Shutterstock vs. Getty Images: Which is more affordable?

Shutterstock is the better stock photo site.

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

Updated on | 0 Comments

If you buy something from a Photutorial link, we may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.
Shutterstock vs. Getty Images

Shutterstock and Getty Images are two popular names that come to mind when searching for the perfect stock image on the web. For many, the decision between Shutterstock and Getty Images boils down to cost, variety, and quality. The dilemma often is – do you invest more in Getty Images’ prestigious collection or go for Shutterstock’s economical range without compromising on quality?

So, which is better? Shutterstock sells stock images for as low as $0.22 per image, while Getty Images prices range from $50 to $499 per image. This makes Shutterstock better for the average individual, bloggers, or businesses, while Getty Images is best for high-end media houses and large businesses that seek exclusivity.

Shutterstock vs. Getty Images: At a glance

FeatureShutterstockGetty Images
Photutorial rating5.0/5.03.5/5.0
Best forIndividuals, bloggers, commercial purposes, enterprisesMedia houses, wealthy bloggers, and websites
Images434 million203 million
Price per image (subscription)$0.18–$8.21*
Price per image (on demand)$1.95–$12.33*$50–$499
Free trialYes, 30 days (learn how)No
Available licensesRoyalty-free, editorialRoyalty-free, rights-managed, editorial
Legal coverage$10,000–$250,000/licenseUnlimited
Customer supportExcellent and fast (email and live chat)Never responds (email)
Pros– largest collection of images
– excellent customer support
– numerous integrations
– affordable pricing
– excellent image quality
Cons– expensive for low-budget customers– very expensive
– the worst customer support
ReviewShutterstock reviewGetty Images review
Annual discount (32% off)10 free images
* With our Shutterstock coupon code (15% off)

Shutterstock and Getty Images each have their own unique strengths, tailored for different needs. Shutterstock excels in offering a massive variety of stock media, from photographs to vectors and illustrations, all accessible through flexible subscription or on-demand packs. Its recent pricing overhaul and promotional offers make it an affordable choice for content creators. On the other hand, Getty Images stands out for its focus on editorial images and specialized macrostock services, offering rights-managed licenses that are often sought after by media outlets covering real-world events. However, while Getty does offer bespoke subscriptions, customer service can be a sticking point, which might make Shutterstock a more user-friendly option overall.

Real-life scenarios: Should you pick Shutterstock or Getty?

The choice between Shutterstock and Getty Images often depends on what exactly you’re looking for. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide.

Use caseWhich is Best?Why?
Images for blogs, websites, and social mediaShutterstockShutterstock’s Standard license covers unlimited use in these areas. With a vast array of images and cost-effective pricing, it’s ideal for your digital content needs.
High-end advertising campaignsGetty ImagesGetty Images provides premium, curated collections ideal for high-end advertising efforts. Their exclusive content delivers unique and impactful visuals.
Editorial contentGetty ImagesGetty excels in this category with an unparalleled selection of exclusive, timely, and newsworthy images, making it the primary source for editorial needs.
Creative projectsShutterstockShutterstock’s extensive catalog, competitive prices, and royalty-free licenses make it the preferred choice for a broad range of creative work.
Corporate presentationsShutterstockFor corporate presentations where cost is a consideration but variety is needed, Shutterstock offers an economical and diverse selection of images.
Images for marketing on a strict budgetShutterstockBudget-friendly subscription plans offer high-res images at extremely economical rates, going as low as 18 cents per image with special coupon codes.
Images for marketing for a big corporationGetty ImagesGetty Images offers premium corporate solutions that align with the needs of big-budget, high-profile marketing campaigns.
Photos to use in products for resaleDependsShutterstock offers an Enhanced license that’s affordable and covers unlimited use for large images. For small images, Getty’s Rights Managed license might be more economical and offer broader usage rights.
Pictures for graphic designShutterstockShutterstock stands out for graphic design needs thanks to its broad image variety, competitive pricing, and flexible, royalty-free licensing.
A team solution for a big corporationDependsGetty Images offers a high-profile, prestigious option, while Shutterstock provides a budget-conscious alternative. Your choice should align with both your brand image and budget.

Difference in pricing

The main difference between Shutterstock and Getty Images pricing is that Getty Images only sells on-demand content, while Shutterstock offers subscriptions, on-demand, and even unlimited downloads for audio files. Because of the low-priced subscriptions, Shutterstock is significantly cheaper than Getty Images.


Buying methodShutterstockGetty Images
Subscription pricing$0.22–$4.90/image
On-demand pricing$9.16–$14.50/image$50.00–$499/image
Extended license pricing$67.96–$99.50/image
Footage pricing$8.35–$37.80/clip$50.00–$499/clip
Music pricing$16.60/month for unlimited downloads
Coupon code15% (Learn more)

Shutterstock sells images by subscription and on-demand, with subscription plans ranging from 10 to 750 monthly downloads and three payment options (monthly, annual, and annual prepaid). Subscriptions offer the lowest prices for images, with prices starting at $0.22 per image. Getty Images, on the other hand, doesn’t offer subscriptions, so images are significantly more expensive.

Both agencies offer image packages as on-demand content. Shutterstock offers royalty-free image packages of 2, 5, or 25 images ($9.16–$14.50/image) or extended licenses ($67.96–$99.50/image). Getty sells content in packages of 1, 5, or 10 images or videos at prices ranging from $50 to $499.

Discounts & best deals

Neither Shutterstock nor Getty Images is the cheapest option available on the market, but you can drastically reduces image costs if you know where and how to find the discounts.

Best Shutterstock discounts:

  • Bulk discounts: You will get a lower price per image if you buy a larger subscription or a large image pack. These discounts range from 5% to 90%.
  • Annual and annual prepaid: By subscribing for the full 12 months or even prepaying, you save 20% and 32%, respectively.

Shutterstock offers discounts through coupons and promo codes, with up to a 15% price reduction on all purchases for all customers. On the other hand, Getty Images never releases any coupons or promotion codes.

Related: Shutterstock coupons

Free Trial

You can get up to 10 high-quality and free stock images with Shutterstock’s trial. To get them, sign up for the free trial and download the pictures, which you may use even if you cancel the trial. To avoid paying a subscription fee, you must cancel the free trial at least 2 days before it expires. On the other hand, Getty Images doesn’t offer a free trial for any of its services.

Related: Best stock photo free trials


Shutterstock and Getty sell images with royalty-free licenses, which are similar but not quite the same. For example, Shutterstock’s Standard license allows up to 500,000 copies and you need to purchase an Enhanced license for unlimited copies of an image. In contrast, the native Getty Images’ royalty-free license already allows unlimited reproduction. Therefore, you can compare Shutterstock’s Enhanced license with Getty’s royalty-free license. To avoid any confusion, let’s compare all licenses in the following table:


Shutterstock Standard licenseShutterstock Enhanced licenseGetty Images Royalty-Free licenseGetty Images Rights-Managed license
Type of licenseRoyalty-freeRoyalty-freeRoyalty-freeRights-managed
Unlimited500,000 copies
Any media

Let’s explain the terms:

  • Price – how much you have to pay to acquire the license.
  • Type of license – licenses are classified based on use cases and the payment into creative commons, royalty-free, and rights-managed.
  • Perpetual – once you pay for the content, you may use it forever.
  • Worldwide – you may use the content anywhere in the world.
  • Unlimited – the number of allowed reproductions, copies, prints, etc.
  • Non-exclusive – other customers can also buy the content and use it in their projects.
  • Any media – you may use the content for any purpose.
  • Resell standalone file – you may not resell the standalone file, ever.

Customer Support

We tested customer support of both stock photo agencies and here are the results: both take from 1 to 3 business days to reply, although Getty takes slightly longer than Shutterstock. We also experienced not receiving a response from Getty on one occasion when we asked about helping us choose the best license for our project.

Additional Features

Shutterstock has a number of additional tools that can improve your workflow, including an image editor and resizer, file converter, integrations into popular platforms (WordPress, Creative Cloud, PowerPoint), Chrome Extension, and Google Slides.

Getty Images offers similar but enterprise-grade tools, including an API, a media manager for file management, and various integrations (Creative Cloud, Dropbox, WordPress VIP).

Real-life Examples

1. I need stock images for my blog/website or social media (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook).

Pick Shutterstock. Shutterstock’s Standard license allows unlimited web distribution, which includes blogging. Since you’re going to need Shutterstock images consistently, we recommend getting a subscription that fits your needs. You can choose between 10, 50, 350, and 750 monthly downloads. The larger the plan, the cheaper each download.

2. I need images/videos for marketing. I have a limited budget.

Pick Shutterstock. Depending on the marketing campaign size, you might have to get the Extended license. The difference is that the Standard license allows up to 500,000 impressions (or a $10K budget for videos), while the Enhanced license allows unlimited impressions. The Enhanced license also gives you larger legal backing ($250K) than the Standard license ($10K). The best way to get Extended licenses is through packs of images, which come in sizes of 1, 5, and 25. The larger the image pack, the lower the price per image.

3. I want to resell T-shirts/mugs/postcards with the image printed on them.

You need either Shutterstock’s Enhanced license or Getty’s royalty-free license. Getty is cheaper for small images in resolution of 0.2 MP (i.e. for mugs), while Shutterstock is cheaper for larger images (i.e. T-shirts, prints).

4. I am a graphic designer and I need images for my graphics.

Pick Shutterstock. Shutterstock’s subscription plans are your best option because you will get images at the lowest possible prices. You can also use Shutterstock’s integration into Adobe’s Creative Cloud. You may also consider alternatives that also support Creative Cloud integrations, such as Adobe Stock, iStock, and Getty Images.

5. We’re an enterprise and we need a solution for teams.

Comparing the pricing of Shutterstock and Getty for enterprises is impossible because all the pricing solutions are bespoke. Both agencies offer useful tools for large teams, including APIs and team licensing. Overall, Shutterstock is a bit cheaper, but the final decision will depend based on

6. I need editorial images.

Pick Getty Images. With over 130 million editorial images, Getty Images is the largest database of editorial images. Although Shutterstock’s not bad at 50 million files, Getty Images has been a go-to solution for media houses for years.

The Verdict

Shutterstock is the better solution for 90% of customers because you get comparable image quality and a better image variety at much lower prices. That’s why we recommend Shutterstock for individuals, bloggers, and small to medium-sized businesses. Getty Images is a good option for corporations and for editorial content.

The final difference is that Getty offers royalty-free, rights-ready, and rights-managed licenses, but Shutterstock offers only royalty-free.

We also prefer Shutterstock to Getty Images because it offers a 30-day free trial that lets you download up to 10 royalty-free images at no cost. Also, Shutterstock’s selection of commercial content is considerably larger, since most of the 175 million Getty images are for editorial use only, meaning you may not use them for commercial projects.

Shutterstock vs Getty Images FAQs

Is Shutterstock better than Getty Images?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you really care about the all-in-one royalty-free license, Getty Images is the better choice. However, if you only need images, videos, and audio for illustration purposes, then Shutterstock is the cheaper and better option.

Is Shutterstock trustworthy?

Yes, Shutterstock is trustworthy. It is the largest stock photo agency with over 300,000 active subscribers generating over $600 million in annual revenue. Also, all purchases are encrypted and backed with a refund if you’re not 100% satisfied.


Photutorial compared Shutterstock and Getty Images based on 14 data points in the categories of image quality and variety, pricing, licensing, image number, customer support, and additional features. Photutorial rated Shutterstock and Getty Images based on the weighting assigned to each category.

  • Image quality & variety: 20%
  • Pricing: 20%
  • Licensing: 20%
  • Image number: 15%
  • Additional features: 15%
  • Customer support: 10%

Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, the number of images per most popular searches, technical quality, and added value. We also looked at the variety of pricing plans, minimum, median, and maximum image prices, and free trial terms. Finally, we evaluated Shutterstock’s and Getty Images’ customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.


Leave a Comment