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Shutterstock vs. Getty Images May 2022

Which Stock Photo Sites Is Best?

Matic BrozUpdated May 17, 2022

If you’re looking to buy stock images, Shutterstock and Getty Images are the two obvious choices. But they are both very different, so it can be hard to compare them to make an informed decision. We’ll help you make the decision with this comparison of Shutterstock and Getty Images.

Overall Winner: Shutterstock.

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.

Shutterstock vs. Getty Images Comparison

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).

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.

ShutterstockGetty Images
Rating5.0/5.04.4/5.0
Overall rank#1 out of 31#6 out of 31
Image qualityVery goodSuperb
Best forStandard stock images and Extended licenses (for 500K+ copies)Enterprises, large companies
Number of images388 million175 million
Number of videos24.6 million9 million
Free trial10 imagesNo
Additional featuresShutterstock Editor, mobile apps, plugins, image resizer, file converter, collage maker, color schemesPlugins for Creative Cloud, WordPress, DropBox
ReviewShutterstock reviewGetty Images review

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 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.

Pricing

The main difference between the pricing of Shutterstock and Getty Images is that Getty Images sells content on-demand only, while Shutterstock offers subscriptions, on-demand, and even unlimited downloads for audio files. As a result, Shutterstock is much cheaper than Getty Images thanks to affordable subscriptions.

Shutterstock sells stock images through subscriptions and on-demand, with subscription plans ranging from 10 to 50, 350 to 750 monthly downloads, and three payment options (monthly, annual, and annual prepaid). Subscriptions offer the best prices for stock images, with prices as low as $0.22 per image. However, because Getty Images does not offer subscriptions, their images are significantly more expensive.

Both agencies offer on-demand content in the form of image packs. Shutterstock offers royalty-free image packs of 1, 5, or 25 images ($9.16-$14.50/image) or Extended licenses ($67.96-$99.50/image). Getty sells content in packs of 1, 5, or 10 based on image/video size, with prices ranging from $4,250 to $4,250.

ShutterstockGetty 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 code25% (Learn more)

Coupons

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

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

Licensing

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
Price$0.22–$14.50$67.96–$99.50$50.00–$499Custom
Type of licenseRoyalty-freeRoyalty-freeRoyalty-freeRights-managed
Perpetual
Worldwide
Unlimited500,000 copies
Non-exclusive
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.

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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).

The Verdict

Shutterstock wins in almost every aspect, namely, number of images, image diversity, pricing, free trial, coupons, additional features, and customer support. Getty has an upper hand in the simplicity of licensing, editorial content, and custom features, which include custom content and rights-managed license.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Methodology

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.

Information provided on Photutorial is for educational purposes only. Your situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, nor do we recommend or advise individuals to buy or sell particular stocks or services. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Photutorial adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners.

About the author

Matic Broz profile image
MATIC BROZ

Matic Broz is a photographer, graphic designer, and stock photographer. For over ten years he's been helping photographers improve their photos and graphic designers find the best images for their designs. His work has been featured by Lifewire and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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