiration.

Can you use fake cards

Before you even think about using a site like DoNotPay to access Shutterstock’s free trial without giving out your credit card details, let me lay it out for you. Sure, it might sound like a tempting shortcut, but we can’t give it our seal of approval.

To start with, let’s talk about the rights to use an image. If you’ve signed up for Shutterstock’s free trial, you know it’s a one-time deal per person. So, if you find yourself sneaking around trying to sign up for more, you’re technically not being, well, yourself. This means any image you snag under a different persona isn’t technically yours to flaunt in your campaign. And if the sharp-eyed folks over at the Shutterstock infringement team catch wind of this? Ouch. Get ready for a possible fine.

But here’s another thing. Ever noticed how, when you’re all set to dive into a free trial, your card gets a tiny charge (maybe just a dollar) and then it’s instantly given back? It’s a quick check to make sure you’re on the level. Use a fake card from DoNotPay or any other source, and chances are, you’re not getting through that door. And if by some twist of fate, Shutterstock sniffs out what you’re up to? You might just find that free trial door locked to you for good.

So, to wrap it up: Is it really worth the gamble?

Frequently asked questions

How long does the Shutterstock free trial last?

Shutterstock’s free trial lasts for 30 days. Within 30 days, you may download 10 royalty-free stock images free of charge and keep them even if you cancel. If you decide to cancel, you pay nothing.

Can I use Shutterstock images after the free trial?

Yes, you can use all Shutterstock images after the free trial, even if you cancel. The images you download during the free trial are licensed with the Standard license that allows perpetual and worldwide use of the images.

Is Shutterstock’s free trial really free?

Yes, Shutterstock free trial is completely free. If you cancel before the 30-day free trial period ends, you pay nothing. Although you must enter the credit card information, the Shutterstock trial remains free because you won’t get charged.

How long is Shutterstock free trial?

Shutterstock’s free trial lasts for 30 days, starting when you completed the checkout and confirmed the free trial.

What does “SSTK Free Trial Ended” mean?

The “SSTK Free Trial Ended” message on your credit/debit card statement or PayPal transaction history means that Shutterstock has charged you for the first paid month of a subscription after the end of a free trial period. This means that the trial period has ended and the payment for the first paid month of the subscription plan has been processed. You can view your active subscriptions by checking the “Plans” page on your Shutterstock account. You may also see similar variants, including “SSTK Free Trial Ended Dublin 2”, “SSTK Free Trial Ended Dublin 2 irl”, “SSTK Free Trial Ended Dublin 2 ie”, and “SSTK Free Trial Ended Dublin”.


Since Shutterstock frequently updates it’s free trial, we’re tracking all the updates we make to this page here.

  • August 19, 2023: A complete overhaul of this page to reflect the Shutterstock update to its pricing and free trial again. Now you can’t get a video anymore since they cost 25 credits now.
  • July 21, 2022: Shutterstock started experimenting with a different free trial in 2022 and implemented it for everyone by the end of the year. The free trial was updated to match the new Shutterstock All-in-One subscriptions that let you download images, video, and audio, compared to just images. To reflect these new changes, we updated this guide on how to get Shutterstock free trial, as well as our Shutterstock pricing guide and Shutterstock review.
  • February 2021: Update to reflect the changes to the shortened cancellation period from 96 to 48 hours and later to zero.


  1. Does Shutterstock have a Free Trial?, Shutterstock. Retrieved: July 21, 2022.
  2. Shutterstock, Announcing Shutterstock’s Free Trial, Shutterstock Blog, Published on November 11, 2019. Retrieved: July 21, 2022.
  3. Stock Photo, Royalty-Free Image Prices and Plans, Shutterstock. Retrieved: July 21, 2022.


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