With a collection that includes more than 100 million images, all of which are royalty free, Shutterstock has incredible variety. Whether you are employed by a Fortune 500 company that needs hundreds of quality photographs or a casual user who wants some sparkling imagery for a blog, Shutterstock will have what you need.
Shutterstock was founded in 2003 when Jon Oringer, a programmer and photographer, uploaded about 30,000 images that he had created. Initially, membership was subscription based. The business took off, and Oringer was forced to hire additional photographers. Things only got bigger from there. Shutterstock Footage, which features stock video, appeared in 2006. By 2008, the company removed daily download limits to improve the customer experience. Eventually, Shutterstock would acquire competing and complementary firms like Bigstock and WebDAM. Today, the company's headquarters is still located in New York City, but it offers far more variety and flexibility than it used to.
It's easy to take Shutterstock for a test drive if you'd like to learn more about the service. Creating an account merely requires an email address and a password. Signing up provides immediate access to Shutterstock's many collections. The initial page shows users some of the most popular curated collections currently on the website. Additionally, it's possible to browse through the website's many categories. These include a diverse variety of topics like nature, the arts, animals, interiors, people, business and more.
Clicking on one of the categories returns thousands of images to the user. For instance, the buildings and landmarks category shows the Colosseum in Rome, the Angel of Independence in Mexico City and the skyline of Dubai in the first few images. While there are beautiful photographs of recognizable landmarks, users will immediately see that Shutterstock's collection also holds unexpected variety. They might choose an image of an oil painting on canvas that shows London's streets or a set of illustrated infographics that depict a fictitious city. Results also include simple vector line icons, vector object illustrations and abstract design vectors that can be used on websites and with printed materials.
The people category is similarly robust. Images of single female or male figures, whole families and large groups are available. Users can download photographs of people playing soccer, doing push-ups at a gym or enjoying a picnic. Whether you need executives crowded around a boardroom table or a group of six year-olds enjoying a birthday party, you'll be able to find it at Shutterstock. Like the other categories, the people category includes illustrations, vectors and infographics, so you'll probably find the perfect image for even the most specific of projects.
Most of the Shutterstock categories return tens of thousands of pages of search results. Browsing through them all for the one you want can be bewildering. Fortunately, the website provides you with the ability to filter results so that you can find what you're looking for in the most efficient manner possible. If you're seeking something in the beauty and fashion collection, the default results are those that have been the most popular in recent weeks. If you'd prefer, you can click on the new filter to see the latest images that have been added to that collection. There's also a best match filter, which is especially helpful if you have typed search parameters into the search box.
If you know that you particularly want a photograph as opposed to a vector or illustration, you can opt to see just the pictures. Alternatively, you can go with the default "all images," which gives you results from all three categories. You can also select either the vertical or horizontal orientation for your images.
The "more" filter gives you the most variety. Here, you can choose to exclude certain keywords, select whether or not you want images with people or decide to see either editorial or non-editorial images. This is also where you can choose to perform a safe search, which means that all restricted content will be excluded.
Other Features and Pricing Plans
Shutterstock's collections also include video footage and music. These can be used to accompany a website, presentation or a marketing campaign. With the addition of video and music, any project can appear polished and professional.
Shutterstock features three main pricing plans. The least expensive is the basic package. Users can select between two, five and 25 image packages for a low price. Each of the images must be downloaded within one year of purchasing the plan.
The Professional Plan allows users to pay by the year or the month. There are no daily download limits with this plan. When paying by the year, members can choose to download either 350 or 750 images per month. Paying for one year offers an approximate 20 percent discount when compared with paying by the month.
Shutterstock also offers a team plan in which users are charged by the number of members on the team. This plan includes 750 images per month for one year. Pricing is based on having two, three or four or more members.
With more than 100 million royalty-free images being offered, and thousands more being added every day, it's safe to say that Shutterstock boasts a wonderful collection that could satisfy the needs of most companies both large and small. The depth of the collection ensures that the website has something to appeal to almost every user while the simple filter tool makes searching efficient and convenient.