How to Download Shutterstock Images for Free & Without Watermark – 5 Methods Explained homepage

Shutterstock is one of the best stock photo sites around, famous for its massive library full of high-resolution images, ready to jump from their site onto your designs. But for that, you need to download them without their Shutterstock watermark.

Here, we show you the best ways to remove the Shutterstock watermark before downloading, so you can enjoy amazing free photos from Shutterstock.

Right now, Shutterstock has this awesome free trial offer available which gives you 10 free downloads of Shutterstock images of your choice, all without watermark and without paying a dime for them! This method for Shutterstock free download will remove the watermark from the files.

Try Shutterstock for 1 Month and get 10 Images for Free! Cancel anytime!
Unlock a cool exclusive 25% discount on credit packs for 30 credits on Shutterstock! Get up to 30 Images, 1 Standard Video, and 7 Music Tracks.

Here is how to download non-watermarked images at Shutterstock with the Free Trial:

  • Click on the Shutterstock Free Trial link here or the banner right above. It’ll take you to Shutterstock’s Free Trial page
  • Hit the “Start your free trial” link here. You will be directed to the checkout screen
  • Log in to your account or sign up for one (this is free)
  • Complete the billing information with a valid payment method. – Don’t worry, you will not be charged for this. The payment information will only be used if you decide to upgrade to a paid subscriber
  • Hit the “complete checkout” button
  • Done! The process might take a few seconds or minutes, but soon enough your trial will be activated, and you’ll be able to search and download any 10 free Shutterstock images (stock photos or vectors) of your choice, in high-resolution sans watermark, completely free! Just go to the page of the image click on download and that's it!

    To download Shutterstock images: Once the trial is activated, use the search bar or navigate categories to find the pictures you want, click to open the desired photo URL, and hit the download button, and you'll get your free image, with a Standard license, ready to use!
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Why we love this method: Most users looking for Shutterstock pictures without watermarks are first-time users trying to get a Shutterstock free download. This free trial allows you to download Shutterstock images without paying, and to get files without image watermark, in a perfectly legal way! It's a great alternative to free stock images.

This is very important if you plan to use free images in commercial projects such as marketing and advertising: using unlicensed photos could cost you a lot in legal costs.

Shutterstock images free download: All free images you download with the Shutterstock free trial are royalty-free, with a valid license that is green-lighted for commercial purposes, and they are free. What more can you wish for? The Shutterstock-free images have it all.

Read our full Shutterstock review for more insight.

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Important considerations: The Shutterstock free trial gives you the first month free for a one-year subscription with 10 downloads per month. This means if you keep your account active after the first month is up, you will be charged $29 a month for 11 more months, and you will get 10 new Shutterstock images of your choice each month as well.
If you do not wish to be charged this amount, you need to cancel your Shutterstock free trial before the initial month is due. If you cancel within 48 hours from the expiration date, you will not be charged a penny for the initial 10 free Shutterstock images. And if you miss that window, you can still cancel it for free, by contacting Shutterstock's support agents directly, up to your trial's expiration date.

If you stay subscribed, you can still cancel your annual plan anytime you want, on a monthly basis. Do keep in mind that, in this case, cancelation fees may apply.

For more details on how to download free Shutterstock images, make sure to check our dedicated guide to get 10 free images from Shutterstock!

By the way, do you know that Shutterstock has its own online platform for creative tools named Creative Flow? Learn how to get free access to Shutterstock Creative Flow right here!

If you are after editorial imagery, you'll be pleased to know that Shutterstock now has editorial license subscriptions!

Shutterstock Credit Packs: From Two Images for $29, One-Time Pay – EXCLUSIVE 25% DISCOUNT

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Unlock a cool exclusive 25% discount on credit packs for 30 credits on Shutterstock! Get up to 30 Images, 1 Standard Video, and 7 Music Tracks.

Shutterstock stock images are watermarked and lower-resolution –reduced pixel count– in the preview feature when you surf their catalog and select a stock image to see it in a larger size. But once you license it –this is when you download Shutterstock images legally from Shutterstock via our free trial or pay for them, always using the download button– you get the high-res, non-watermarked, high-quality images.

Note: Shutterstock doesn't modify prices based on image resolution so you can download images of the highest quality for the same price as the good-resolution ones. We recommend always choosing the highest resolution available.

If you only need a few royalty free images for creative projects, a good way to download Shutterstock images without a watermark is to buy an on-demand credit pack. These are one-time purchases –though there is an option to auto-renew a credit pack once it's consumed– where you pay for a number of Shutterstock credits upfront and then have a whole year to use those credits to download images (and videos and music tracks) at your own pace.

They have packs from 2 and up to 250 credits. One image costs one credit (regardless of resolution). Prices for credit packs are very reasonable, and we have an EXCLUSIVE Shutterstock coupon discount that applies to the 30-credit pack! You can now buy 30 credits with 25% off and save some sweet bucks. It's a good Shutterstock alternative for when the free trial has already been used.

Unlock a cool exclusive 25% discount on credit packs for 30 credits on Shutterstock! Get up to 30 Images, 1 Standard Video, and 7 Music Tracks.

Do keep in mind this 25% discount applies to the 30-credit pack only. But don't worry, our regular Shutterstock coupon code has a discount for all other credit packs.

Buy any image product (image packs or subscription) and get a 15% discount on Shutterstock with our Coupon Code.

Here is how to use this coupon, in very simple steps:

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  • Click on the Shutterstock Coupon Code link or the banner above, it will take you to the Shutterstock pricing page, and also open a pop-up with a code: don’t close this pop-up! Leave it open in the new tab
  • On the pricing page, select the pack of your choice, and hit the “buy” button. You’ll be taken to the checkout screen
  • Log in to your account, or sign up for a new one for free
  • Complete the form with your billing information
  • On the right side of the checkout screen, you will see the details of your purchase, and below, a question is highlighted: do you have a coupon code? Click on this question to reveal a text box
  • Copy the code from the pop-up from step one, and paste it onto this text box. Hit “apply”
  • Done! The discount will be automatically applied, and you will see it reflected in your purchase details. Just hit “complete checkout” to finalize the transaction and begin to enjoy your royalty free stock photos on the Shutterstock website.
Why we love this method: Credit packs are ideal for creatives who only need a handful of photos sporadically, and it’s also a good alternative for those with tight or unpredictable budgets. With our exclusive Shutterstock coupons, you can cut down the cost of Shutterstock images and still get those precious, commercial-ready photos for as little as $3.50 each*.
*With a 30 credits pack bought with our exclusive 25% discount code.
Important considerations: Credits are valid for one year from the purchase date only, so make sure to use them all before they are forfeited. Also, with credits, you can download either Standard license images or Enhanced licensed images, which have more usage rights and thus come at a much higher price. licensing

Quick note: If you are looking for stock videos, the only way to get Shutterstock videos without a watermark, legally covered for personal and commercial use, is to buy and download videos from their website. They now have both Standard and Enhanced Video licenses available, and both can be bought with credits, so make sure to check which one is best for you!

Shutterstock Subscription: 10 Images for Only $29 each MONTH

Image packs aren't the only way to buy photos at Shutterstock. In fact, from all of its pricing options, a stock photo subscription is the best Shutterstock watermark remover, so to speak, because it lets you access all the Shutterstock images and download as many professional photos as you need, immediately and without worrying about watermarks, and has the lowest per-image prices. It makes for a very fluent and stress-free workflow.

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What’s best, we have a cool Shutterstock coupon code with 15% off that applies to all plans, so you will be saving even more on your subscription plan.

Buy any image product (image packs or subscription) and get a 15% discount on Shutterstock with our Coupon Code.
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The steps to buying a Shutterstock subscription using our coupon code are the same as with an image pack (detailed above) but you select the subscription plans of your choice instead.

For more info, read our Shutterstock pricing breakdown.

Why we love this method: Shutterstock subscriptions offer really affordable prices for royalty-free, high-quality images that you can use in a myriad of projects. Our special Shutterstock discount makes them even more low-priced, going as low as $0.22 per image, and thus a no-brainer if what you want is numerous photos without the Shutterstock watermark, legally safe, and ready to use. When you no longer download free Shutterstock images, this is the next best thing.
Important considerations: Image pack downloads are valid for one year from the purchase date only, so make sure to use them all before they are forfeited. Also, our table is for Standard license image packs; you may find Enhanced license packs, which have more usage rights, and thus come at a much higher price.
If you use stock videos and stock music in your projects, you need to explore the new Flex plans by Shutterstock! They're cool multimedia subscriptions for you to download from 25 images, 3 stock videos, 6 music tracks, or a mix of all.
When you download using this plan, it will automatically remove the video watermark and audio watermark from your chosen files.
All files downloaded with a Flex plan are Standard License, and there is no restriction in image size or video resolution.
You can get a Flex plan starting at $69 a month or $49 per month with a one-year contract. But you can get it even cheaper with our exclusive Shutterstock Coupon with 15% off!
Discover the Shutterstock Flexs plan here!
Get a 15% off on Shutterstock's mixed-asset subscriptions to download stock images, stock videos, and stock music at once! pricing

Shutterstock Newsletter: Weekly Freebies

Every week, Shutterstock sends out an email newsletter that includes, among other info, one free image (without a watermark) from their collection.

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Occasionally, they also roll out special bundles of free images, graphics, and other resources:

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You are free to use these free photo files under royalty-free license terms, for commercial purposes, just like you would the ones you purchased.

Here is how to subscribe to receive Shutterstock’s newsletter:

  • Sign up for an account on Shutterstock (this is free)
  • During the registration process, tick the box that enables you to receive promotional offers from the company
  • Done! Every time Shutterstock sends out a newsletter for all its subscribers, you’ll be included. So you'll receive at least one free photo in your inbox weekly, including the download link to free download automatically.
Why we like this method: It’s an entirely effortless way to get Shutterstock images for free, and while limited, the freebies are usually very valuable. Plus, the images are royalty-free and perfectly safe to use.
Important considerations: It's usually just one image a week, and you don't get to search and choose it, so they will not always be useful for your projects. Plus, Shutterstock does send more than just the freebie newsletter, so keep in mind you will see them in your inbox very often.

Forbidden Methods (100% Illegal)

We know a number of internet users are after ways to “cheat the system” and intentionally want to remove Shutterstock watermark online without paying, but we also know a lot of people think that removing a watermark from an image to download free images is a harmless thing to do, and thus consider watermark remover tools and photo editing apps to get rid of a Shutterstock watermark without paying for the image.

There is a wide range of websites and online tools used, from Adobe Photoshop to Apowersoft watermark remover and even brush tools, and also multiple mobile apps. But these tools are not created nor intended for the purpose of removing watermarks from Shutterstock photos, and should not be used in this way.

Why we DON’T like this method AT ALL: Some of these tools work –some better than others, too–, but this isn’t only illegal to remove the Shutterstock logos or text watermark this way: it’s also time-consuming, and cumbersome, and more importantly it really affects artists’ livelihoods.
When you hit the download button on a Shutterstock image, it isn’t just the agency that is earning money from that sale, but the contributor that created that image, too. Using watermark remover apps to erase watermarks from non-licensed pictures is effectively stealing from Shutterstock photographers, preventing them from earning money from the art that you want to use.

Important considerations: Besides the moral stance of respecting artists’ work, illegally removing watermarks from images and later using them in your designs is a plain copyright infringement, and it can get you into a lot of legal –and financial– trouble. Agencies like Shutterstock police their content, but artists do it too. If they find you using their work without a license, they might come at you with a lawsuit. This will result in your spending on legal representation, and if you lose, you might be ordered to pay hundreds and up to thousands of dollars in compensation.
For example, just last year a photographer sued none other than Microsoft for allegedly using several of her photos without a proper license, and she seeks $2.25 Million in statutory damages! Just to give you an idea.
Trust us, it’s not worth the risks. Not when you can avoid it with a free trial, or a $ 25-a-month subscription!
It's worth mentioning here that if you don’t like any of these methods, you can always go for a free stock photo site like Unsplash or Pexels, where you can download decent-quality pictures, with no watermark, and for free. They are an ok Shutterstock alternative if you can't afford to pay. Just be aware that free-use licenses such as Creative Commons (usually the CCO license) and similar, and the sites that offer them, are not remotely as legally safe as stock agencies and royalty-free images, so the potential risk for legal woes is still there. Check our list with the best (and safest) free stock photo sites.
If you want to explore other paid and free options, check out our list of the best alternative offers to Shutterstock.
Want more options for free stock photos under royalty-free (legally safe) license? Then check our list of the best stock photo-free trials!

Shutterstock Watermark FAQ

Let's quickly address your most common questions regarding the Shutterstock watermark.

Can you remove Shutterstock watermark?

Yes. Above we listed the best ways to remove the Shutterstock watermark. They are easy, quick, free or affordable, and equally important: 100% legal methods to remove the Shutterstock watermark from images.

Can I use watermarked Shutterstock images?

Watermarked Shutterstock images are essentially image previews, in low resolution, of the actual high-res pictures available. You can only use these watermarked images to share them via a link with your colleagues when working on a project or to test-edit how they'd look in a finished design –like when you use the Shutterstock Create editor in the Shutterstock Creative Flow platform, for example–, but you cannot use Shutterstock watermarked content in your finished designs, nor publish them anywhere.

How do I use Shutterstock images without watermark?

To use Shutterstock images without watermark, simply download them from their official website, using any of the methods above listed –except for the illegal and NOT recommended ones!–.
By using those methods you'll have perfectly legal, licensed images that you can use in a wide array of projects, personal and commercial: digital marketing, social media, blog post illustration, and so much more.

How do you make a Shutterstock watermark?

If you are looking to create a watermark for your visual content, there are multiple online tools to do this for you, even free ones, where you upload the logo or text you want to use as a watermark and the tool automatically applies it to your desired image.
But if you are intending to replicate the Shutterstock watermark, you can't. The Shutterstock logo and brand are trademarks and can only be used by them.

Is there a free version of Shutterstock?

You can sign up for a free account on Shutterstock, and it will let you navigate the entirety of their image library (and stock footage and stock audio libraries), save images in personal collections, and download their weekly free stock images, among other perks.
But if you want free photos, Shutterstock's offer is limited. The vast majority of the content on their website is paid.

Are Shutterstock images free?

No. Not by definition. Shutterstock pictures are all royalty-free licensed and that means they're paid, albeit very affordable. You can buy them with a monthly plan, an annual plan, or on demand with image packs. All with very low prices.
There are ways to get Shutterstock free images legally, though.

How do I get Shutterstock for free?

The Shutterstock website is open for all: you can sign up for free, as well as navigate their libraries, save images in lightboxes, and even access a limited version of Shutterstock Creative Flow, all without paying.
It's image downloading what you need to pay for. However, if you use the Shutterstock Free Trial, the weekly image files on the Shutterstock website, or the ones in the weekly newsletter, you can get Shutterstock images for free.

How do I remove the watermark from a picture on Shutterstock?

The watermark is automatically removed when you download the picture from Shutterstock legally, using the download button on the screen. Be it through a free download way or by paying for an image pack or subscription plan, this is the only legal method to remove the Shutterstock watermark.

How can I download Shutterstock videos without watermarking for free?

The weekly free files on the website usually include one free stock video. The weekly newsletter sometimes contains free video files as well. These are the only ways of downloading Shutterstock videos without a watermark for free and legally.

Where can I find images to use for free?

If you are after a free stock image without a watermark, you can opt for an alternative website that offers images for free. Such websites abound on the web, but most of them work with Creative Commons licenses for free use, which are not remotely as safe as Royalty Free. When you use images downloaded from a free website, you are at your own risk.
The Shutterstock free stock photos are the best alternative to this. Especially with the free trial, you can download the same image that you would otherwise pay, for free.

Shutterstock Images Without Watermark: Much Easier to Get than You Might Think

If one thing that can be concluded from this guide is that there are multiple effective, safe, and legal ways to download images from without a watermark, including Shutterstock's free download methods and paid but affordable ways to get the best images from this site.

Both free and paid, you have several methods to obtain the cool stock photos that you desire the legal way, easily, and be respectful of the agency, copyright rules, and Shutterstock photographers.

The Shutterstock Free Trial is by far our favorite method. Which one will you try?

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in 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. What is the images resolution ? I want print 40 inch *30 inch landscape.

    • Hi Andy. All Shutterstock images are high resolution, you usually get to pick between two or three available sizes (we recommend always selecting the largest size available since there is no added cost and it’s a lot more flexible for design). Said largest size is suitable for large format printing, at 300 DPI, so you shouldn’t have problems printing in your desired dimensions. However, we recommend you check with a Shutterstock representative directly before buying, to make sure. Hope this helps!

  2. Thanks for sharing so many secrets on stockphotosecrets

    We would have never known all these cool hacks you shared

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