What Are Some Alternative Sites to Shutterstock?

By Jack SteinLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 7:19:20 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: @splitshire/Twitter

In the past, it may have been difficult to find stock images for your projects, but it has transitioned into a relatively simple task these days, thanks to image services like Shutterstock. In fact, Shutterstock is one of the most renowned stock photo websites in the marketplace today. The website's history, reputation, quality of service and competitive prices make it a favorite choice for many users across the globe.

However, those monthly rates — $29 to download and use 10 photos — may be competitive with other paid sites, but it’s still a pretty steep price to pay for a few photos, and not everyone can afford that rate. Thankfully, some websites allow you to download royalty-free images and use them at no charge. Let’s take a look at some of the best free and paid Shutterstock alternatives you can try out in the future.

Adobe Stock

If you already use Adobe image editing applications like Photoshop and Illustrator, then the Adobe Stock service could be an ideal Shutterstock alternative for you. It has millions of royalty-free assets like images, vector illustrations, graphic templates and video clips to choose from and fully integrates into the Adobe Creative Cloud platform. Adobe Stock plans start at $29.99 per month for access to up to 750 downloads. You can also download various resolutions at no extra cost. This saves you the time and hassle of editing images when you need smaller file sizes, and lower resolution images are sufficient.

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Photo Courtesy: @adobestock/Twitter


iStock, formerly known as iStockPhoto, was founded in 2000 and is now a subsidiary of Getty Images. The site is most renowned for its highly curated library, which hosts millions of high-resolution images. The images are divided into two main categories: Essentials (budget, non-exclusive content) and Signature (high value, exclusive files).

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Photo Courtesy: @istock/Twitter

Additionally, both categories are packed with royalty-free vector graphics, photos, videos and audio libraries. iStock offers various affordable plans and has one of the lowest costs per image, making it an ideal Shutterstock alternative.



Pixabay is powered by an active community of creatives who share copyright-free images, videos, vector graphics and illustrations. These images are released for use under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing, making them safe to use either personally or commercially without giving credit to the artist — although it’s certainly polite to do so — or asking for their permission. Apart from this remarkable feature that makes it a huge money-saver, Pixabay also has a user-friendly interface that makes it one of the best free Shutterstock alternatives in the marketplace today.

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Photo Courtesy: @pixabay/Twitter


With more than 200,000 stock images, the Unsplash collection might come up a bit short on quantity compared to what Shutterstock offers, but the site overshadows Shutterstock in terms of high-resolution photos. Unsplash is a community website with more than 150,000 contributors sharing hundreds of new photos each day, yet it has a quick load time. Apart from having distinctly professional characteristics in the imagery, Unsplash images are organized into multiple categories that allow you to find your desired images easily.

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Photo Courtesy: @unsplash/Twitter


All Pexels images can be used for both personal and commercial purposes due to Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing. The images are professionally captured, and the final result is high-quality imagery that can perk up any project. Apart from people-centric photos, Pexels also incorporates a fairly large number of outdoor photos, such as landscapes, buildings and crowds.

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Photo Courtesy: @pexels/Twitter


SplitShire is another great Shutterstock alternative that puts quality above quantity. Unlike other stock photo websites, all the Splitshire photos are uploaded by Daniel Nanescu, a graphic designer and the owner of the website. You can share the different images on various social media platforms or use them on your work projects. They are all available free of charge for both personal and commercial use.

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Photo Courtesy: @splitshire/Twitter


With more than 335 million free stock photos, Foter certainly deserves a mention as an ideal Shutterstock alternative. Of the site’s photos, 220 million can be used for commercial purposes, but you are required to give credit to the photographer. All Foter images have an embedded code used to create web pages with HTML. Additionally, Foter's Lightbox tool allows you to compile your favorite photos from the website. Unlike Shutterstock, Foter provides several details about the photo like size, attribution, quality and type of license when you click your preferred photo.

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Photo Courtesy: Sean Gallup/Getty Images