5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

Shutterstock is one of the best and most popular stock photo websites around. Their history, reputation, quality of service, and affordable prices in royalty free stock images make them a favorite for many buyers across the world. But if their offers don’t adjust to what you need, or if you simply are the kind who likes to have options, you’ll love to learn about these great Shutterstock alternatives to buy cheap Royalty-free images online. So let's answer the question, what is the best of them?

It's not easy to find the best alternative to Shutterstock, but we are certain this quick list of stock agencies like Shutterstock and offers will help you find the one which is best for you: If you are on a restricted budget? 99club by Stock Photo Secrets Shop is a great deal. If you need everyday images? iStock is good and even cheaper with their subscriptions. If you are a Creative Cloud user? Go with Adobe Stock and their full integration in Photoshop and Co. If you need lots of images? Low Volume by Stock Photo Secrets Shop can be the best for you. We collected and compared the best alternatives to Shutterstock in the form of offers compared to the former in price, number of images, usage rights, image resolution, and quality of service below. And picked only the cream of the top, as all these are included in our list of the Best Stock Photo Agencies!

Discover them below!

Top Alternatives to Shutterstock

But wait for a second …

Shutterstock has an awesome deal for you, with the exclusive, limited-time Shutterstock Coupon Code you can save up to 15% on your purchase of high quality images! This is a super special offer valid for a limited time only. And it applies to everything on Shutterstock including their massive collection of 406+ million royalty free images! Buy stock images, royalty free vector graphics, stock videos, and stock music tracks at a cut-price. The coupon applies to image packs and subscriptions too. Hurry up!

Buy any image product (image packs or subscription) with a 15% discount.    

And if you're looking for the best free Shutterstock alternative, good news: we bring you the exclusive Shutterstock Free Trial, which gives you 10 free Shutterstock images for one month, making it the best free-of-charge alternative of all!

Try Shutterstock for 1 Month and get 10 Images for Free! Cancel anytime!

Even better: The best Shutterstock alternatives we list below also come with exclusive free trials and freebies, so they are also some of the best free Shutterstock alternatives you'll find!

Note: We do not recommend using pictures from a free photo site or photo-sharing community website, especially for marketing purposes, since those images are often not policed or verified for copyright and model releases. If you can't afford to spend money on stock imagery, the best free Shutterstock alternatives will always be those special free downloads offered by reputable stock media agencies, often the same images offered on their premium version, but for free. These are royalty free and legally verified, cleared for commercial use.

The Best Shutterstock Alternatives Compared

Here are some quick details to better understand this comparative board:

  • Offers listed are high volume stock photo subscriptions: this is Shutterstock’s flagship product since their early days, and we focused our alternatives on it
  • The comparison highlights price per image: we feel that knowing how much you’re paying per download in royalty-free images really helps to see the value in these offers
  • The offer’s download cap is pointed: all Shutterstock subscriptions have monthly download limits, but the alternatives include annual and monthly caps. We think it’s useful to know how restrictive or not are the offers from each microstock agency

Stock Agency


Maximum Downloads


per Image 





99club by sps > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

1 (per day)

200 (per day)



1 year

SPS Low Volume Landing Page > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

1 (per day)

600 (per day)



1 year

istock logo square e1585945491345 > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

1 (per day)

750 (per day)



1 year

adobe stock logo 1 > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

1 (per day)

750 (per day)



1 year

Photocase1 3 e1570015207587 > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

1 (per day)

As many as your credits allow



no subscription

For more details on each offer, read our list below or check out this list of stock photo sites.

Best 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Stock Agencies

#1 Exclusive: 99club – The Perfect Shutterstock Alternative


The Stock Photo Secrets Shop is a microstock agency designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. Our offers are thought to meet their needs in terms of service and budget, and no one does it better than our star product: our 99club plan gives you 200 XXL royalty-free high-quality stock images for one year for just $99, which means $0,49 per download! Now that's low cost images! In our opinion, it's the best Shutterstock alternative) if you like their low prices per download but can’t work with their high volume monthly plans.

And the price is not the only thing to love about this plan. Have a look at what you get with your 99club membership:

  • Flexible subscription with annual download cap: download from 1 and up to 200 images whenever you want during one year
  • Choose from a collection of over 7 million stunning images: including high-resolution photos, vectors, and fonts
  • Up to 100,000 new files added monthly: what you don’t find in the library today, you might find it tomorrow
  • Download in up to XXL size at no added cost: valid for jpg image, vector files, and fonts
  • Royalty-free license with perpetual use: buy photos today, use them FOREVER for both personal and commercial purposes
  • Bonus discounts in Extended Licenses and Video Footage packs
  • Auto-renew option: lock the low price of this deal for as long as it’s available
  • Additional image packs at discounted rates – For when you run out of downloads and need more.

It’s easy to see why 99club is the best and most fitting Shutterstock alternative for those on a restricted budget: not only it is as cheap as the former, but also more flexible, with lots of benefits, and from a reliable agency backed by industry professionals. In its library, you'll find anything from people centric photos to landscapes and outdoor images. What’s more to ask?

Want to learn more? Read our 99club review.

Ready to buy? Get your 99club membership right here!

# 2 iStock – Great in Price and Curation

www.istockphoto.com homepage

iStock (previously known as iStockphoto and part of Getty Images) is one of the oldest and most renowned stock photography agencies, famous for its highly curated library, which hosts millions and millions of high-resolution images divided into two main collections: Essentials (budget, non-exclusive content) and Signature (high value, stunning images captured by talented artists which are exclusive images too). Both collections have high-resolution photos and vector graphics. Additionally, they offer stock videos and audio libraries.

There are subscription plans with access to Essentials only, which are far more affordable, and subscriptions like Shutterstock with access to the entire library including Signature that, while a bit more expensive, are still fairly affordable and add a lot of value with the content you will not find elsewhere. See all details about iStock pricing here. So what do you get with an iStock subscription?

  • Downloads per month – from 10 to 750
  • Subscription types – Monthly and yearly – two subscription types, iStock Essentials (basic content and non-exclusive files) and iStock Signature (for exclusive content plus non-exclusive as well).
  • Price Range – From $29 to $249 monthly
  • Image files – The image library has royalty-free photos and vectors
  • Image size – Most files available up to high resolution at no added cost
  • License type – Royalty-free enabling commercial and personal use in websites, prints, ads, social media, and more creative projects

What makes iStock such a great Shutterstock alternative? Just like the latter, they offer stock photo subscriptions up to 750 downloads per month, but having two image categories and pricing tiers, you have a lot more options in terms of price, according to what kind of photos you need, and some are even cheaper than Shutterstock! See our comparison of iStock vs Shutterstock! If you like this stock image agency, you might it useful to discover some iStock Photos Alternatives as well!

But here comes the great news: For a limited time, we have a great, exclusive iStock Promo Code that gives you 15% off on EVERYTHING! That's right: anything you want to download from their site, at a cut price! Grab our iStock Promo Code now, it's only valid for a limited time!

Another great option is to invest in large credit packs. These let you manually downloading images on demand, at your own pace, and without expiration dates. Credits are more expensive than subscriptions, but with our exclusive iStock discount for large credit packs, you can get packs from 18 credits and up with a 25% off!

iStockphoto Infos:

Don't waste time, and buy your choice of stock videos and stock images at iStock: 15% discount on everything: subscriptions and image packs.
Get an exclusive 25% discount on your purchase of large credit packs at iStock! This discount applies to packs from 18 credits and up, only.
BONUS: iStock as a Free Alternative to Shutterstock
If you are after a Shutterstock alternative where you don’t have to pay for photos, you might be surprised to learn iStock is a good choice: They offer free weekly files on their homepage, which includes one free photo, one free illustration, and one free video every week. Sure this is a very limited offer, but it’s so good:

  • Free stock images have been reviewed by iStock’s professional team
  • They’re Royalty-Free and cleared for all appropriate rights and permits – much better than Creative Commons licenses which are risky
  • They’re completely free

To access these free image giveaways, all you need is to sign up for free at iStock and you’ll be able to download them – you’re not required to purchase anything!

#3 Adobe Stock – A Alternative for Creative Cloud Members

adobe stock logo 1 > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

Adobe Stock is a stock photo service property of Adobe and built on the base of the Fotolia stock photo agency library. It’s most notable feature is that it is fully integrated into the Adobe Creative Cloud platform, enabling you to access, surf, test edit, and license images from its collection directly within your favorite Creative Cloud apps. They offer various subscription plans with access to a collection of over 60 million royalty-free photos and vector illustrations. They also have graphic templates, 3D models, video clips, and more.

Their subscriptions cover a wide range of volume tiers and there are prices for everyone. You can choose between month-to-month or yearly options too. Here’s what you can get:

  • Downloads per month – 10 up to 750
  • Subscription type – monthly or annually
  • Price range – $29,99 to $249,99
  • Image files – Royalty-free photos and vector graphics
  • Image size – High quality images of all sizes up to high resolution at no added cost
  • License type – Royalty-Free for commercial and personal use
  • Bonus: Fully Integrated into Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and many more Creative Cloud Software

Adobe Stock is a cool alternative to Shutterstock if you work with Creative Cloud tools in your design process. This service not only has subscriptions like Shutterstock, and enough photos for you to have plenty to choose from, but more importantly adds value with its full integration with Creative Cloud that simplifies your design workflow greatly. So if you like to work with Illustrator CC and similar, this is definitely a Shutterstock alternative worth exploring! See our full comparative analysis of Shutterstock vs Adobe Stock!

Adobe Stock Infos

Get 10 Adobe Stock standard assets with your free trial. Cancel risk-free within the first month.
BONUS: Adobe Stock as a Free Shutterstock Alternative
What happens if you can’t factor stock images into your budget so you need a free-of-charge alternative to Shutterstock? Well, Adobe Stock can help you here too, as they have a great Monthly Free Trial running! This is a first month free for a yearly plan, but you can cancel risk-free during the first month and it’ll be totally free! You get:

  • 10 or 40 free images for 30 days
  • All high-quality photos from their main collection
  • Under royalty-free license – avoid the legal risks of using creative commons images!
  • Just sign up for the 10 or 40 downloads a month yearly plans (which costs $29,99 and $79,99 per month respectively) and you will get your first month free!

To get your free trial started, all you must do is click on this Adobe Stock Free Trial, go to Adobe Stock and select the plan you want. Complete the registration and enter your payment details (you won’t be charged for the first month) and you’re done!

#4 Photocase – Great for Artistic Stock Photos


Photocase is a Berlin-based stock photo agency offering artistic stock photography from passionate photographers at very affordable prices. Their highly curated library is full of premium stock images with great artistic value and the authentic, modern aesthetics that are trending in the market. With so many years in business, this is a very reliable and professional service where you will find the kind of unique pictures no other agency provides.

They do not work with subscriptions, but they do offer convenient credit packs for you to save in volume purchases instead of paying as you go. Their images are priced according to size, from 5 to 15 credits, and its final price will depend on the credit pack you buy. Credit packs start at $55 for 25 credits, all the way up to $1,520 for 1000 credits, which saves you a whopping 45% in the final price. Here are the details:

  • Downloads per month – As many as your credits let you buy (credits never expire)
  • Subscription type – On-demand (no subscription)
  • Price range – between $7,60 and $33
  • Image files – Royalty-free photographs of various resolutions
  • Image size – Small, Medium, and Large priced accordingly
  • License type – Royalty-Free for commercial and personal use, including usage in social media

Photocase is a fantastic alternative if what you are looking for are unique stock photos, the kind of images you rarely find in Shutterstock’s catalog. If you follow more artsy and edgy aesthetics but you like low-priced images, this is the perfect alternative for you!

What's even better: As a StockPhotoSecrets reader, you can get more Photocase photos cheaper thanks to our exclusive Photocase Coupon Code with 5 FREE credits + 10% Off! A deal not to be missed.

Photocase Infos:

Get 5 FREE Credits and 10% OFF on your first purchase with Photocase.

#5 Low Volume – an Alternative to Shutterstock Bigger Download Plans


Being designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, Stock Photo Secrets Shop has actually another great alternative to Shutterstock: our Low Volume plan. This is a limited-time and exclusive offer which gives you 600 XXL royalty-free stock photos for only $199 a year! That's only $0.33 per photo!

This deal gives you 3x more downloads than our 99club for only a fraction of the price. And you can choose from a pool of over 5 million images with up to 100,000 new ones added every month! Here’s all that you need to know:

  • Downloads per month – Up to 600 (use them whenever within one year)
  • Subscription type – Yearly
  • Price range – $199
  • Image files – Royalty-free photos, vectors, and fonts
  • Image size – Up to XXL for the same price
  • License type – Royalty-Free for commercial and personal use: web, marketing, advertising, social media, personal projects, and more
  • Bonus discounts on additional products

Low Volume is a remarkable Shutterstock alternative for any business needing hundreds of images for marketing and promotional efforts, but working with a tight budget. Sure Shutterstock gives you up to 9000 images in a year, but they charge you as much as $199 per month, and if you don’t use such a huge amount of downloads, you’re actually losing money.

Our Low Volume deal gives you a considerable amount of photos with a flexible yearly cap to download them, for a much lower, one-time fee. Notice as well that Shutterstock has a 600 a year subscription, but limits it to 50 downloads per month and charges $1188 ($99 monthly) for it. It’s a no-brainer Low Volume is a better option!

If you want to seize this deal, do it quickly! It’s a limited-time offer and won’t be available for long!

Low Volume Offer as a Shutterstock Alternative

BONUS: Canva Pro – The Alternative with Unlimited Downloads

Canva e1588944252271 > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

Canva is a very popular web-based and user-friendly graphic design tool. But what you may not know is that they integrate a very big catalog of 60 million high-quality stock photos and digital assets into their subscription-based service, Canva Pro, that also offers graphic templates, publishing and brand kit tools, and many other functions that simplify visual content creation.

The Canva Pro subscription‘s main benefit is that it comes with unlimited downloads, something Shutterstock does not offer, and access to a very simple yet powerful image editor, one that served as inspiration for Shutterstock Editor as well. Here is the extent of the offer:

  • Downloads per month – UNLIMITED – You can download as many images as you wish at no added cost!
  • Subscription type – Monthly or annual (the latter is billed upfront)
  • Price range – $9.95 per month (with annual plan) – $13.95 per month (monthly plan)
  • Image file – Royalty-free photos, illustrations, templates, and more
  • Image size – All sizes up to HD at no added cost
  • License type – Royalty-Free for commercial use – Single-Use and Multi-Use licenses available
  • Free Monthly Trial to test the service for free

Canva Pro is a very complete solution for small businesses, especially for those people that can't hire a graphic designer to do their visuals, but also aren't really savvy enough to use complex image editing tools. Best of all is it's very affordable.

And more good news! You can now try Canva Pro for free for 45 days, thanks to our Canva Free Trial! Just click on the banner below and unlock one month of Canva Pro totally free!

Test Canva Pro for free for 45 days. Full access to Canva Pro features for 15 days extra than the regular trial offered on Canva's website! Cancel ...
Start Free Trial
36 days left

Canva Pro as a Shutterstock Alternative

Let’s talk briefly about Shutterstock – after all, there wouldn’t be a need for Shutterstock alternatives if there was no Shutterstock, right?

shutterstock logo new s > 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared which will surprise you

This is a stock photo agency under the microstock model: they sell high-resolution images (this means photography and vector illustrations) online under a Royalty-free license, at very low prices with a minimum payment requirement. They were the pioneers of the stock photo subscription, a buying model for which you agree to a fixed monthly fee in exchange for an also fixed number of image downloads per month, with incredibly low per-image rates. While now they have several options in the volume of images, their star product has always been their plan for 750 photos per month for $249 monthly or $199 annually. This is what made them popular from the beginning, as lets buyers get high-quality photos for just $0,26 – $0,33 each. You can find more about Shutterstock Pricing here.

www.shutterstock.com licensing

But there are many more reasons for their success. They host the world’s largest online stock photo library, with over 406 million files and counting. They implement the latest intelligent technology for image search that goes beyond the simple search bar, they have additional media catalogs like stock footage and stock audio, and they include a free photo editor in their services, for example. You can read more in our Shutterstock review.

This is why so many buyers choose Shutterstock. If you want to join them, take the chance to use our exclusive Shutterstock Coupon Code with up to 15% off on your purchase!

Buy any image product (image packs or subscription) with a 15% discount.    
Get a 15% discount on your choice of Shutterstock Video Subscriptions, which start at $159 a month for 10 video downloads. Subscriptions let you get ...

You might wonder “is Shutterstock free”? There is good news. Shutterstock has a free trial that you can sign-up for below.

Try Shutterstock for 1 Month and get 10 Images for Free! Cancel anytime!

Best Shutterstock Alternatives FAQ

Is there a better alternative to Shutterstock?

Shutterstock is a great stock photo service, but there are alternative offers that may work better for you. If you are on a tight budget, the 99Club by Stock Photo Secrets Shop is a perfect solution, with 200 image downloads for one year for $99.
Stock photo websites like iStock, Adobe Stock, Photocase, and Canva are all really good options for different needs, as well.

Is iStock or Shutterstock better?

Depends on what you need. If you want lots of commercially-oriented photos, Shutterstock does this very well. But if you are after unique photographs, iStock has a great selection of exclusive images at very affordable prices.

Is Getty Images better than Shutterstock?

Depends on how you look at it. Getty Images –which is also the parent company of iStock– is a prestigious stock photography agency that has been around for decades, they have an extensive network of paid professional photographers working exclusively for them, covering the most high-end and exclusive events of public interest. For editorial imagery, celebrity content, and archival photos, Getty Images is a very good provider.
Shutterstock has been constantly expanding its offer in editorial pictures, though, so they are catching up quickly. For commercial use pictures, Shutterstock is a much more affordable and straightforward service.

Is there a free alternative to Shutterstock?

Shutterstock has a one-month free trial that gives you 10 images of your choice for 30 days, completely free of charge. It's the perfect way to get free photos from Shutterstock, legally.
The iStock free trial and Adobe Stock free trial are also great options for free download of professional photos that are safe to use.

Buy Stock Images Smartly with the Best Shutterstock Alternatives

Buying images royalty-free will now be easier than ever! Not only you get an awesome discount from the very popular Shutterstock, but also 6 awesome alternatives to Shutterstock to download royalty-free photos cheap!

If you are not in a position to spend money on photos, our bonus info on free stock photos from these reliable agencies comes in handy, as you will get professional imagery that is safe to use in commercial projects, a lot safer than creative commons photos for sure.

Let's Recap!

Which one will you go for?

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Ivanna Attié

Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in StockPhotoSecrets.com and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

  1. […] You want to know where Google got the stock images from? Thinkstock, the subscription based stock agency of Getty Images, has provided all stock images for Google Drive. Compare Thinkstock to Shutterstock and other subscription based stock agencies here. […]

  2. […] 5 Shutterstock Alternatives Compared […]

  3. hello…does the 5 free images is still available when we sign-up for the first time using your link? I’ve signed up and I don’t have the 5 free images 🙁

    • Hi there,

      sorry to hear that it did not work for you. Yes the deal for 5 free images should still be active.

      I have forward your request to DepositPhotos, they will check and then get back to you via Email.

      Let me know if this has worked for you.


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