Shutterstock is one of the most popular places to get stock images online, and you can use it in multiple scenarios. But while it’s an incredibly versatile platform, it’s not for everyone. You’ll find plenty of Shutterstock alternatives if you’re trying to get stock images.
You should look at competitors to Shutterstock for several reasons. Maybe you cannot afford to pay for stock images, and in some cases, you might find something better elsewhere. Regardless of your reason, we’re here to help.
In this article, you’ll discover dozens of websites like Shutterstock. We’ll cover a selection of sites offering high-quality images and touch upon sites that let you get video clips and more.
Regardless of the visual art, you’re looking for, this guide is for you. Let’s dive in and learn more about the best alternatives to Shutterstock.
If our Shutterstock alternatives don't sounds like the right tool for you, why not try the real thing?
Introduction: Looking for the best Shutterstock alternatives
Shutterstock had over 250,000 active subscribers in the final quarter of 2021, making it one of the most popular websites for royalty-free stock images. The company made over $70 million in revenue from these subscribers during that period.
However, you can go to other places if you want to find content to supplement your creative projects.
When we put together this guide of Shutterstock competitors, we wanted to look at things from multiple angles. Sure, photos are probably the main reason you’ve heard of Shutterstock – but that’s not all the company does.
You’ll find videos, music, sound effects, and more on its website. Shutterstock also has a tool that lets you plan when to publish your content on different platforms.
Another thing worth looking at when choosing your stock website is the quality of images. Unfortunately, not all pictures will meet your needs – and with aesthetics more crucial than ever, you should make sure that you pick the best possible option within your niche.
To make things easier to read if you’re in a hurry, you can also learn about the pros and cons of each service we outline. We’ll add these close to the end of each summary.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the central part of the article.
Is there a better alternative to Shutterstock?
Now that you know a little more about our selection process for this article, let’s look at the best alternatives to Shutterstock. Below, you’ll find 13 sites like Shutterstock – allowing you to choose whichever fits your needs the best. Note that these are not in any particular order.
Adobe Stock is arguably the best alternative to Shutterstock. The creative software giant Adobe operates the website, and it has existed since 2015.
When searching for royalty-free stock images with Adobe Stock, you’ll find over 280 million pictures to choose from – meaning that you shouldn’t have any issues finding something within your niche.
While you’ll find plenty of photos on Adobe Stock, the service offers a lot more than that. If you’re into graphic design (side note: You should check out our article about gifts for graphic designers), you can choose from numerous vector graphics to include in your work.
Adobe Stock also has several kinds of videos, including 4K footage. You can pick ordinary shots, video loops, and templates for motion graphics.
Although you can pay for a lot of the visuals on Adobe Stock, you’ll also find a selection of free ones. You can either buy a certain number of credits at a fixed price or pick a paid subscription if that fits your needs better.
- Multiple pricing options are available
- You'll find a huge library of stock images
- Plenty of other assets available, such as audio
- The pricing models can get a little confusing
- Buying credits can get quite expensive if you're a regular user
Bigstock is another popular paid alternative to Shutterstock. But while Adobe Stock also caters to graphic designers much more, BigStock primarily revolves around photo and video.
The service has a pretty large library of images, with around 115 million available to users at the time of writing in January 2023.
Bigstock’s image library covers numerous genres, including travel and fitness.
On top of that, you can also pick from numerous videos of high quality – which are available in both standard and high definition. Moreover, while its offerings for graphic designers aren’t on the same level as Adobe Stock, you will still find vectors available.
You can use Bigstock in multiple languages, including English, German, Spanish, and Norwegian. If you need editorial images, Bigstock is a better option than Adobe Stock.
- An extensive library of images, including numerous that are good for editorial pieces
- Straightforward pricing
- You can get a free trial when you sign up
- Some people might not like the image quality
- Not a great suite of options for graphic designers
iStock is run by Getty Images, which some could argue is the most famous image website in the world. We’ll talk more about Getty Images later in this article, but let’s focus entirely on iStock for now. The website launched in 2000, before Getty purchased it six years later.
On iStock, you will find around 148 million photos to choose from.
On top of that, you can also choose from numerous videos – and you can select up to 4K in terms of quality. iStock makes it easy to choose which videos to use in your projects, with multiple genres available. These include sustainability, business, and lifestyle.
Of course, a lot of content is published in vertical format these days. If you want to do work for Instagram Stories, Reels, and so on, you’ll find plenty of images and videos in this format.
You can also use iStock to create mood boards if you’re currently in the research phase.
- High-quality images and videos
- A wide selection of vertical and horizontal content is available
- Different pricing options are available
- iStock has a smaller selection of images to choose from than Shutterstock
Envato Elements is a superb starting point if you’re looking for beautiful images to help you achieve your creative goals. The company has been around for a while, initially launching in 2006.
It’s less famous than the likes of Adobe Stock, but it’s still a viable alternative to Shutterstock.
One nice thing about using Envato Elements is that you can pay for a monthly subscription and download as many assets as you want. You’ll find more than 12 million to choose from, which – while not as big as some of the others on this list – is still pretty sizable for many people.
The majority of assets you’ll find on Envato Elements are photos, with over seven million of these available. However, you can also discover royalty-free music, 3D illustrations, fonts, graphic templates, and more.
- A diverse range of visuals is available
- You can download and use as many assets as you want
- Monthly subscriptions are affordable
- The selection of visuals is limited compared to many of the alternatives on this list
Another of the best alternatives to Shutterstock is Creative Market. While its selection of images is pretty tiny compared to the others we’ve mentioned, you will benefit from excellent quality – making this website worth looking at.
When using the Creative Market website, you can choose from images within several categories. These include animals, adventures, and architecture. Besides photos, you can also choose from numerous web themes – such as magazines and portfolios.
Like many of the other stock image sites we’ve discussed, you can choose from numerous 3D visuals on the Creative Market site. Moreover, you’ll find a selection of complimentary assets.
The platform’s pricing depends on how many credits you’d like to have access to per month.
- Beautiful visuals
- Images in numerous genres
- Non-complicated pricing
- A smaller selection of visual assets than many of the others on this list
- The credit limits might be annoying for some users
If you’re looking for non-fussy stock images that you can use in various scenarios, 123RF is well worth looking at.
The service has over 180 million images in its catalog, and these are spread across multiple categories – including sport, nature, and food. In addition to photos, you will find several vectors to choose from if you’re into graphic design.
123RF also has audio to help you make more effective videos and podcasts spanning numerous genres. If you need a few basic ones, you’ll also find a small selection of free audio.
You can browse the website in several languages, including English, Hungarian, and Korean. Subscription prices are determined by how many images you download.
- You'll find lots of images on the 123RF website
- Multiple visual assets are available
- Use the service in multiple languages
- The images can feel a little generic
- The per-image pricing model might not be suitable for some users
Is there a free alternative to Shutterstock? The answer is yes; you’ll find plenty of other options. The best of those is arguably Unsplash, which has grown significantly since it first launched in 2013.
Unsplash is one of the best Shutterstock alternatives for finding high-quality images in multiple genres. You can choose beautiful visuals for various destinations worldwide, many of which have been taken by ordinary photographers uploading their content to the platform.
In addition, you might find Unsplash useful if you’re looking for specific brands – but you’re not ready to pay what you would on premium stock websites.
In addition to its selection of free images, you can also use Unsplash+. This is the premium version of the service, and you’ll gain access to even more royalty-free captures that will take your content game to the next level.
- Plenty of free images are available without needing to upgrade to a paid plan
- Unsplash+ does not cost a huge amount of money
- Images in multiple genres
- Not the best place to go if you want to use a wider variety of media
We touched upon Getty Images earlier in this article on Shutterstock alternatives, and we will now go into the platform in a little more detail. Getty Images has been around since 1995, making it one of the oldest stock photography websites in the world.
It’s the go-to for high-quality photos for much of the journalism industry, and you’ll see some of the best editorial shots uploaded to the website.
Getty Images has well over 400 million visuals that you can choose from. These include the latest sporting events like the 2022 World Cup Final. On top of that, you’ll see many images related to important news stories, allowing you to add these to your articles if you need them.
In addition to images, you can also find plenty of videos available for downloading on Getty Images. You can choose your pricing plan based on multiple factors, such as the resolution of the pictures you’d like to download and use.
- The best selection of editorial images on the web
- Multiple events are covered on Getty Images
- High-quality photos and videos
- Not the best option if you're looking for non-editorial photos
- Pricing options are expensive for the average user
As we come toward the end of our list of the best Shutterstock alternatives, let’s look at Design Cuts. As you might have guessed from the name, this website is geared more toward graphic designers – and you’ll find plenty of features available to help you make the most of your designs.
Design Cuts offers multiple illustrations for you to download, infographics, and much more. You can pick from fonts, logos, and tools from social media – in addition to what we previously mentioned.
Rather than getting a paid subscription, you can buy items as a one-off. So, it works more like a marketplace than anything else.
- Lots of useful templates and features for graphic designers
- Buying each individual item is affordable
- Expand your skills by trying different courses
- No monthly subscription is available
If you’ve ever tried to design your own graphics, you’ll have heard of Canva. This is one of the most user-friendly tools for creating quick banners, logos, and more. And to help you make these, you will find a wide range of visual assets.
In addition to stock images in Canva, you can also pick from videos and other elements – such as illustrations. You can find these easily within Canva’s app; you only need to search for the terms you’d like to see.
If you upgrade to Canva Pro, you’ll get more images and videos available. However, for simple adjustments, the free plan will be more than good enough for many people.
- High-quality visuals available
- Search for what you need within the app
- No subscription is required for basic images
- Some images will require a paid subscription
- Some users might feel like the selection of elements isn't enough
One of the best free alternatives to Shutterstock is Pixabay, and you might have heard of it before if you’ve ever needed a cover image for your blog post or something similar. The platform launched in 2010 and has since become relatively well-established within the online media space.
Pixabay has more than 2.5 million visuals available to download from its library. You can find pictures in multiple genres, along with vectors, videos, and illustrations. When picking which ones you’d like to download, you can choose which dimensions you’d like to pick.
In addition to visual assets, you can also download music with Pixabay.
- Free to use
- Download your images in different dimensions
- A reasonable selection of visuals available for download
- The image quality isn't as good as some of the other sites on our list
- Some of the photos aren't as up-to-date as you'll find on the likes of Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a paid alternative to Shutterstock, Deposit Photos is worth taking a look at. You can pick from numerous editorial images, including pictures from countless political events. Moreover, you’ll find images of celebrities and within various other categories.
The website also has a wide selection of videos, including many that you can download in 4K. On top of that, you’ll find sound effects and illustrations. Besides getting a paid subscription, you can also pick from free images.
- Use and download editorial images at a lower price than Getty Images
- 4K videos available
- Multiple image-sharing options are available
- Pricing is based on image quotas
The final Shutterstock alternative we’re going to look at today is Dreamstime.
With over 200 million stock images, this is another of the largest databases for royalty-free pictures on the web. You can choose from editorial photos covering recent events and pictures that you can use in a broader range of scenarios.
When using Dreamstime, you’ll also find access to videos and illustrations. Moreover, you can choose from a selection of free images to get started; if you decide that you like these, you can always start to use the more premium ones.
- Lots of editorial and creative images are available
- Multiple categories covered
- Browse historical images
- Subscriptions are determined by the number of images you'd like to download
Does this mean that Shutterstock isn’t worth using?
The Shutterstock alternatives we’ve covered in this article are all worth looking at, and you will find plenty of great visuals to use if you pick from these. But at the same time, it’s worth noting that Shutterstock is incredibly popular for a reason.
Regardless of your goal, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for with this platform.
Shutterstock has high-quality images, illustrations, and videos – plus several other things you can download. Moreover, you can choose your subscription based on the types of media that you’re going to use – giving you something a little more optimized for your needs.
Using Shutterstock has many other advantages, such as an AI image generator.
Frequently asked questions
Now that we’ve gone through the best Shutterstock alternatives, let’s look at a selection of frequently asked questions.
What are the best free alternatives to Shutterstock?
Unsplash is arguably the best free alternative to Shutterstock, but Pixabay is also worth looking at. In some cases, Pexels is a pretty handy website as well.
What is the best stock photography agency?
The best stock photography agency depends mainly on your individual needs. However, you’ll do well to find something better than Getty Images if you’re looking for editorial photos. For creative images, Shutterstock and Unsplash are pretty good.
Can I pay annually instead of monthly with these Shutterstock alternatives?
Yes – many of the websites we’ve mentioned allow you to pay annually instead of monthly. If you do, you will often receive a discount on your subscription price. If that’s what you’re looking for, go to the Pricing section of whichever website you choose.
If our Shutterstock alternatives don't sounds like the right tool for you, why not try the real thing?
All of the best alternatives to Shutterstock
As you can see from this article, you’ll find plenty of Shutterstock alternatives to choose from. Many of them, such as Getty Images, will require you to purchase a subscription or pay for each photo you download.
However, you will also discover a wide selection of free Shutterstock alternatives – such as Unsplash.
When looking at stock image websites, it’s worth exploring a wider selection of them. Each caters to different needs, and you may find getting what you’re looking for challenging. Having read this guide, you should be able to make a better decision.
Since many stock image websites offer free trials, consider using these. Then, you can finetune what you’re looking for.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.