Shutterstock vs. Envato Elements (2023)

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The Bottom Line

The main differences between Shutterstock and Envato Elements are the size of their collections, the pricing and subscription models, and the specific types of content they offer. Shutterstock has a larger collection and offers separate subscriptions and packs for different types of content, while Envato Elements has a smaller collection and offers one subscription with unlimited downloads of all assets.

  • Pick Shutterstock if: you’re not limited by budget and can comfortably spend $29+month on images and even more on videos. Get 10 images free »
  • Pick Envato Elements if: you need a large volume of downloads or can’t afford to spend more than $16.50/month. Get 7 days of free downloads »

Introduction to Shutterstock and Envato Elements

Envato Elements and Shutterstock are two well-known platforms that provide a wide range of digital assets, such as stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics. Both platforms are intended to make it simple for individuals and businesses to find high-quality assets for their projects.

ServiceShutterstockEnvato Elements
Shutterstock logoEnvato elements logo
Photutorial Rating4.8/5.04.5/5.0
Best ForLarge-budget website owners, professional editors and designersentrepreneurs, creative individuals, video editors, WordPress developers, graphic designers
Payment modelSubscriptions, on-demandSubscriptions
Cost$0.22–$14.50/image;
$8.35–$119.80/video;
$6.72–$11.04/track
$16.50–$39.00/month for unlimited downloads
LicensingRoyalty-free (standard, extended)Royalty-free (standard)
Indemnity$10,000/$250,000up to $645
Free trial30 days of FLEX25 (worth $29.90)7 days of unlimited access (worth $39.00)
ProsThe largest collection of stock images (408million)
30-day free trial with 10 images worth $49
Wide variety of buying options.
Big discounts with the annual prepaid plans.
Unlimited downloads with no daily limits.
7-day free trial with full access to all creative assets.
Assets can be used commercially.
Simple licensing.
Plans for individuals, teams, and enterprises.
ConsContent packs need to be bought for each content type separately
Editorial images are expensive ($99.50–$199)
Enhanced License affordable only when bought in bulk
One of the lowest indemnities in the industry.
After unsubscribing, you cannot use creative assets for new projects.
A small collection of photos and videos compared to other stock agencies.
No refunds.
ReviewsShutterstock reviewEnvato Elements review
Try ShutterstockTry Envato Elements

Quality and variety

Shutterstock and Envato Elements are both popular online platforms that offer various creative assets, such as images, videos, and music. While both platforms have a large collection of high-quality assets, there are some key differences between the two in terms of quality and variety.

In terms of quality, both Shutterstock and Envato Elements offer high-quality assets. However, Shutterstock has a larger collection with over 408 million images available, so users will likely find a wider variety of high-quality images on the platform. On the other hand, Envato Elements has a smaller collection with just 6.2 million images available. Users may have a harder time finding the specific image they want on Envato Elements.

Comparison of creative assets:

Creative asset typeShutterstockEnvato Elements
Shutterstock logoEnvato elements logo
Images409.5 million6.9 million
Videos26.8 million3.6 million
Music29,500 (+26,600 at Premium Beat)138,000
Sound effects16,000611,000
Templates15,000500,000
3D/ (1.1 million at Turbosquid, 196,000 at Pixelsquid)159,000
Add-ons/16,300
Editorial1 million/
Fonts/32,400
WordPress themes & plugins/5,400
Try ShutterstockTry Envato Elements

As discussed in the following chapter (Pricing), Envato Elements offers unlimited to all these creative assets with one $16.50/month subscription. At Shutterstock, you need to buy a different subscription/pack for each type of asset.

Pricing

Shutterstock and Envato Elements have very different pricing systems.

Shutterstock offers a variety of subscriptions and on-demand packs for different types of assets like images, videos, music, and editorial images. This allows flexibility in terms of what content you need and for how long. The only downside is that you must purchase separate plans for each type of content, except for the FLEX25 plan, which allows downloading all three.

In comparison, Envato Elements has one type of subscription that grants you unlimited downloads of all Envato creative assets, including images, videos, audio, music, templates, and more. You can get it with a monthly commitment of $39.00 or much cheaper with a yearly commitment of $16.50 per month.

Verdict: Envato Elements is overall much cheaper and better for creatives who need lots of downloads.

Licensing

While Shutterstock and Envato Elements offer royalty-free licenses for their content, their licensing policies differ significantly. Shutterstock offers four royalty-free licenses: Standard, Enhanced, Premiere, and Editorial. These licenses offer varying usage rights and legal coverage, with the Standard license offering up to $10,000 in legal coverage.

Envato Elements, on the other hand, has only one license option. While this simplifies the licensing process, it also means that users have less flexibility in terms of how they can use the assets they purchase. Most notably, the Envato license does not allow users to use assets for merchandise. Additionally, the legal coverage provided by the Envato license is significantly less than what is offered by the Standard license from Shutterstock, with only slightly above $200 in coverage.

Verdict: Envato’s license is much easier to understand but also more limiting and provides a smaller indemnity.

The Next Step

Now that you know the in and out of Envato and Shutterstock, you can comfortably pick one. And if you’re still unsure, read our guides on getting Envato free and Shutterstock free.

Alternatively, you can compare Shutterstock to other stock image sites:

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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