12 Shutterstock Alternatives Worth Trying [Free and Paid]

Discover the best Shutterstock alternatives just in time for your next project! Here are 11 free and paid options, including stock photo and image creation site

Published on Jun 04, 2024

Shutterstock is a go-to site for finding stock visuals and audio. According to SimilarWeb, its traffic numbers routinely sit at over 64 million site visits per month.

Shutterstock SimilarWeb traffic chart

And with the release of Shutterstock’s AI art generator in January 2023, it’s now also a go-to for creating unique visuals. 

But what if you’re not a Shutterstock fan or you can’t find what you’re looking for there? In either case, here are 12 of the best Shutterstock alternatives. We’ll start by going over the drawbacks of Shutterstock and then dive into options that have features for creating custom images and videos.

Why you should consider a Shutterstock alternative

No contract commitment

Canceling a Shutterstock account can be a real pain because they lock you into annual rates for commercial use. With Shutterstock alternatives, you won’t have to deal with contracts and you can cancel or downgrade your account at any time. This gives you more flexibility and control over your marketing budget.

Many stock photo sites offer pay-as-you-go options where you only pay for the images you need instead of committing to a monthly or annual subscription. This can save you money in the long run, especially if you only need a few images here and there.

Plus, with no contract commitment, you can easily switch to a different stock photo site if you find a better deal or more suitable images elsewhere.

Bad customer service

According to reviews on G2, Shutterstock has uncooperative customer service, unable to help you out if you’re trying to cancel or downgrade your plan. There have also been many reports that after signing up for a free trial, they were locked into a paid plan without consent. This can be frustrating and costly, especially for small businesses on a tight budget.

On alternative platforms, you may experience better customer service as many of them are smaller companies that prioritize their customers and communicate more effectively. You can also find reviews from other users on sites like G2 or Capterra to ensure you're choosing the right site for your needs.

Limited content variety

While Shutterstock boasts millions of images in their library, it may not have the exact content you're looking for. This is especially true if your brand has a specific aesthetic or target audience.

Alternatives to Shutterstock may offer more diverse and niche content that caters to different industries and demographics. Some sites even specialize in certain types of imagery, such as vintage photos or illustrations, providing unique options for your marketing materials.


As mentioned earlier, pay-as-you-go options can save you money if you only need a few images here and there. In addition, many Shutterstock alternatives offer more affordable subscription plans for high volume users compared to Shutterstock's expensive annual rates.

Some alternatives even have free options or free trials for new users to test out their service and decide if it's the right fit for them. This can be a great way to save money and find the perfect site for your business needs.

6 Shutterstock alternatives with image customization options

The following are the best sites for creating unique, original visuals—even if you only have beginner-level design skills.

1. Jasper Art

First up is our AI image generator, Jasper Art. It’s a lifesaver when you want an easy way to create unique visuals without spending hours creating images and artwork manually. 

As we all know, stock photos can come in handy when you don’t have the time or budget to schedule a photo shoot. However, since they’re so generic and the same images are often overused, they lack the uniqueness you need to make your work stand out. 

With Jasper Art, you can create unique images that are tailored to your project—and you can generate them in a fraction of the time it would take to create them from scratch. Simply write a prompt and, optionally, adjust the image settings. You can even upload an image for inspiration. In seconds, Jasper will give you four options to choose from. 

Jasper Art as a Shutterstock alternative

Alternatively, you can use Art Templates to create certain types of images with even fewer inputs than the free form option. The cool thing is: There’s an option to create completely original stock photography. Instead of downloading the same photos everyone already has access to, you can make your own and put them to use in your marketing before anyone else does. 

Jasper Art templates library

Top features:

  • Text-to-image generation: Create an image or work of art based on a written prompt or description of what you want. 
  • Image-to-image generation: Upload an existing image and have Jasper customize it based on your instructions. 
  • Settings: Use the drop-downs for mood, medium, style, and so on to add more context to your prompt and generate the perfect visual.
  • Templates: Select categories like “Realistic Person,” “Product Photography,” or “News graphic” to create images more suitable for marketing or business with fewer inputs. 


  • Jasper is the only Shutterstock alternative on this list that allows you to create unique stock photos. The others only offer stock options from other creators or allow you to tweak pre-made templates and design elements. 
  • You’re free to use images created with Jasper Art for both personal and commercial projects.
  • All images are available in three different resolutions so you can use the images you choose with little to no editing. 
  • On the paid plan, there are no limits on the number of images you can generate. 
  • Just like our AI writing assistant, Jasper Art is available in over 30 languages.


  • Jasper Art doesn’t have a free plan (but you can try it for free for five days). 
  • For the time being, there’s no way to secure exclusive rights to the images you generate. 

Pricing: There’s a 7-day free trial during which you can generate up to 200 high-resolution images with no watermark.

2. Canva

As you probably know, Canva is one of the most popular tools for creating professional-looking images quickly. It has a huge library of templates and assets and makes customizing them easy with drag-and-drop functionality. Canva has made design accessible to non-designers—many marketers included. 

Canva screenshot

Top features:

  • Templates: Choose from and customize thousands of high-quality designs for marketing, social media, and more. 
  • Brand: Create a brand kit with your fonts, logos, and colors, and create reusable brand templates. 
  • Content Planner: Schedule your social media posts from within Canva.


  • Canva has a massive library of millions of royalty-free images, icons, videos, and audio, some of which are available on the free plan. 
  • Canva is user-friendly and great for people without much professional design experience. 
  • In addition to the web version, Canva is available for Android and iOS so you can create visuals on the go. 


  • Since there’s no way to filter out paid design elements, it can sometimes be time-consuming to find free options that you like. And this is on top of the time it already takes to design images in Canva, making instant image generation tools like Jasper Art even more appealing. 
  • Users sometimes have image and video quality issues such as blurriness after downloading. 

Pricing: Canva has a free plan and paid plans starting at $12.99. 

3. Storyblocks

Storyblocks is a subscription-based service. It offers unlimited downloads of stock video, audio, images, music, and sound effects. It’s especially useful for marketers and others with a focus on video content, since it has an online video editing tool built in. 

using Storyblocks as a Shutterstock alternative

Top features:

  • Royalty-free licensing: Take advantage of individual or business licensing, both of which include indemnification. 
  • Usage rights filter: Save time by limiting your search results to images approved for commercial or editorial use. 
  • Maker: Select from the video library and use the Maker video editing tool to easily make customizations. 


  • Unlike many paid alternatives that have download limits, Storyblocks allows unlimited downloads. 
  • Storyblocks is scalable and can be used by freelancers and large teams alike. 
  • You can source content and edit videos with ease thanks to the Adobe Premiere Pro plugin. 


  • Many users wish Storyblocks had a larger and more diverse selection of images, videos, and other assets.
  • Search results sometimes load slowly and don't always return the best results right away. 

Pricing: Storyblocks has pricing for individuals starting at $15 per month (billed annually). You can also request monthly pricing or pricing for business.

4. Freepik

Freepik is another online platform that offers a wide range of high-definition images, illustrations, vectors, icons, and Photoshop Document (PSD) files. Thousands of these assets are available for free and can be used for personal or commercial projects (attribution required). Millions more are available on the Premium plan with no attribution required. 


Top features:

  • Quick edit: Filter by images that can be edited in Freepik’s photo and illustration editors. 
  • PSD templates: Get inspiration and create branded visuals using Freepik’s Photoshop templates. 
  • Mockups: Customize images for your brand or products. 


  • Freepik has over 45 million assets in its libraries. 
  • There are around 50,000 new editable assets available daily. 
  • Freepik has an free online photo editor called Wepik, which you can access from many stock image pages. 


  • Unregistered free users have a daily download limit of three and registered free users can only download up to 10 images per day. These limits are low compared to alternatives, including Jasper Art, which allows unlimited downloads! 
  • Video footage, music, and sound effects aren’t part of Freepik’s libraries. If you need these assets, this website won’t be a one-stop shop. 

Pricing: Freepik has a free plan, an individual plan for $24 per month, and a team plan starting at $22.80 per seat per month for two seats. 

5. iStock

Several of the sites on this list, like Pixabay, link to and offer discount codes for iStock. Why? Because the site has millions of premium stock images and videos, including many of which are exclusive to iStock. If you can’t find assets elsewhere—or that haven’t already been overused—this site can save the day. 


Top features:

  • Signature images: Get access to images you can’t find on any other stock photo site. 
  • iStock Editor: Crop and resize, add text and logos, or apply filters to images. 
  • Adobe Creative Cloud plugin: Find images from iStock from within Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. 


  • The AI-powered search allows you to find the images you need faster with natural language queries. 
  • iStock offers credit packs if you prefer to pay as you go instead of signing up for a subscription. 
  • If you don’t hit your download limit for the month, you can roll over unused downloads to the next month. 


  • Some users wish iStock was a freemium site, but currently there are no free downloads. 
  • Besides generally being more costly than alternative sites, images exclusive to iStock are also more expensive.

Pricing: iStock has three subscription plans. Pricing for each is based on the number of downloads you need per month. The Basic plan starts at $40 per month, Premium starts at $99, and Premium + Video starts at $199. Pay-as-you-go credit packs are also available.

6. Depositphotos

Another good option for royalty-free stock photos and music is Depositphotos. It has over 258 million assets available, with more added every two weeks. In addition to assets that can be used commercially, there’s also a huge collection of editorial photos available. 


Top features:

  • Editorial photos: Download images of people, places, events, and more (mainly for use in news-based content)
  • Reverse image search: Find images by uploading a similar one or pasting in an image URL. 


  • Depositphotos has both Android and iOS apps. 
  • Although there are a lot of assets to sift through, the search function and many advanced filters do a good job of returning relevant results. 
  • You can access a variety of related tools from the Depositphotos site, including a graphic design tool, background remover, and image upscaler.


  • Unused downloads don’t roll over on the subscription plans, and the on-demand pricing can be high. 
  • You must sign up for an account even to download free images. 

Pricing: Some images and videos are free to download. Depositphotos’ photo and vector subscription starts at $36, and the video subscription starts at $89 monthly. Music and sound effects cost $12.99 monthly for unlimited downloads. On-demand, editorial, and enterprise pricing are also available. 

6 Shutterstock alternatives for finding stock visuals

While the following sites don’t have image editors like most of the tools above, or an image generator like Jasper, they’re still worth bookmarking. They can offer some extra options when you can’t find what you need on other sites. They also come in handy when you’d like to take advantage of Jasper Art’s image-to-image generation capability and need a stock image for the stock photography template, for example. 

1. Pixabay 

Pixabay has more variety than some alternative sites. This makes it a good tool to have in your arsenal if you need more than images. While they vary in quality, this site offers images, videos, vector graphics, illustrations, music, sound effects, and GIFs. 


Top features:

  • Latest and published date filters: Find fresh images easily instead of using the same stock photos that everyone in your industry has been using for years. 
  • Asset type filter: Narrow your search to only images (photos, vectors, or illustrations), videos, music, sound effects, or GIFs. 
  • Safe search: Filter out explicit or inappropriate images. 


  • You can filter results by type, orientation, size, color, and other criteria like resolution and effects for videos.
  • Pixabay shows sponsored images related to your search query from paid sites like iStock and often offers discount codes.
  • You can access Pixabay’s more than 2.7 million images, illustrations, vector graphics, and 
  • videos for free via the developer API. 


  • Searches don't always return relevant results. When they do, some users feel that the images are generic. 
  • Some users have reported that the Android and iOS mobile apps are glitchy. 

Pricing: Pixabay is free.

2. Burst

Burst by Shopify doesn’t have as big a library as some of the other platforms we’ve talked about. Nor does it offer illustrations, vectors, videos, or the other bells and whistles that other sites do. But it does have over 20,000 free photos for websites, blogs, and commercial use. The ability to integrate these directly into a Shopify store makes Burst especially handy for ecommerce marketers. 


Top features:

  • Collections: Check out the latest and most popular royalty-free photos grouped by subject. 
  • Business ideas: Browse themed ecommerce photo collections meant to inspire you to start a business in a trending niche. 
  • Create a website from a photo: Create a Shopify store directly from a photo page. 


  • The image quality is similar to (if not better than) that of paid stock photo sites. 
  • If you sign up via email, you can get early access to photos and other Burst content. 
  • Shopify users can open Burst from their store admin panel. 


  • Some categories have very few images available, forcing users to source images elsewhere. 
  • There are only two resolution options for downloads—high and low. 

Pricing: Burst is free. 

3. Pexels

Pexels is another good option for stock photography. While many of its images are generic (as are most stock images), they’re typically high-quality. Since they're free to use and modify for personal or commercial purposes, they can be a great starting point.


Top features:

  • Filters: Find what you’re looking for faster by filtering out images and videos based on size, orientation, preset colors, or specific hex codes. 
  • More like this: When viewing an image, see others like it to more quickly find the right fit. 
  • Collect: Save time by adding the images or video footage you like to collections for later use. 


  • All images and videos on Pexels are free to use and modify without attribution. 
  • The website is completely free to use. 
  • There are Android and iOS apps, a Chrome extension, a Google Slides add-on, and plugins for Figma, Sketch, and more. 


  • Some categories or topics have fewer images than others. 
  • The more specific the query you enter, the less likely the search function is to return relevant results. 

Pricing: Pexels is free. 

4. Unsplash

If you’re looking only for images and don’t need video or audio, Unsplash can be a good place to start. This site features over a million high-resolution images that are free to use and modify for personal or commercial projects. For convenience, it’s available for macOS and iOS, as a Chrome extension, and as a plugin for Figma and WordPress. 


Top features:

  • Visual search: Upload an image or input an image URL to find similar photos. 
  • Collections: Sift through collections of relevant images by other users to find usable options faster. 
  • Follow: Keep a short list of photographers who create high-quality images that are relevant to your needs. 


  • Unsplash’s search bar features trending searches, topics, and collections for faster navigation. 
  • If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Unsplash, it often offers discount codes for paid sites like iStock. 
  • You have the option to hire photographers through Unsplash to take professional photos for you. 


  • The text search function is not as strong as it could be, making it tricky to narrow down your image search.
  • Unsplash sprinkles in ads so subtly that users often click on images from paid sites like Shutterstock and iStock by mistake, which can be frustrating. 

Pricing: You can use Unsplash for free or upgrade to Unsplash+ for $20 per month. 

5. Adobe Stock

One of the most popular Shutterstock alternatives is Adobe Stock. It has a massive library of assets with a good mix of simplistic stock photos and more complex, specific images. And while you can download an image and go, you can also adapt the available templates for your brand. 

Adobe Stock

Top features:

  • Curated collections: Check out the best hand-picked photos by theme. 
  • Find similar: Filter search results by similarity to quickly find the perfect image. 
  • Templates: Get a head start on custom designs with templates for Photoshop, InDesign, and more. 


  • You can find royalty-free high-resolution photos from within Adobe Creative Cloud apps like InDesign and Illustrator. 
  • The ability to preview watermarked, premium images in your designs before you license them helps to control costs. 
  • Besides photos, Adobe Stock also offers access to illustrations, vector graphics, videos, audio, templates, and fonts. 


  • Adobe Stock’s licensing is more complex than alternatives like Jasper Art which give you free rein to use images as you please. Extra care is necessary to ensure that you stay within the boundaries of your selected license type. 
  • Depending on which assets you need and how many, costs can add up fast. 

Pricing: Adobe Stock has a limited library of free assets. Its paid plans start at $29.99 per month. 

6. Kaboompics

Very similar to Unsplash, Kaboompics is a free stock photo website you can use for just about any type of design work, marketing content included. One cool thing about this platform is that you can search images by color, making it extremely powerful when you want to find images that are on-brand or consistent with other design assets.

Kaboompics free Shutterstock alternative

Top features:

  • Download full photoshoots: Sometimes you find design assets on stock photo platforms that you really vibe with but it’s hard to hunt down similar images. Kaboompics takes the work out of the equation by letting you download entire photoshoots.
  • Color search: Like we mentioned above, you can search by any color you want by using the convenient slider alongside a keyword search.


  • Free to use assets 
  • The text search function is not as strong as other platforms, which can sometimes make things difficult if you’re looking for something specific.
  • Attribution is not required, even if you modify photos for commercial use.


  • The photo library isn’t that large compared to other platforms, making its use over the long-term quite limiting.

Pricing: Kaboompics is free to use.

Which Shutterstock alternatives will you try? 

Between the 11 sites on this list, you could have access to tens of millions of stock images and other assets to complement your marketing efforts or creative projects. But—even better—with Jasper, you can create unlimited fresh images that reflect your brand personality and attract the right people. 

Jasper Art is especially helpful because, unlike many AI image generation tools that are only good for artwork, it’s flexible enough to work for marketers. This is largely thanks to its templates for product closeups, news graphics, realistic people, and even creating original stock photos. 

Plus, it enables image creation at breakneck speed. Forget about spending ages trying to perfect your latest social media graphic or other visual assets in a tool like Canva or Photoshop. Give Jasper some quick creative direction and watch it generate eye-catching images or artwork in seconds. Sign up for your free Jasper Art trial today and experience it for yourself.

P.S. If you could use a hand producing high-quality, high-converting content efficiently, take our AI writing assistant for a spin as well.

Meet The Author:

Nia Gyant

Nia Gyant

B2B SaaS Writer

Nia Gyant is a B2B SaaS content writer with an affinity for martech. She specializes in writing product-led content that generates leads and revenue, and loves tackling thought leadership projects on rapidly-evolving topics like AI.

Marketing Strategy
Design & Creativity

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