Shutterstock VS iStock: Which Is The Best Image Downloader Site?

Needless to say, but Shutterstock & iStock (formerly known as iStock Photo) are two biggest names in the stock photography industry since their dawn in the early 2000s. They both are chosen correspondingly by digital agencies and professionals to fulfill their imagery needs & requirements. Both the websites have their own reputation, quality of service and pricing models. Apart from being the best place to obtain royalty-free images, Shutterstock & Getty are an amazing spot for selling stock images as well.

So, if you have to decide between the two which one would you choose? Read further to get a detailed comparison between two Best Free Photo Download Websites!

Shutterstock VS iStock

Clash of Stock Photo Titans – Shutterstock VS iStock

Before getting started, it would be a great idea to know the basics of Stock Photography, so that you purchase only the type which is best for your project!

Here are the most common Stock Photo Usage Types you should be familiar with:

  • Public Domain – These stock images are free to use & requires no license to be used for personal or commercial use.
  • Royalty-Free – In some cases, royalty-free images can be free, or you need to have a copyright license to use the photo without restrictions after paying a one-time fee.
  • Rights-Managed – Need to have a copyright license to buy a photo for a specific, one-time use. An additional license needs to be purchased if want to use the image multiple times.

Overview – Shutterstock

Shutterstock logo

Shutterstock is arguably the king in providing high-resolution images, especially HD stock photos for large format designs (such as billboards and other print media). It’s one of the leading stock photo companies with the largest database of editorial, celebrity photos and more. With Shutterstock’s huge content library of 277 Million images, illustrations, vectors, videos, and audio files, you won’t go without selecting something.

The stock photo agency offers a variety of subscription plans available for different types of users. It has an enormous international customer base, from bloggers, small businesses to professional photographers, Shutterstock captivates each segment. Shutterstock’s media can be purchased on a subscription basis & most people might not know but with each subscription, a user gets an Editor tool for quick photo customizations including cropping & adding filters.

Overview – iStock By Getty Images

iStock By Getty Images

iStock is another leading global stock media file provider, the website is a hub for more than 75 million HD quality photos, music, and videos. With 18 years in the industry & backed by the prestigious Getty Images agency (a pioneer in selling stock images online) iStock today sells images on demand with credit packs (proprietary currency unit used by stock photography websites to sell images) & subscriptions.

The stock image giant is known for its huge library of HD pictures & illustrations that are comprised under two sections. Essentials: This collection holds budget-friendly, high-resolution photos for everyday needs. Signature: It has higher-priced photographs that have greater commercial potential & are exclusive to iStock.

Shutterstock VS iStock: Content Library

Shutterstock is suitable for someone who loves variety, while iStock for individuals who constantly looks for exclusive content!

Has the largest library, offering more than 277 Million stock items, while new media added every day. Comparatively has less database of stock media.
Looking for varieties? Shutterstock is the better place! Need exclusive content? Check iStock for finding niche category photos.
Shutterstock’s media can be purchased from multiple microstock sites. iStock has a curated high-end collection that is only available at their site.
Great Shutterstock Contributor Dashboard. Gives incredible insights into content performance, from real-time sales & earnings to top performing content. It provides lots of information to analyze what to shoot & what to submit. Doesn’t provide a decent contributor dashboard. You can’t certainly monitor the real-time performance of your submissions.
Higher commission percentage. Offers non-exclusive license to avail more commission rate. And, since you can’t submit the same photo to other places, hence your chances to get more money remains little.

How To Become Shutterstock Contributor?

Becoming a Shutterstock Contributor is super-easy beneficial. Every time your photo is downloaded by a user from the platform, you’ll make money. How much?  That depends on the subscription that was used for each download.

If you think you have an excellent collection of photos, then how about putting them on Shutterstock and make lots of money out of it?  To become a Shutterstock Contributor, follow the process below:

  1. Register yourself at (It’s a dedicated website for contributors).
  2. To complete the registration process, provide some basic personal information and verify the email address. You might also need to submit a digital copy of your ID to protect the intellectual properties of contributors & speed up payments.
  3. That’s all! As soon as you press the ‘Next’ button, your free Shutterstock Contributor account will be created & you’ll be presented with the Contributor’s Dashboard.

Start submitting your work. It will be first reviewed by the team of experts. As soon as your first piece gets approved, your account will become fully active.

Shutterstock VS iStock: Image Sizes

While Shutterstock offers all their photos in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Xtra-Large, iStock content varies. Their media files would either be available in S-M or maybe in M-L. More the dpi > better the viewing experience!

Small Size – 300 dpi XS, S – 72 dpi
Medium – 300 dpi Medium – 300 dpi
Large – 300 dpi Large – 300 dpi
Xtra-Large – 300 dpi Xtra-Large, XL- 300 dpi

Shutterstock VS iStock: Pricing Model

Both Shutterstock & iStock offers variety of pricing models. Here are the basic metrics:

2 Images* – $29  1 Credit* – $12 (1 image can cost from 1-28 credits) (Signature collection starts from 3 credits/image)
Yearly Subscriptions:

50 Images/month – $99

350 Images/month – $168

750 Images/month – $202

Yearly Subscriptions: (Access to both Essential & Signature Collections)

50 Images/month – $199

100 images/month – $259

750 images/month -$333

More Images: Cheaper price per image. You can rollover unused downloads to next month.

Depending on the amount of media collection you tackle on your system. There’s a high probability that all of them get mixed up & ultimately create a lot of confusion when you’re looking for a particular file. Hence, it’s definitely worthwhile to use a dedicated Photo Organizer Tool to manage & optimize your photo collection for more productivity.

Meet – Photo Organizer For Windows

Photo Organizer is a one-stop solution to neatly arrange and optimize your photo collection in just a few clicks. You can also use the software to recover a huge amount of space by removing unnecessary duplicate photos. To get started with Photo Organizer, all you have to do is download the software > Scan entire system or specific folders. Once scanned, it will allow you to arrange your photos in subfolders based on Date, Time and Camera Folder. You can also use this tool to rename multiple pictures in a single click, which makes it the go-tool for any photography enthusiast.

Photo Organizer

Shutterstock VS iStock – Who Wins? You Decide!

Both the image downloader websites have become a blessing for designers, bloggers, and marketers. One can undoubtedly rely on any of the sites for downloading free images for commercial use.

Therefore, no matter what type of content you’re searching for or what your spending preferences are, both the stock photo agencies have suitable stuff to fulfill your requirements.

So, which one you’ll explore first?

Drop us your preferred stock photos selling option in the comment section below!

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