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Shutterstock Review

Mar 01/16, 6:24   

Shutterstock may be one of the best microstock websites with its collection of over 76,860,881 royalty-free stock high-quality, vetted stock images, video, and music, but not only is it one of the biggest collections, it is one of the best available to photo buyers because of its variety and quality.

The content model for Shutterstock plans and pricing is based on a subscription model that allows buyers looking for multiple images for commercial or editorial use an easy way to purchase photos on a monthly basis instead of per image. Luckily for those on a tighter budget, their sister site Bigstock, offers buyers in need of a single image, or just a few, a better alternative to buy piecemeal.

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The Shutterstock photo collection is the largest of all the microstock agencies, making it one of the most diverse stock collections in the world. With the vast range available on shutterstock.com, there is no reason for a photo buyer to have any difficulty in finding exactly what they’re looking for on a consistent basis because of their 90,000 new images being added on a weekly basis.

File Types Offered

Shutterstock images are available in three different size JPEGs: Small, Medium, and Large; but also have an Enhanced License TIFF option that allows for unlimited runs for merchandising uses, as well as high-viewership commercial uses. The Shutterstock licenses vary depending on the size of the image, the user’s intention whether its commercial or editorial, or even how it will be used commercially. There are also image vectors that allow you to size an image as large as possible, and it also has illustrations, videos, and other media that can be used royalty-free.

How Does Shutter Stock Work? Licensing Options:

The biggest question a photo buyer might have is, “How does Shutterstock work?”, and for reason. Today there seems to be some confusion as to how licensing images, especially royalty-free images. Shutterstock has standard and enhanced licenses available, meaning that most of the standard use are one-off situations that have restrictions, such as images that cannot be used for sales templates unless you pay for a merchandising option. The point is, licensing can be made simple by figuring out exactly what you need it for, and then by choosing the right licensing option, whether you need something a bit more or just a one-time use of an image for your company. It’s important to study Shutterstock’s licensing terms and conditions so that you do not run the images incorrectly, and to also find out when you need to use an enhanced license.

One-Time Purchase of Credits

Shutterstock is a subscription model for all of their 76,860,881 royalty-free stock images available to the buyer, but offers one-time purchases through a subscription plan called “On Demand”. The On Demand is an introductory subscription plan that lets you buy image credits in small packs of 2, 5, and 25 images. While this is still a subscription plan, it allows the buyer the freedom to buy only a few images at a time instead of paying for a monthly plan, which still offer the photo buyer who needs tons of images per month a better value.

Shutterstock Plans

As you can see there are different royalty-free Shutterstock Plans available for the photo buyer, from Basic, Professional, to Team subscription plans. If you do the math, especially for the 750 image downloads per month on the Professional subscription, you get roughly 25 images to download per day. You get a cost savings with the Professional plan if you agree to subscribe for an entire year a $199 a month, as opposed to paying monthly at $249 for the same 750 image downloads per month. With the monthly 750 downloads you are looking at an average of $0.33 per image, but purchasing the yearly plan, you pay only $0.25 per image. So when you commit to a longer subscription plan, you not only get more images for less, you also save a little bit of money.

The best way to figure out what Shutterstock subscription plan works best for you is to figure the demand you have for using royalty-free images, and then break down the math to come up with the plan that suits you best. Fortunately on this site, we break down each micro stock site for your already to make it easier for you to make a better, more informed decision before purchasing from any microstock agency.

Shutterstock Pros:

  • Affordable subscription plans for any budget
  • Millions of high-quality, vetted images for royalty-free usage
  • Well organized collections with excellent search capabilities
  • Enhanced licenses for businesses that need more than just a standard license
  • One of the best collections of royalty-free images in the world
  • Website is easy to navigate, and is built beautifully
  • Very user-friendly interface
  • Offers more than just images, you can download all types of royalty-free multimedia

Shutterstock Cons:

Subscription-only model instead of offering the ability to just buy one image at a time (however, with some smaller on-demand subscriptions, this problem is negated) Many older images get lost in the mix because of the increasing amount of new photos uploaded every week, making it sometimes harder to find exactly what you want

Shutterstock Final Impressions

Shutterstock images are some of the most impressive for a graphic designer, ad agency, and even a small company to have at their disposal, especially if their business relies heavily on using royalty-free stock images monthly, especially if it’s in the hundreds of downloads. The benefits of having a subscription-based model for some might be a turn off, but if you are a serious photo buyer who doesn’t have the time to constantly purchase and invoice thousands of images per month, than the Shutterstock model is perfect for you. But let’s not forget that Shutterstock can work for companies that only need a few images at a time. With their On Demand buying subscriptions, it makes it easy for even the smaller firms to make use of their great pricing structures.

Whether you are a small or big business, Shutterstock can save you quite a bit of money while still offering the best stock images on the internet. But another great secret for you photo buyers is that you can get even more value when you find out about the Shutterstock free download stock images that they release every week on their blog. Yes, that’s right, 2 free royalty-free images. Click here to check out the blog and free images.



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Shutterstock Profile

Number of images
70 millions
Single purchase possibility
No
Single purchase packages/price
-
Subscription purchase possibility
Yes
Subscription purchase packages/price
price period per image
Basic Package  
$49 12 months $9.80
$229 12 months $9.16
Professional Package  
$199/mon 12 months $0.27
$169/mon 12 months $0.48
$249/mon 1 month $0.31
$199/mon 1 month $0.57
Enhanced License  
$199 12 month $99.5
$449 12 months $89.8
$1,699 12 months $67.96
Restrictions of standard license
Maximal times to reproduce/display the content, or an element of the content: 500 000.
Use the content in any derivative goods intended for resale: no.
Duration of license: unlimited.
Extended license price
$67.96-$99.50
Restrictions of extended license
Maximal times to reproduce/display the content, or an element of the content: unlimited.
Use the content in any derivative goods intended for resale: yes.
Duration of license: unlimited.
Supported payment methods
Credit card, Wire Transfer or check
Pro et contra
pro:
+: the largest one among all stock photo agencies;
+: very quick update and growth of the image database;
+: possibility to purchase images for editorial usage.
contra:
-: subscription only (no single purchases available);
-: relatively high rate of the minimal amount of account refilling.
Summary
Sales are available by subscription only, so it's good for those who needs a large number of images regularly. Such clients will appreciate quick offer enlargement, enabling the client to find high-quality pictures everyday.
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