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Istock vs. Shutterstock

Istock vs. Shutterstock

There are a lot of stock image service websites out there, and they’re all pretty good at what they do. But the question remains: which site should you use? To help answer that question we’ve put together an in-depth comparison of istock vs. Shutterstock.

The main difference between these two sites is that istock offers more stock image choices than Shutterstock does. This means that if you want to create high-quality stock photos for your business or website, then istock will be better suited to your needs. On the other hand, if you just need some quick, low-resolution images for social media, then Shutterstock will probably suit you better.

In most cases, when you buy a commercial license, you can use your photos in a blog post, which is why I purchase stock photos. 

Free Plans

Both istock and Shutterstock offer free accounts as well as paid plans. The paid plans start from $10 per month (for up to 100 downloads) and go all the way up to $1,000 per month (up to 10,000 downloads). In addition, both companies have a range of different subscription options available. For example, istock has monthly, quarterly, biannual and annual subscriptions while Shutterstock only has monthly and yearly subscriptions.

Advantages of Istock

Istock has a number of advantages over Shutterstock. It’s run by the well-known Getty Images, which has always been a top choice for stock photos. 

These include:

• More Professional Images – istock millions of images, professionally taken. You can also get access to a large selection of royalty-free images that offer extremely high-resolution images.

– Intuitive search function: Is it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for? With istock, you can easily search through thousands of high-quality images using keywords, categories, tags, and even location.

• Better Customer Support – istock offers 24/7 customer support via email, phone, and live chat. If you ever run into any problems with your account, this service is great because it allows you to contact someone immediately.

• Free Stock Photos – istock gives away a huge amount of free stock photos every day with broad image variety. All you have to do is sign up for their newsletter and you’ll receive a daily e-mail full of new photos.

– You can purchase a single image for as low as $12.00 or the essential images plan which gives you 3 images per month for $33 which is $10 per photo. 

– Purchase an annual plan to save on the subscription fees

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– Video Clips – istock has a video clip section where you can find videos of travel, sports, politics, and much more. 

– Exclusive Images: istock has exclusive rights to a library of images featuring many famous photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Martin Schoeller, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber. These exclusive images cannot be found anywhere else online.

– High-Resolution Images: istock offers high-resolution images that are suitable for printing.

– Unused download rollover: When you reach the limit of your free download quota, you’ll still be able to download your remaining unused downloads at no additional cost.

– Built-in image editor: istock provides its customers with a built-in image editor so they can crop, rotate, flip, and resize their images before uploading them to their site.

– Easy to upload: istock makes it simple to upload your files.

– Visual image search: istock lets you search for images based on color, size, and other criteria. 

– No watermarks: istock doesn’t place any watermark on your images. This means you can use these images without worrying about copyright issues.

Advantages Of Shutterstock

Shutterstock has a number of advantages when compared to istock. These include:

• Lower Prices – Shutterstock has lower prices than istock. Its lowest price point starts at $0.99 per image and goes all the way up to around $6.00 per image.

• Huge Library – Shutterstock has lots of images. It has over 1 million images on its servers alone.

• Easy Access – Shutterstock makes it easy to find the images you want by using filters. For example, you can search for specific types of animals, landscapes, people, etc.

– Vector Images – Shutterstock has vector images which are super useful for designers who work with Adobe Illustrator. They’re perfect for creating logos, infographics and icons.

– Photo Editing Tools – Shutterstock lets you edit your images before uploading them. This includes cropping, rotating, adjusting brightness levels, adding text and many more editing tools.

– Video Clips – Shutterstock has a vast library of videos ranging from music clips to political speeches. You can even download videos directly onto your computer.

– Celebrity Photos: Shutterstock has celebrity photos such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce Knowles, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, and many more.

– Offers monthly plans including the starter plan which offers 10 stock photos for $29

– Individual image price includes 2 packs or more, but bring the price per image to $14.50 each when bought in a 2-pack.

Which Site is Better for Selling Photos?

Shutterstock is an excellent place to sell photos. You can earn more money from Shutterstock than iStock. Why? Because Shutterstock has a higher volume of sales. So, if you want to make money selling photos, then Shutterstock is definitely the best choice.

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However, istock still has a lot going for it. It has a wide variety of images, which means there are plenty of opportunities to make money through istock. Plus, istock offers a number of unique features such as the ability to upload videos directly onto your site.

So, in conclusion, Shutterstock is the better choice if you want to sell photos online. But if you just want to use photos for personal purposes, then istock might be a good fit for you.

If you are going to use istock to sell photos, you’ll earn more by making the images exclusive to that platform only, although that will restrict your earning potential. 

Alternatives to istock vs. Shutterstock

If you don’t like either istock or Shutterstock, here are some alternatives that you should check out:

• Fotolia – This website specializes in providing high-quality photos. Unlike istock and Shutterstock, Fotolia doesn’t provide any video content. It offers good quality of images.

• BigStockPhoto – This website is similar to Shutterstock but it focuses mainly on landscape images.

• Depositphotos – This website lets you create your own photo album and share them with others.

Dreamstime – A popular choice among the stock photography industry is Dreamstime. Its geared towards creating professional-looking graphics.

• Photobucket – This website lets you store unlimited photos and videos.

• Picjumbo – This website lets you take advantage of their “PicJumbo” program. With this program, you can get paid to post photos to social media sites.

Adobe Stock – Adobe Stock is another great resource for photographers looking to sell their work online. The best part about Adobe Stock is that they offer three different subscription options. These include the standard membership, the premium membership, and the pro membership. Each subscription costs $9


So, which stock agency should you choose? Well, this really depends on what kind of images you need. If you’re looking for a wide variety of professional images, then istock might be best for you. If you just need a small number of images for social media purposes, then Shutterstock will probably work better for you.

Glossary of Terms:

Royalty-Free Photos: A royalty-free license allows you to use the image without paying a licensing fee every time you use the image. Royalty-free images are usually used for commercial purposes.

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Creative Commons License: Creative Commons licenses allow you to use the image for non-commercial purposes. The only restriction is that you cannot modify the image.

Non-Commercial Use Only: Non-commercial use refers to using the image for personal purposes (such as blog posts).

Commercial Use Only: Using the image for commercial purposes means that you have permission to use the image for business purposes.

Resale Rights: Resale rights refer to the right to resell the image. For example, if you purchase stock images from iStockphoto, you may not be able to resell those images. However, if you purchase images from Shutterstock, you can resell those images.

Attribution Required: When purchasing stock images from a company like iStockphoto, you must include a link back to the original source.

Extended License: An extended license gives you additional usage rights beyond the basic license. For example, an extended license may give you the right to use the image commercially.

Exclusive License: An exclusive license gives you the right to use an image exclusively. You cannot use the same image elsewhere.

Share Alike: Share-alike means that the person who created the image also has the right to use the same image.

Copyrighted Image: Copyrighted images are protected by copyright law.

Non-exclusive image: A non-exclusive license does not give you any ownership rights in the high-quality image.

Limited License: A limited license restricts your ability to use the image. For example, a limited license would prevent you from modifying or altering the image.

Proprietary License: A proprietary license grants you full ownership rights in the image, including the right to make copies.

Licensed Image: A licensed image is one that was purchased with a specific license attached to it.

Exclusive content: Exclusive content is anything that is unique to a particular website or service. It could be a logo, video clip, or even a piece of text.

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