Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts – Standard vs Enhanced (2024)

Shutterstock is one of the most popular and successful stock photo agencies for a reason: we all love Shutterstock images. But, do we all fully know and understand the Shutterstock license? 

Today we are going deep into Shutterstock’s license agreement. We’ll explain all their terms and give you all the relevant info about them.

Unlock a cool exclusive 25% discount on image packs for 30 images on Shutterstock! Get 25 images of your choice on demand!

This way, you’ll not only make sure you’re using Shutterstock photos correctly but also that you are getting every possible benefit from them, too! 

Let’s get started, shall we? 

By the way, Shutterstock has a cool new platform full of tools for creatives, named Creative Flow. And we know three ways to get Shutterstock Creative Flow for free, you may want to learn them!

If you still not found the best image, go ahead and use our search form below:

The Basics of this Shutterstock License Breakdown

Before we go into the actual fine print, let’s revise the principles of Shutterstock’s usage agreement, which you can find here, to start from an informed base. 

We'll preface this by stating since is one of the best stock photo sites of today, and have been consistently at the top of the stock photography industry since its launch in 2003, we believe their licensing terms are not only worth knowing for the sake of using Shutterstock content but also because they are an example of a stock media licensing agreement that inspires those of many other stock agencies. If you use stock photos regularly, knowing about the Shutterstock license helps you understand how online media licensing works.

We hope that reading this will help you not only understand how Shutterstock operates, but also why they charge what they charge for their service.

For more information about the costs of Shutterstock stock images, do check out our in-depth article with everything you need to know about Shutterstock pricing! You'll find details about on-demand purchasing, monthly subscriptions, annual subscriptions, multimedia subscription plans, extended license costs, and more to save money and find the perfect option for your budget limitations.

And if you want to learn all about Shutterstock, make sure to read our Shutterstock review. Everything, from company history to payment method to bonus features, is in there! For even more info, our Shutterstock statistics report has all the relevant numbers to understand this agency better.

Interested in selling your images at Shutterstock? Then check our Shutterstock Contributor review!

It’s a Royalty Free License

Shutterstock operates on the basis of a Royalty-Free license agreement, meaning the fee you pay for an image (whether it is via a stock photo subscription or if you purchase on-demand packs) is the one and the only fee you’ll ever pay for it. Once licensed and paid for, you will not be required to pay royalties for the use of said image ever again.

Keep in mind the same Royalty-Free license applies to any images you download with the new Shutterstock Free Trial, which makes them even more valuable, as most other free photos from the web are under Creative Commons or under the public domain, but Shutterstock's are all verified and policed, making them ideal for online advertising and similar marketing purposes.

It’s a One-Seat, Personal License

On Shutterstock, you can find multi-seat licenses for teams and also corporate agreements for companies and brands. However, the most common is the personal, individual license: one customer uses their individual Shutterstock account to license (download) and uses photos in various projects. This is the license option we are analyzing here today. [Note: you can find out the status of your account –individual, multi-seat, or corporate– in your account settings].

We’re Covering the Commercial Use License

Shutterstock has two license types available, albeit both royalty-free. One is the Standard Royalty-Free License for using the images for commercial purposes: marketing, advertising, branding, and all other uses linked to business activities, looking to generate profit (there's also an Extended license for this type). The other is the Editorial license, for editorial use only, which has a different set of rights and limitations. If you're in doubt as to which license you need, we got your back with our article explaining when to use a commercial license and when to use an editorial one. You might be interested in knowing that the company now has Editorial Subscription Plans available.

Today we are focusing on the former (Commercial Use License), as it’s the one that concerns the most creatives and business owners reading us.

If you’re a publisher, keep reading though! The Commercial license has applications for blog post images, e-books, and print publishing too. 

However, you can also check this article that explains editorial stock images, and read about where to find the best editorial images online, you’ll find Shutterstock Editorial is a very good provider! 

We’re Centering on the Image License

Shutterstock is a high-quality stock media service for creative professionals, thus it offers more than just still images. They have dedicated libraries for stock footage and stock audio, and each of these media formats has its respective licensing terms. 

If you're interested in video content, you'll be happy to know that Shutterstock has a very convenient video license, and has recently added an Enhanced Video License option with unlimited audience size coverage. (If you are interested in learning about this kind of license, read this full Shutterstock Video License explanatory guide!)

In this article, though, we are studying the Image License as stock photos and stock images are still the number one media creatives after and the most extensively used across platforms and mediums, both as tangible media and digital reproduction.

UPDATE 2023: Offset, the agency's premium stock photo service, is now integrated into Shutterstock's main platform, and its entire collection with 1.2M+ premium images is available directly on the Shutterstock website, starting at $249 per image. Discover the Offset collection right here!
Unlock a cool exclusive 25% discount on image packs for 30 images on Shutterstock! Get 25 images of your choice on demand! pricing

A License is Only Issued with a Legal, Authorized, Non-Watermarked Download

All Shutterstock images appear watermarked with the Shutterstock logo on their website. This prevents them from being illegally downloaded and used without a license. The only way to obtain a valid license from Shutterstock is to download the files from their authorized sources (i.e., their download buttons).

There are ways to do this, both paid and also free of charge. Here, you can learn the 5 methods to download photos from Shutterstock without a watermark (with a valid license).

Important! Using Shutterstock images without a valid license is a copyright infringement and therefore, completely illegal. Copyright infringement cases can potentially be very serious and expensive, it is never worth the risk!

Shutterstock Licensing Terms Explained

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-official guide to Shutterstock License. We are not lawyers and this is our personal interpretation of their license. This guide is only informal and non-binding. If you have any question or need help, please contact a Shutterstock representative directly.

Alright, it’s time to get down to business. This is what the terms in Shutterstock License mean: 

#1. Non-Exclusive, Non-Transferrable, Worldwide, Perpetual

Shutterstock License 1 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

This is the core of the agreement you subscribe to when you download an image from Shutterstock, so it’s very important to understand it fully. 


It is as clear as it can be: you can edit, or alter, and use the licensed image however you want, anywhere you want, in as many projects as you wish, forever. Just keep in mind others can license and use the same image at the same time as you, too. 


You cannot resell, gift or transfer the licensed image to anyone for its use as-is. This license applies to you only, and you’re solely responsible for its use. 

Note: You CAN use Shutterstock images in client work –say, if you’re a designer creating visuals for a customer– under the Standard license no problem. But what you give the client must be the final, edited work, not the stock image just as you downloaded it from the agency. More info on this, on this dedicated guide on using stock photos in client work. 

Also, there is a series of usage limitations that you must abide by, which we’ll explain further along. 

#2. Standard Image License 

Shutterstock License 2 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

Now we’re getting specific. This details the “Do’s” we just overviewed, clearly laying out what the Standard image license grants and the many possibilities in Shutterstock images for businesses and creatives, but it also implies some important “Don’ts” that were unknown until this point. 


You get worldwide digital use including all main purposes like websites, online and mobile advertising, social media, email marketing, mobile apps, software, digital publishing and more. There are no restrictions on the number of views/visitors.

Use in physical form (i.e. prints), such as product packaging, business stationery, POS advertising, advertising in physical publications, billboards, wall art, etc. is limited to 500,000 copies. 

A special case is that of film, video, television series, advertisements and video productions for online streaming platforms and video sharing services (such as YouTube or Vimeo). Where you are allowed to use Shutterstock photos, but as long as the production budget does not exceed $10,000. 

This is an interesting point in Shutterstock License, as other agencies tend to set up a limitation for online video based on the number of views or visits, rather than the production value. 


You can’t exceed 500,000 physical copies or use the images in audio-visual productions that cost more than $10,000 to make. You can’t use the photos in products that you will then resell on a retail model (like t-shirts or canvases, for example). 

So what if you need more than 500,000 prints, you have a big-budget production in which you want to use images, or you want to use stock photos on a design to resell and make money? There is a solution: Shutterstock’s Enhanced License. Keep reading to find out more! 

#3. General Restrictions

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Shutterstock License 3.1 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

More very important details, this time about the things you categorically can’t do with Shutterstock images. These are restrictions that cannot be overcome (meaning Enhanced License does not remove the prohibitions). So it’s very important to know them. 

Unamovable Don'ts
You cannot use the images in any other way that those authorised expressly by the license. You cannot resell it or redistribute it as-is in any way. You cannot use Editorial Only photos in commercial-oriented work. You also cannot make it look like you created the images yourself, nor register any content created using stock images as a trademark (like a logo).

The rest is what is known as “Sensitive Use clauses”, that restrict uses that might result in moral or personal conflicts: 

  • Use in pornography or content that could be perceived as defamatory, deceptive or in any way illegal, is forbidden. 
  • It’s also not allowed to use photos of people (models) that puts them under a “bad light” or in any way that could be seen as negative. This means topics like pornography, adult content, dating and escort services, political endorsement, promotion of health-endangering products (like tobacco), content linked to religion, or about physical or mental disabilities, as well as immoral or criminal activity, are off the table. 

#4. Enhanced License

Shutterstock License 4 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

Remember at the end of point #2 we said Enhanced License was the solution if you needed to remove the print run limit, budget limit, or resell prohibition? We were not kidding! 

Shutterstock’s Enhanced License quite literally enhances all the standard agreement’s usage rights by adding extra possibilities that erase the above-mentioned restrictions, for added flexibility and revenue opportunities. 

So, what does the Enhanced License include?

  • Unlimited copies for all the print uses accepted in Standard license
  • Unrestricted budget for all audiovisual production uses included in Standard agreement 
  • Ability to use Shutterstock photos in merchandise (for sale or promotional) and digital templates. More info about this in our coverage of where to find images to use in products for resale. 

It’s important to highlight that the right to use in products for resale means products where the image is part of the value, not the value itself. Reselling stock photos as what they are is always forbidden!
What About Pricing?
In Shutterstock’s website, all default prices displayed correspond to Standard Licensed images. They are available on-demand as well as with stock photo subscriptions. Prices range from $0,26 to $9,80 per download according to the buying method selected. 

And Enhanced? Given it gives you wider usage rights, it makes sense that images under this agreement come at a higher price point than those under Standard license. Enhanced Licenses are available for any image on Shutterstock’s library, and you can buy them on-demand in Enhanced License Packs starting at $99,50 per image. 

You can see all the details in our Shutterstock Pricing explanatory article

#5. Warranties and Representations

Shutterstock License 5 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

As general as it may appear, this bit of terms is actually rather important! You may have read us before warning you about the dangers of using free photos from Google or the web in your designs (and if you haven’t, you really should!). The main reason free images are so dangerous is that nobody is backing up their legality, so you’re basically at your own risk, and without a lot of information as to how big that risk might be. 

With the above words, Shutterstock is expressing they do back up all their images, claiming they are legally verified as not infringing any copyright or privacy/individual rights and not violating any US laws. 

This is what gives you full peace of mind when it comes to using these photos in commercial-purposed projects, and what adds a ton of value to Shutterstock’s images and service too. 

#6. Indemnization Fee

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Shutterstock License 7 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])
Shutterstock License 8 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

Another important point to know about Shutterstock License is the terms under which they’ll back up the legality of their images through legal indemnification. 

As they lay out in their terms, providing that you abide by all the licensing terms in your use of a Shutterstock image, the agency will indemnify you in the case of legal claims made against the image or your use of them, and the amount of this indemnification depends on which licensing version you purchase: 

  • Standard License has an indemnification fee of $10,000
  • Enhanced License has an indemnification fee of $250,000

In short, this is how you are financially and legally protected when using Shutterstock photos (if you are using them correctly, of course). 

However, they also specify that if your misuse of the image results in legal claims against Shutterstock, you will be held accountable and required to indemnify them. This is why it's so important to fully understand their license terms!

#7. Licensing Comparison – What License Do You Need? Shutterstock License 9 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])Shutterstock License 10 > Shutterstock Licenses explained by our experts - Standard vs Enhanced ([wpsm_custom_meta type=date field=year])

If you are unsure of which one of the licensing versions suits you best, Shutterstock adds a bit of help with this comparative list. 

The condensed terms help you easily identify which terms would work best for you in terms of cost-benefit and coverage. 

Real-Life Examples
Following the comparisons, let’s see some use-case scenarios and what license would make more sense for each. 

  1. I need to make 100,000 flyers to promote my services in a big festival.

    The number of copies needed for the flyers do not exceed the Standard license's print run limit (you can print up to 500,000 flyers before you need one) – standard license is just OK.
  2. I want to blow up an image for one big billboard in a high-traffic area of my city.

    Standard License is perfect for this. Despite the big project and its potential results, one billboard is covered.
  3. I wish to use an image in the design of a mobile app that I intend will be used by thousands of people.

    Regardless of the size of the expected audience, Standard License is good for using images in apps.
  4. I am creating ten big canvases and I want to use Shutterstock images with overlaid text, and I’m selling them to people to decorate their homes.

    It’s ok to resell the image if it’s altered with text and used in a final product, but only under an Enhanced License, even for 10 items only.
  5. My client wants me to make a design with an image for business cards, letterheads, envelopes and other minor stationery items for his company. He will be buying this design from me and taking it to another company to print the items.

    Standard License suits just fine, providing there will be no more than 500,000 prints of this design. The fact you’re selling the final work to one person does not qualify as retail resale, so there is no need for an Enhanced License. 

Shutterstock License FAQ

Is Shutterstock a license?

Shutterstock is a stock photo agency, a company selling image licenses via its website.
They do have their own custom, Royalty Free license, which is called the “Shutterstock license”.

How do I get my Shutterstock license?

You sign up for an account on the Shutterstock website (this is free), select the image you want, pay for it online, and hit the download button. Every time you download an image from Shutterstock, a Shutterstock license for that image is automatically issued to your name (the name that appears on your account). And it's legally binding.

Can I use Shutterstock images commercially?

Yes, you can. All images on Shutterstock (except for those marked as “editorial use only”) can be used for commercial purposes. With a standard license, you can use images for marketing and advertising only. With an Extended license, you can also use the images in products for resale. Make sure to understand the limitations on Shutterstock's “personal account” or single-user-usage. Also “commercial license” can be sometimes referred to as “extended license”.

What is a Shutterstock standard license?

It is the license included by default with all images on Shutterstock. A flexible license that gives you the right to use the pictures in various marketing, advertising, and creative projects, for as long as you want, in as many designs as you want, and worldwide, for an affordable one-time fee.

Design Bankable Creative Visuals with Shutterstock Images

Now you’ve learned all you need to know about Shutterstock License to get squeeze the value out of its stock photos and play safe regarding usage and coverage, you have it all to start downloading images from Shutterstock and creating awesome visual content for your business or project! 

Last but not least, grab these useful tips for buying Shutterstock images: 

Happy designing!

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🤓 I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

🤨 I have a question about the Shutterstock License

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🙄 Something else…

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. This was extremely helpful. Thank you so much for making this. I especially found the Real-Life Examples part at the bottom helpful to understanding my particular needs.

  2. I’m not entirely clear as to what determines if I need an Enhanced License. I am a visual artist and need resource photos for my paintings. I want to use my personal photos and include an object that I can not photograph (for example, a penguin that lives no where near me). For that I need a resource photo. Do I need an Enhanced License because I might sell the artwork? No matter how much of the Shutterstock image I reproduce, nor no matter what percentage it is of my final painting? Do I need an Enhanced License if I’m only going to exhibit the artwork and never sell it?

    • Hi Wendy,

      You will need to verify this with a Shutterstock representative directly. It is my understanding that you cannot use a Shutterstock image as part of a painting, any more than you can use it as part of a logo. These are copyrighted images and you cannot claim them as your own, thus you could not claim a painting that contains a Shutterstock image as your own, original work, be it for exhibition or for sale. I am under the impression that Enhanced License doesn’t cover this.
      However, we at Stock Photo Secrets aren’t lawyers and we do not represent Shutterstock, so again, please verify this with them directly.

  3. so used in an ebook book to sold on Amazon, as long as it’s under the 500,000 limit, standard license is ok?

    • Hi there, first I need to let you know to check this question with the Shutterstock Support as well. But what I can see from the Shutterstock License, it seems to be OK to sell an ebook below 500,000 copies/sales on Amazon. You can find this explained in their license as follows: A STANDARD IMAGE LICENSE grants you the right to use Images:
      As a digital reproduction, including on websites, in online advertising, in social media, in mobile advertising, mobile “apps”, software, e-cards, e-publications (e-books, e-magazines, blogs, etc.), email marketing and in online media (including on video-sharing services such as YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc., subject to the budget limitations set forth in sub-section I.a.i.4 below);

  4. What are the chances that I buy a license, and it turns out that the image I bought was actually “stolen” from somewhere else? Are all Shutterstock images vetted to ensure they are original works?

  5. I am still unsure of which license I would need in my case. I am a painter, and I want to use certain images to create fine art paintings that I would sell in a gallery. In most cases I would use mainly the figure in the photo, and it would be altered in the background and by the application of paint. I would not be using the images for any commercial, digital, or marketing purposes. What do I need in that case? Thanks!

    • Hi.

      Looking for clarification. If I have enhanced license for image, can I make minimal changes to image such as adding a border or changing a font and sell posters for profit. Does this fall under the wall art bracket?

      • Disclaimer: We are not Shutterstock and therefore we can only give you our view on their license. Please ask them directly if you need a final answer. I think this is doable with the extended license. These extended licenses are meant to be sold as i.e. posters, wall art on mugs or t-shirts. I hope that helps. Kind Regards Amos

    • Hi Summer, you mentioned that “I would sell in a gallery” this means that you would earn money from the images and therefore it is commercial usage. I don’t think that even the extended license would allow such usage because it is creating a “copy” of the original image. But since we are not Shutterstock we can not tell for sure. So please reach out to them as well and ask this question. Thank you for your interesting question regarding this.

  6. Hi Amos

    I have written and designed a children’s science book to be published in Australia later this year. It has literally hundreds of small illustrations in it that I have downloaded using my annual account (10 images per day) with Bigstock (Shutterstock). The initial print run is 5,000.

    Do I need to credit every single downloaded image in it? Or does my standard license cover me for the whole book?


    • Hi Daniel, first of all I want to mention that the Bigstock License is not the same as the Shutterstock License. Since you have bought and downloaded from Bigstock, you need to follow their license which you can find here: – Regarding your other question of the credit of every image: I would totally do that. That way you are on the safe side and no one can later complain. It also sounds like your children book contains mainly images you downloaded from Bigstock. I highly suggest to reach out to them to make sure that you can use their images as main part of the book. Sometimes you are required to buy an extended license if the images are the main part (creating the main value). Always check with Bigstock if you they are alright with the usage before you print your book. ALl the best.

  7. So are you saying that you don’t think Shutterstock’s enhanced license would cover using an image for a reference for a pencil drawing that you intend to sell?

  8. Thanks Amos. I appreciate your help.

  9. Hi, could you please tell me whether I can get a free trial for Shutterstock images and use one of the images (a picture of a field) for an vinyl album cover? It’s a vanity project so there will only be a few hundred copies printed at the most. Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Lucy,

      Clarifying first that we are not Shutterstock representatives, it is my understanding that you could use a Shutterstock image for this purpose, providing you make less than 500,000 copies. This is the stipulation on point a.2. of their Standard license agreement” “Printed in physical form as part of product packaging and labeling, (…) CD and DVD cover art, or in the advertising and copy of tangible media, (…) provided no Image is reproduced more than 500,000 times in the aggregate”; all images downloaded during your free trial period are under Standard license. I advise verifying with Shutterstock directly for your peace of mind, though.
      Hope this helps!

  10. While this is as good an article as I’ve seen, still one concern I’ve been researching. Can you use an image in perpetuity if you downloaded it during a trial or a short paid membership. Or must you maintain a paid membership?

    • Hi Paul, that’s a bit tricky. Usually, the rule of thumb is that all images which are downloaded and used within the subscription period can be used forever. I hope that helps.

  11. Very Nice Article, but is still hace a question.
    Can i resell the image on wall art(poster,metal etc)
    without adding text or adjusting the image?

    In the real life examples, there is only an example when adding text.
    But what about selling the image without adjusting it or without adding text, can i resell that on posters with the extended license?

    “I am creating ten big canvases and I want to use Shutterstock images with overlaid text, and I’m selling them to people to decorate their homes.

    License: It’s ok to resell the image if it’s altered with text and used in a final product, but only under an Enhanced License, even for 10 items only”

    • Thank you – very good question. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a final answer on this one. I recommend directly asking Shutterstock about this. Some stock agencies allow enhanced (or extended) license usage with non-edited material.

  12. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    If I purchase a monthly, no-contract plan (ie: 350 images/mo for $199/mo), can I terminate the subscription, even after one month, and keep/use all the images I downloaded? Is there any penalty for terminating after one month? Thank you

    • Hi Carla, very good question. First of all, the obligatory disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock representatives, so my answer is for orientation only and you would need to verify with Shutterstock directly in any case. That said, as of right now according to Shutterstock’s terms you can keep and use all the images you download within your subscription forever, even after said subscription ends. About cancellation fees, if you hire the month-to-month plan there isn’t any penalty, you can hire it for just one month at no extra cost. Do keep two things: 1) The auto-renew option is selected by default, so you must make sure to unselect and save the changes in your account settings within the month, to avoid being charged for a subsequent one. And 2) Your allotted downloads are available for that month alone and while the subscription is active, any downloads you haven’t used by the time your plan is up will be forfeited.
      Hope this helps 🙂

  13. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Hi there,

    I’d love to use shutterstock for the following:

    I plan on selling my personally created lightroom presets on etsy, and need images to showcase the effect of the preset. I’d plan on using shutterstock stock images to show the before and afters of the presets, and include them in the pictures of the listing. I wouldn’t be selling the photos of course – just the presets.

    Which license would this come under?


    • Hi Oliver, first of all, you should always ask Shutterstock directly. We are not Shutterstock nor can we give any legal advice. For me, nevertheless, it sounds like you would only use the stock photos to advertise your service. Therefore I don’t see the need for an extended license. A normal license should usually cover this. Nevertheless, please check with Shutterstock directly. Also keep in mind, that you can not use the images on “products” or within those “products” to add value (usually on an advertisement, packaging, etc. on products it is OK). For that kind, you would need usually an extended license. I hope that helps.

  14. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Hi, can I use an image with a Standard Editorial license in more than one blog article on the same domain? For example, we have a number of different news articles about Microsoft on our blog. can I use the same image with a Standard editorial license in all of them?

    Thank you.

    • Hi, obligatory disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock representatives, so you would need to contact Shutterstock directly to verify about this. My answer is orientative only. That said, the Editorial license at Shutterstock is a one-use-only license. Meaning you can only use it once, in connection with one medium. So you would need to re-license the image every time you want to use it in a new blog post. However, their terms also include that you are allowed to re-use an Editorial image as long as it is contextually related to your initial use –for example, if you use an image in a news post about Microsoft, you could then re-use the same image in a social media post where you promote your article–. Hope this helps!

  15. Hi, this is very helpful article thank you very much!
    I have a question about omy situation. I download the vector file from Shutterstock, use it in my design and send back to the client. The client will then use my design image as a Facebook/Instagram post.
    In this case, which license should I purchase for the vector file?

    • Hi Phan, I’m glad our article is helpful for you! Regarding your question, the use you’re describing is covered by Shutterstock Standard License. Just keep in mind that: your client can only use your design in their social media channels (they cannot use the vector element from Shutterstock alone, as they do not have a license for it). However, we are not Shutterstock representatives so we advise you to verify with them directly. Hope this helps!

  16. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    In regards to the 500,000 reproduction of any
    used image is that in a single print run, or promotion? If I use the image over a 5 year time period do I need to keep track of how many times I reprint the image ?

    • Hi Meg, very good question. If you check the image in section #2 of our guide above, you’ll see that point 2 of Shutterstock’s Standard License mentions that physical prints are limited to 500,000 reproductions “in the aggregate”. So this print run limit applies to the image as a whole, no matter how many designs you’re using it. To answer your question, yes, you need to keep track of the number of prints you make, over time. If in the future you need to surpass the 500,000 copies limit, you can always re-license the image (i.e. re-download it from Shutterstock) under Standard, or upgrade to an Enhanced license (which grants unlimited downloads among other usage rights) if you see it fit. Mind you, we are not Shutterstock representatives, so you might be better off contacting them directly to verify the information. Hope this helps!

  17. Something else…

    I was curious about the usage score – which is used more – “frequently used” or “high usage”?

    • Hi Natalie, according to Shutterstock’s score system, “high usage” is the term that indicates the image has been downloaded more times (thus, presumably used more). Hope this helps!

  18. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I have made metal art for many years…How ever physically I coming to the end of this career. I have bought and incorporated some silhouette images in this art. For example I bought a tree and mountain design, cut the parts I want alter them to fit my bear on a river scene. I know I am aloud to make physical products out of this new design however I am wondering if I am aloud to sell the design in a online store like esty?

    • Just to let you know that we are not Shutterstock and this is not legal advice. But for me, it sounds like you would need image extended images for the images you use to resell the item. This usually also applies to parts of an image (cut-outs or you used parts). I always recommend reaching out to Shutterstock and asking them directly.

  19. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I am looking to download shutter stock images such as Birds. Then putting images in frames and selling them online. Is this allowed? If so what is best licence please?

  20. Do you know if there is a legal requirement and/or advantage for an agency to have a corporate licence, rather than an individual licence?

    • I’m sorry but I don’t understand your question. Maybe you want to explain what you want to archive or what you are worried about. That would help to find the right answer.

  21. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License


    I want to know if I am using the Shutterstock images in a book, do I need to put the licence number in the same book?

    • Hi Sarika, per Shutterstock’s license terms, you are not ever required to disclose the license number, but you are required to credit Shutterstock for the images, in a clear and legible font. For Standard Royalty-Free License, the credit suggested is “Name of Artist/”. And for Editorial Only License, the form of attribution should be “Name of Artist / Agency / Shutterstock”. Hope this helps!

  22. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    What happens once we take the free trial version and download the pictures for printing on t-shirts for reselling?
    Are we liable for Copyright infringement for the usage of the images after a free trial?

    Need it urgent!!

    • Hi Pranav, the images in the Shutterstock free trial are coming only with a standard license and therefore can NOT be used for reselling i.e. t-shirts or mugs etc. The license is only for i.e. advertisement etc and not for reselling. Also always be aware that you are liable for the usage of any image (free trial or not). I hope that helps.

  23. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Hi I don’t know what license I need. I am making a dental hygiene book. It will contain about 20 or so photos in it from here. I will be selling the book. But not more than 500,000 copies. Which license do I need?

    • Hi Donna, before I answer, an obligatory disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock agents nor lawyers, so this is for information only and I encourage you to verify this with Shutterstock directly. That said, as explained in section #2 of our guide, the Standard License terms in Shutterstock cover print uses including magazines and books, up to 500,000 copies.
      I understand the resale issue is probably where you become dubious. But, if you refer to section #4 of our guide, the Enhanced License is only required when the images are to be integrated into merchandise, but publications do not fall under this criteria.
      Every time the images in your book are there to add value, but are NOT the value in themselves, and provided you don’t exceed the 500,000 copies, we think a Standard License would suffice. Again, you should definitely verify this with Shutterstock before using the photos.
      Hope this helps!

  24. I don’t know if Shutterstock and their License is right for me

    I wish to cancel

    • Hi David, could you be more specific? Do you mean that you wish to cancel your Shutterstock subscription? If so, you can do it directly on your account settings on their website. Keep in mind that all images you download and have already used in a design, are yours to use forever even after canceling your subscription. Hope this helps.

  25. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I am a wildlife artist using images for reference for paintings that I then sell. Usually this is a composite of several different photo sources but not always. Is the standard licence adequate for this? What if I want to sell prints of the artwork in limited edition runs of up to 100 prints?

    • Hi Georgina, what you describe would fall under the label of derivative work, and the Shutterstock license does not allow for this kind of use, neither on its Standard nor Extended license. Furthermore, there is an explicit prohibition to infringe on the image artist’s copyright, trademark, and other individual rights. This is why using stock photos as a reference for artwork is usually not permitted.
      However, Shutterstock does encourage you to contact their Customer Service if the rights you need are not listed on their license agreement, and we suggest you reach out to a Shutterstock representative directly to verify whether they have a license option suitable for your needs. But do not proceed with your intended use without confirming with the agency.
      Hope this helps!

  26. Something else…

    Thank you for the information. I’ve purchased licenses for 19 photos from Shutterstock and use them for my report. Per my chat with Shutterstock agent, she advised me to “lock” my report so that no one can take images from my report. Ok. I did that. The agent did not mention putting attribution or photo credit. So do I still need to add “photo credit:”?

    • Hi BK,

      According to Shutterstock’s license agreement, in the Restrictions segment (see point #3 in our guide above), point 1.2.i says you cannot in any way make it seem like the content is yours. Adding to that, the point 1.5 (Credit and copyright notices) establishes in point 1.5.a that: “The use of Images and Video in connection with news reporting, commentary, publishing, or any other “editorial” context, shall be accompanied by an adjacent credit to the Shutterstock contributor and to Shutterstock in substantially the following form: “Name of Artist/”” – So yes, you are required to include attribution in the photo, in the detailed format.
      If your report only contains images from Shutterstock, it is often possible to simply include one general photo attribution for all images, in the credits section of your report. But you need to verify this with Shutterstock directly.
      Hope this helps!

  27. With the Shutterstock enhanced license, is it possible to print and download an image as is (without making any edits) and resell the print?

    • Hi TJ, obligatory note that we are not Shutterstock representatives so this answer is for orientation only, and we recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to verify this info. Upon review and advice from our resident licensing expert, I am told that yes, you very likely can sell prints of unedited images with an Enhanced license. Again, it’s always best to verify with the agency directly.
      Hope this helps!

  28. I have a question about the Shutterstock License


    Could you clarify for me please if it is allows to use this image on commercial products?

    Best Regards,

    • Hi there. We are not Shutterstock, so we strongly advise you to verify this and any other licensing inquiry with them directly, our answers are for orientation only.
      That said, the image you linked appears to be available for an Enhanced license, which is the type of license you need for using it on commercial products. So providing you buy it under an Enhanced license, you should be able to use it in your intended way.
      Again, please verify this with the agency before downloading, for your peace of mind.
      Hope this helps!

  29. Helpful article for those of us who go blank when reading legal jargon. I was still confused about a few things so I just contacted their support team and they clarified about the standard license for things like flyers and hats (like the real life example in your article). I was surprised to learn this would NOT be covered under the standard license. For merchandise meant for “promotional” use, meaning it’s not for sale (like flyers, hats, bookmarks, postcards, etc that you give out for free), you need the enhanced license. I was disappointed and surprised but the service rep even double checked with their management and sent me a link. They assured me even free handouts aren’t covered under standard licenses.

    • Hi C, thank you for your comment. We will make a correction to our real-life example in the article. In our expert’s opinion, the hats can potentially fall under Enhanced license even if they’re free, due to being considered “merchandise” regardless, but flyers and brochures are usually covered by Standard license as far as we are aware. We will seek more clarification about this specific point if possible. This is why we always recommend contacting Shutterstock directly as licensing terms can be somewhat ambiguous and only the agency has the last word, so it’s great that you did just that. Thanks again 🙂

  30. Hi there,
    I am just looking for clarification on what sort of license I would need. I make hand made journals, and for others to replicate what I have made you can create a digital kit to sell. This can be anything from one page with 12 images on it or several pages with different images. Average price is about $5 for someone to buy and download the images.

    If I was to buy a shutterstock license would this be regarded as a commercial license? As I would be making images directly to sell but in a digital format where others can print them out. I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn’t even come close to selling 500,000.

    Or do I need to make slight changes such as adding boarders etc to make sure they fit in the standard license category?
    I would of course let my customers know that these images came from shutterstock, and most times in a digital kit I would always be adding 50% of images from my journals, but I would also like to add your images on separate pages of the same kit, so there is no overlap.
    would this be ok and what license would you recommend?

    • Hi Wenn, we are sorry, but we can not give you a definitive answer to this question. I recommend reaching out to Shutterstock directly. They can certainly give you a definitive answer. We think that you might need an extended or enhanced license, but we can’t tell for sure. Thank you for your understanding.

  31. I don’t know if Shutterstock and their License is right for me

    It’s unclear what license I would need for making craft stamps and paper collections. I assume I would need the enhanced

    • Hi KAJ, if you are intending to sell these stamps and paper collections then yes, an Enhanced license would be required. But we are not Shutterstock representatives so always consult with them directly to verify about which license you need.
      Hope this helps!

  32. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Am I legally allowed to use a licensed Shutterstock photo for use in a book? The book will be widely available in retail stores.

    • Hi Lucas, we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so my answer is for orientation only. You should be able to use Shutterstock photos in a book, keeping in mind print run limits: A Standard license covers only up to 500,000 copies, for more than that, you need an Enhanced license which covers an unlimited number of copies. However, I recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to verify your intended use and which license would serve you best.
      Hope this helps!

  33. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Hi. can i use images bought on shutterstock with a standard licence, on my Instagram account which is a creators account, without giving credit to shutterstock? or do i have to take the enhanced license?

    • Hi Shivali, the Shutterstock Standard license covers the use of images in social media, and you are not required to credit Shutterstock or the artist. However, you cannot in any way imply that the image(s) are yours or that you created them. That is not allowed with Standard nor Enhanced licenses. I recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to make sure you get the right license for your purposes.
      Hope this helps!

  34. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Hello. Thank you for writing this article about Shutterstock licenses. I do plan on using a few Shutterstock images in a book that will also be created in print form. Do you think it would make sense to use the standard licenses to start out with, but if the book begins to sell near 500,000 copies, the go ahead and purchase the enhanced licenses for each of the pictures?

    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your interesting question. I always feel that if you sell 500,000 copies, you should have enough money to buy the extended license later. But if you want to be on the safe side, buy it now, and you never need to think about it. That’s obviously only my opinion.

  35. I have a question about the Shutterstock License


    I was wondering if I could use images of a famous person (like Greta thunberg) from shutter stock, to create/sell T-shirt’s?. it would be a positive image (not derogatory).


    • Hi Phil, we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers; our answer is based on our knowledge of the industry and the agencies’ licenses. Still, we can tell you that Shutterstock does NOT allow the use of any of their celebrity photos for commercial use (such as t-shirts for sale would be).
      Images of famous people on Shutterstock are under a strict Editorial Use Only license and can only be used to illustrate news and other editorial content. Furthermore, most stock photo sites do the same. Famous people hardly ever sign model releases authorizing the indiscriminate use of their likeness for commercial gain, so it’s almost impossible to find such images under commercial-use license, anywhere.
      Of course, you should contact Shutterstock directly to get their official answer.
      Hope this helps!

  36. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I own a copyright (c) Hale 1958 photo. I am selling the photos now. I want to keep
    all rights for retail sales.
    How can I talk to a Shutterstock representive?

  37. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Can I publish an image in a commercial book? What is the cost per image if so?

    • Hi Christine. We are not Shutterstock representatives, so this answer is for orientation only; you need to contact Shutterstock directly to verify. But the Shutterstock standard license enables using the images in books and other publications, up to 500,000 copies. Images under a Standard license can cost between $0.26 and $9.80 each, depending on the buying method and volume you buy –the lowest prices, under a dollar per image, are with the large subscription plans–.
      If you require more than 500,000 copies, you need an Enhanced license granting you unlimited copies. Those come at a higher price point, between $68 and $99.50 per image, again depending on how many you buy in advance.
      Hope this helps!

  38. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I Purchased a standard license. 10 images per month to download. If I edit those images in any way (I.E. Removing backgrounds or making them 3D, can I use those images in products?

  39. Can you legally paint a purchased shutterstock photo? Can that painting be sold and/or printed for sale E.g. greetings cards?

    • Hi Liz, quick warning, we are not lawyers nor do we work for Shutterstock. I can only give you my own opinion. I don’t think that you can just license a photo from Shutterstock and paint it and then resell it. That seems to be a full copy of that image and might need extended license agreements with the creator of the photo or image. I recommend picking an image from a place where you can get this confirmation or special license from the photographer himself. I hope that helps. I also recommend to reach out with your question to Shutterstock. Maybe they can offer a solution to you.

  40. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I have an enhanced license and want to incorporate a shutter stock image of a boat into one of my photographs of the ocean for resale.
    Is this legal?

    • Hi Heather, first of all, we are not lawyers, nor is this legal advice. We are also not Shutterstock, therefore we always recommend to ask Shutterstock directly. It sounds like are using a part of an image within your own work and then reselling it. Usually reselling of images is not allowed, one exception is, when you incorporate it into a design i.e. Mug or Calender and sell the physical good. If you are allowed to use a boat from a Shutterstock image in your design can not be fully answered. I don’t know if you have obtained an extended license (which you might need) or how you are reselling the image i.e. is it in a print or a digital file or as part of a template (i.e. Website template). Without all this information, I’m unable to give you a honest answer on this. Sorry about it.

  41. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Can I use Shutterstock images, downloading with a standard license/one-time payment per image, in my book?

    • Hi Rasel, we are not Shutterstock, nor is this legal advice. It sounds like the image is only a very small part of your book. Therefore we think that the standard license should be good enough (check your print run, though). I always advise double-checking with Shutterstock directly. I hope that helps.

  42. Something else…

    I would like to make a painting from a Shutterstock image and alter it somewhat. I will sell the painting, prints and apparel. How do I get permission or a listen s to do this or is it even necessary as I am altering the image background and painting it.

    • Hi Melody, this question comes up a lot, and it doesn’t have a simple answer. First of all, we are not Shutterstock representatives and we are not lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only.
      Depending on how much you use the photo for reference, this could be considered derivative work or not, and be or be not covered by the Shutterstock license. Our best advice is to contact a Shutterstock representative directly, as they’re the only ones who can tell you whether your intended use is accepted or not.

  43. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Just wanted emphatic understanding of the commercial use of shutterstock photos

    • Hi Nelly, I am not quite sure what you mean by “empathic understanding” of using Shutterstock photos. Do you feel we did not cover the buyer’s needs fully with our explanation of the license options? I’ll be happy to assist, but I need more clarification on what information you are missing.

  44. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Hi! I am planning to start a spice business . If I use a photo image as a back ground fro my recipe cards ;labels and website -Which would be the best license suited for me . Secondly , once I choose an image ,would no other company be able to use it for commercial purpose .Thanks

    • Hi Jyoti, first of all, we are not Shutterstock and we are not lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only. That said, the uses you describe might require different licenses. For example, a standard license from Shutterstock would cover using the image on your website and recipe cards, but to use the photo in your product labels you might need an Enhanced license. I recommend you contact Shutterstock directly so they can tell you which license you need in those cases.
      As per your second question, you do NOT get exclusive usage rights over any image you buy at Shutterstock. They’re all royalty-free and non-exclusive. This means you can buy an image and use it, but so can everyone else.
      Hope this helps!

  45. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    can i use shutterstock images to create a picture book for children to sell on amazon using a standard license? The page will include the picture and may include two to three words. For example, the alphabet book will have a letter “A” and will show a picture of an airplane. I plan to publish less than 500,000 copies of the picture book.

    • Hi Sean, we are not lawyers, nor can we give legal advice, but this sounds like you would need an extended license because the images you are using are the main part of your book (and which generates the money). Therefore I think you need an extended license for the images used. But I recommend always checking back with Shutterstock.

  46. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    what is an extended licence

  47. Reply Avatar of Malcolm Gillespie
    Malcolm Gillespie April 2, 2023 at 8:24 am

    I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I have purchased a 5 pack from Shutterstock and I want to do some oil paintings based on them.
    I may want to sell the paintings and I may want to use them to compete in art competitions, is that ok legally.

    • Hi Malcolm, we are not Shutterstock representatives, and this is a question better suited for them, as depending on each individual case, this could be considered derivative work (and not covered by Shutterstock licenses) or be accepted. We recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to verify that you can use their photos this way, and which license applies in case you do.

  48. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I am a professional who wants to create websites for hotels that contains shutterstock images. Which type of license is suitable for me? Standard or extended?

    • Hi Jan, first of all, we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only. That said, if the hotel companies are your clients, then the Standard license should cover the use on web designs for said clients. Do keep in mind, though, that you would be the owner of the usage rights for the photos, not the hotels. If they wish to use the images from their websites in other designs, they’d need to either commission the design from you or buy their own license. We recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to verify which license you need.
      Hope this helps!

  49. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    What license do I require if I am going to do a painting using an image from Shutterstock as reference . ?

    Is a Standard License good enough?


    • Hi Regan, for this question we recommend you contact Shutterstock directly. Because this type of use could fall under the label of “derivative work” and thus not be covered by their licenses, but that depends on different factors. So it’s best you contact them and explain exactly how you plan to use the image in your painting, so they can confirm if it’s possible and which license you need in that case.

  50. Hi Ivanna and Amos,

    I read through your entire article, each and every question and your replies. I usually don’t write on blogs but I wanted to show my appreciation towards your patient and polite replies to all the questions, even though some of the questions were repetitive.

    I am a photographer who’s considering becoming a contributor on shutterstock and other similar platforms and I came across this webpage while searching for licensing information online. I wanted to get an understanding of customer requirements and how shutterstock deals with customers in terms of licensing, copyright, infringement, liability, etc.

    I found your article to me most informative and your replies so nicely explained. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.


  51. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I’m interested in using a Burberry vector you have available to design som drawer liner paper. Will I have any issues with Burberry?

  52. Will it be possible to use a downloaded copy of a picture that has no face and is double exposure to make it look as if the no face man is a ghost to used for a book cover?

    I made and appointment yesterday with Shutterstock to have a phone conversation with them at 8am today, but have not heard back from them. What shall I do? The line is always busy when I call.

    • Hi Alexia, we always recommend to ask Shutterstock directly since we are not Shutterstock nor lawyers and therefore this is no legal advice. For me it sounds like this is possible with Shutterstock images in general. But send them an email and ask them directly as well.

  53. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    When bringing on a freelance designer, who has a standard license, can they use their design work for our assets? Will we be protected, under that same license?

    • Hi David, quick disclaimer that we are not lawyers nor Shutterstock representatives, so my answer is for orientation only (you need to contact Shutterstock directly for final answers). If the designer has a license to Shutterstock images under their own name, they can indeed use it in a design for you (this would be covered as “client work”) and all the licensing terms will still apply. In this case, you would only be allowed to use the final design the freelancer gave you –you cannot extract a Shutterstock image from the freelancer’s design to use it in another graphic, for example–.
      If you download the Shutterstock images under your name and then hire a freelancer designer to create something with those images for you, this is also permitted. In this case, you get to use the images in any way you want within the licensing terms, outside the freelancer’s work. And the designer must delete the image files as soon as they complete their contract with you, as they cannot use them for anything else.
      Hope this helps!

  54. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I´m writing an ebook for publishing it in Amazon’s Kindle Store. For the book I need lllustrations from Shutterstock. So, do I need Standard License or some other license?

    • Hi Pentti, first a quick disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, our answers are for orientation only. If the images are for illustrative purposes only, a Standard license might suffice. But if the illustrations are the core value in the eBook, you might need an Enhanced license. I strongly suggest you contact Shutterstock directly so their agents can accurately point which license is required for your eBook.
      Hope it helps!

  55. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I am buying a new refrigerator with the capability of door panel customization with art. Can I purchase an image with standard license and print on door panels for personal use? Do I need the extended license instead? Or is this allowed

    • Hi Maria, quick disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, our answers are for orientation only and you must always contact Shutterstock directly for a definite answer. That said, our understanding is that your intended use is covered by Shutterstock’s standard license. If you refer to the point 2 of our guide above, it would fall under the term in section 5: “personal, non-commercial use (not for resale, download, distribution or any commercial use of any kind)”.
      Hope this helps!

  56. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Hi I was wondering if the standard lisence covers using the pics /music on you tube? And then if you want to use the picture in a book that your writing and selling you would need a different lisence?

    • Hi Kendra. Quick reminder that we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only, for a final answer you need to contact Shutterstock directly. As for images, the Standard license covers using them in YouTube, in projects with budgets up to $10,000. It also covers the use in books, for illustration purposes, up to 500,000 prints. For unlimited budget/prints, you would need an Extended license.
      Music is under a different license, though. The Shutterstock standard music license lets you use the music in YouTube productions for Personal Use only, meaning in content where you spent less than $4,999 in aggregate to promote or advertise. We suggest you contact Shutterstock directly to verify which license you need for music in your case.
      Hope this helps!

  57. Something else…

    Can you purchase the licenseable photos on shutterstock to use in an e-book, or to decorate the pages of an e-book?

    • Hi Jessica. Quick disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock nor lawyers, our answers are for orientation only. That said, yes, it’s possible to use Shutterstock images on e-books. If you refer to point 2 of our guide above, the Standard image license grants use in digital publications (including e-books) with an unlimited number of views. Do keep in mind that this use refers usually to illustrative purposes, if the images are the core value of the publication then it might be considered “product for resale” and then an Enhanced license is required. We recommend you contact Shutterstock directly to verify what license is best for your intended use. Hope this helps!

  58. Hi,

    If i buy an image or vectors from shutterstock royalty-free (standard license) and modify the visual by doing my own creation – and sale it on Etsy as a digital wall art is it OK ?
    What are the rules when u do your own creation with a stock image ?

    I never use editorial pictures….


    • Hello,

      Based on Shutterstock’s Extended License, reselling designs as digital wall art on platforms like Etsy may not be permissible. It’s essential to consult Shutterstock’s licensing terms or seek legal counsel to determine the allowed uses. This is not legal advice.


  59. Reply Avatar of Rosemarie R. Wilk-Orescan
    Rosemarie R. Wilk-Orescan October 11, 2023 at 7:30 pm

    I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    Use of images by a commercial entity in slide presentations shown to an audience? Images purchased by agency creating slide presentations. How should this be handled to be copyright compliant?

    • Hi Rosemarie, Thank you for reaching out. If you’ve acquired the appropriate license for the stock photos you’re using, you should be compliant with copyright regulations. Please ensure you’ve reviewed the specific terms of the license for any restrictions or requirements. I’m not sure what you mean with “copyright complaint”. Where should it come from? Just also keep in mind this is not legal advice nor are we lawyers. Please always ask your legal department as well.

  60. I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I would like to paint a picture using an image. What licence do I need to sell the painting

    • Hi Henry, first of all we are not Shutterstock and therefore can not give you legal advice. But how I understand the License, the specific details provided in the license do not explicitly address whether you can paint an image from Shutterstock. In many cases, creating a painting based on a copyrighted image could be considered a derivative work, which might require special permission or licensing. Therefore I can only recommend to reach out to Shutterstock’s customer support to check this in detail. I rather would go and find a great photographer and ask him personally if you can use his images for a painting and for reselling.

  61. I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    How much do I pay for the enhanced license to put print on a shirt and sell for retail?

  62. Something else…

    I want to use a Shutterstock image in a college essay. Do I need to purchase the image for this or do I just give credit to Shutterstock in the citations?

    • Hi Heather, quick disclaimer that we are not Shutterstock representatives so our answer is for orientation only. You would need to contact Shutterstock directly for a final answer. That said, to our knowledge you need to purchase a license to use a Shutterstock image in academic work.
      Hope this helps!

  63. 🤓 I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    I would like to print shutterstock images on canvas and sell them online. Can I use the enhanced license for this? Do I need to alter the image in order to print it on canvas and sell it or can I just print the image as is on the canvas and sell it with the enhanced license?

    • Hi Heather. First of all, we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only. That said, we recommend you contact the agency directly for this, because while the standard practice is that you need to alter the stock image somehow in order to use it in a product for resale –with an Enhanced license–, sometimes agencies allow the use of non-edited pictures in certain cases. We do not know what criteria Shutterstock applies for such cases so you must ask them directly.
      Hope it helps!

  64. 🤨 I have a question about the Shutterstock License

    I want to use a Shutterstock photo as a reference to do an oil painting that I intend to sell. What licence do I need? Do I still need the photographer’s permission to make this art work if I buy the image from Shutterstock.

    • Hi Angela. Quick disclaimer: we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only. That said, this question is more complex than it sounds. What you describe would usually fall under “derivative work” and wouldn’t be allowed with neither a standard or an enhanced license. Especially if the final work is to be sold (commercial use). However, we recommend that you contact a Shutterstock representative directly and consult with them, because the agency can evaluate a customer’s intended use on a case-by-case basis and authorize it (or not).
      Hope this helps!

  65. 🤓 I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Can I use images downloaded during the free trial period and use those images even if I cancel the trial?

    • Hi Riaan. Quick note: we are not Shutterstock representatives nor lawyers, so our answers are for orientation only. So, according to the terms of the free trial, you can download and use up to 10 images during the trial and use them under a Standard license, and you may continue using them once your trial expired. However, it’s important to note that usually this applies to images that are in-use (in a published design), but images you downloaded and have not yet used may expire along with the trial. I strongly recommend you contact Shutterstock directly and verify this with them.
      Hope it helps!

  66. 🤓 I need more Information about the Shutterstock License

    Hi, I want to buy an image to print onto plastic nursing reference cards related to the topic on the card – I own a company that sells these and while small, hope to grow it. I’m unsure which license I require for this. At the moment I would probably only print 2000 max per year with an image on it.

    • Hi Emma, first as always I would like to let you know that we are NOT Shutterstock and therefore can not talk for them. This is also not a legal advice and we can only give you advice on how we understand their license. According to your description it sounds like you are creating a product where the main part of the product is the image. Therefore I think that the extended license must be purchased for this image usage. I hope that helps. We always recommend to also contact Shutterstock with your question. Regards Amos

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