The Verdict | Winner: Shutterstock
The main difference between Shutterstock and Getty Images is the price. As a microstock company, Shutterstock sells stock images for $0.22, while Getty Images’ prices range from $50 to $499/image. Another difference is the number of images offered by Shutterstock (388 million) vs. Getty Images (175 million).
|Best for||Individuals, bloggers, commercial purposes, enterprises||Media houses, wealthy bloggers, and websites|
|Number of images||396 million||185 million|
|Extended license (images)||$67.96–$99.50/image||–|
|Free trial||Yes (10 free images, 30 days)||No|
|Number of videos||25.3 million||9.4 million|
|Extended license (videos)||$67.96–$193.80/video||–|
|Available licenses||Royalty-free (Standard, “Enhanced”)||Royalty-free (Standard, Enhanced, Extended)|
|Customer support||Very good over email and live chat||Unresponsive email|
|Features||Shutterstock Editor, mobile app, many integrations, image resizer, file converter||VIsualGPS Insights|
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 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 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.
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.
|Extended license pricing||$67.96–$99.50/image||–|
|Music pricing||$16.60/month for unlimited downloads||–|
|Coupon code||25% (Learn more)||–|
Shutterstock offers discounts through coupons and promo codes, with up to a 25% price reduction on all purchases for all customers. On the other hand, Getty Images never releases any coupons or promotion codes.
Related: Shutterstock coupons
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 license||Shutterstock Enhanced license||Getty Images Royalty-Free license||Getty Images Rights-Managed license|
|Type of license||Royalty-free||Royalty-free||Royalty-free||Rights-managed|
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.
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.
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).
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.
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