10 popular Shutterstock alternatives 2023 + the best AI image generators

Table of contents

While Shutterstock is a popular platform to source generic images, pictures, or other media content, its high cost may force you to look at other alternatives. You can find several options quite similar to Shutterstock with premium quality images and videos.

But instead of digging them throughout the internet yourself, you can use our list of the best Shutterstock alternatives to download your choice of images. The Shutterstock alternatives covered here are a mix of AI image generators and stock photo sites.

#1. Photosonic by Writesonic

Shutterstock alternative - Photosonic
Photosonic - AI Image Generator

The popularity of AI image generators has exploded in recent months and the AI art generator Photosonic by Writesonic has generated 9,60,000 images from short text prompts.

Now you may wonder, why are AI image generators gaining popularity as Shutterstock alternatives?

Let’s start by covering the limitations of stock images. More brands today are looking to offer customized products. For such brands, choosing the image, race, ethnicity, gender, and age are important aspects to consider.

Furthermore, what happens when the right stock image is not available? In such scenarios, the company may end up using a picture that doesn’t fit its brand image. Surely, not an ideal situation.

That’s where an AI at generator like Photosonic by Writesonic lets anyone create technically flawless images and paintings that are computer generated from textual descriptions.

This Shutterstock alternative is a web-based tool that uses a state-of-art text-to-image AI model. Widely used by motion artists, marketers, and graphic designers, Photosonic allows you to control the quality, diversity, and style of the images generated.

Key features

  • Photosonic AI image generator is trained on millions of photos to generate realistic and high-quality images.
  • Users can use Photosonic to generate 10 free images every day.
  • The key highlight, Writesonic users can use the AI image generator within the AI writer to generate images simultaneously for your marketing campaigns.

How Photosonic wins over Shutterstock

  • Save $600+ every week using AI generated images.
  • Save 10+ design man hours every week with these AI generations.
  • Generate completely unique images based on your search and stand out from the crowd. You never have to use the same stock photo million others are using anymore.
  • Photosonic generates images that are unique and original, avoiding copyright and licensing issues, unlike Shutterstock which requires users to pay for different levels of licenses and attribution.

Here’s a Shutterstock image compared to Photosonic generation

Shutterstock alternatives
Shutterstock image

We picked the description and keywords from the shutterstock image above and used it in the Photosonic generator

Shutterstock alternative - Photosonic
Photosonic in action

And look at the mind blowing unique generations for free where you also save $349.

Shutterstock alternative - Photosonic
Photosonic AI generated image

Pricing

Photosonic by Writesonic offers free 15 credits for image generations that get credited every day.

Shutterstock alternative - Photosonic
Photosonic pricing

Some other images generated using Photosonic AI image generator -

Shutterstock alternative - Photosonic
AI images generated using Photosonic

#2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock offers designers and businesses access to a large volume of high-quality images, videos, illustrations, vector graphics, 3D assets, and templates. You can choose from a host of royalty-free watermarked images, and, once licensed, a high-resolution version is automatically replaced.

The most prominent feature of Shutterstock alternative Adobe Stock is that it is completely integrated into the Adobe Creative Cloud platform, providing you with direct access to a pool of images within your Adobe. You can find a required asset, edit it, and use it in your creative projects.

Important Features

  • Free online editor allows you to edit the watermarked photos to test images without spending a penny.
  • Advanced search engine with AI to make your search easier.
  • Royalty-free templates for budding designers.
  • Integrates seamlessly with Google Slides making your search easier without leaving your ppt in between.

Pricing

Adobe Stocks offers a one-month free trial. Users are upgraded to the paid plan automatically once the free trial expires. Adobe Stock offers several subscription plans to choose from and starts at USD 49.99 to USD 249.99 per month.

#3. Fotor

Fotor is an online, easy-to-use photo designing tool, for editing and putting life to your projects. Fotor’s one-tap enhance tool can improve the quality of a most common image into a lively creation within the shortest period. This Shutterstock alternative has multiple templates that can be customized according to the needs of a particular project.

Although this stock image website does not only offer standard photo editing tools like adjusting colors, cropping, background remover, and photo enhancer but offers a variety of full and partial filters allowing you to bring light to the specific parts of a picture. The software allows collage creation with customizable borders, stickers, effects, text, and auto resizing and positioning.

Important Features

  • Fotor One-Touch Enhancer Tool to improve all imaging problems with a single click.
  • Foto GoArt is an AI tool that transforms a photo into classical painting style artwork.
  • Comes with a series of guiding tutorials for online photo editing.
  • Advanced photo editing features with professional quality photo effects.

Pricing

If you want to unlock all advanced photo-editing tools, you have to pay the Fotor Pro subscription fee.

You can choose from monthly or yearly plans. The monthly plan starts from USD 8.99 per month per feature, and if you choose to pay annually, you have to pay USD 39.99, which is equal to just USD 3.33 per month.

#4. iStock by Getty images

Previously known as iStockphoto, it is one of the oldest platforms hosting over 400 million elements from over 330,000 world’s best creators. iStock is a popular Shutterstock alternative as it offers an extensive catalog including a huge collection of images, and in addition, provides access to a huge collection of stock videos and audio libraries.

With iStock, you can find most speaking images, curated with the highest quality standards. This stock photo site adds over half a million new photos, illustrations, videos, and audio files every month, thus updating its library.

Important Features

  • Millions of high-value images unavailable anywhere else, including photos, illustrations, vectors, audio, and video files.
  • Comes with an advanced image search tool with innovative filter options like file type, contributor, size, shape, color, file number, and more.
  • Choose from two main categories, Essentials – non-exclusive low-cost images, and Signature – Exclusive expensive images.

Pricing

iStock offers flexible pricing options for individuals, small and large businesses, and corporations. Moreover, standard and premium images are differentiated to help you choose from higher image quality and lower price range.

iStock is free for one month and can be canceled anytime, and you are even allowed to keep images with you. iStock premium plan starts at USD 70 for 10 images.

#5. Depositephotos

Another royalty-free image marketplace Depositphotos was once considered one of the fastest-growing photobanks in the world. It has a collection of over 224 million files of high-quality photos, vectors, videos, and illustrations and is the most popular platform for bloggers and small businesses, especially for those requiring several images per month.

Depositphotos is one of the best Shutterstock alternatives in the market and sells images on demand with various credit packs. You can discover a photo of your choice by just entering your desired topic and clicking on the search button to bring up the results on your said topic.

Important Features

  • Select from over 60 million images.
  • Searchable by category keywords, photographer, color, size, orientation, and even with a reverse image search option.
  • A flexible pricing plan for individuals, SMEs, and enterprise companies.

Pricing

You can choose from various plans with Depositphotos, depending on the volume of images you need. For example, you can choose a plan for USD 9.99 per month with 10 images to download (USD 1.0 per image) or can subscribe for USD 199 per month for 750 images (USD 0.27 per image).

#6. Pond5

Pond5 offers over 49 million images but specializes in licensing stock videos with over 31 million files in its database. With Pond5 you can bring your stories to life with royalty-free stock footage, music, SFX, images, and much more.

Pond5 originally focused on selling video clips but subsequently expanded into other media types including photos, sound effects, 3D models, and Adobe after-effects templates. Pond5 does not own the content, but sells content created by contributors, and earns 50% of the revenue generated.

Important Features

  • Payment flexibility with pay per item, credit packs, or subscription.
  • Find media and download for a free preview.
  • Easy-to-use after-effect templates with seamless transitions.

Pricing

You have the choice to pay per item, purchase a prepaid credit pack, or avail a membership. Prices are mostly set by the contributing artists and vary by media type. For example, video clips start at USD 25, while for a music track, the starting price is USD 5.

#7. Unsplash

Unsplash stands among the most popular photography community, where a user can find an array of artistic and commercial style shots. Unsplash also offers licensing terms for commercial use, so that you can utilize photos for marketing purposes.

Shutterstock alternative Shutterstock has been quoted as one of the world’s leading photography websites as it allows downloaders the right to copy, modify, distribute, and use the photo for free. However, Unsplash terms of service prohibit selling unaltered copies as prints or printed on physical goods.

Important Features

  • Insert beautiful images from Unsplash directly into your designs.
  • Unsplash License allows images to be used for both commercial and personal projects.
  • Over 3 million free high-resolution images are available by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
  • Anyone can join the Unsplash community and they don’t even need fancy equipment to start contributing.

Pricing

Shutterstock alternative Unsplash is free to use for commercial, personal, and editorial use.

#8. Pixabay

What makes Pixabay one of the best Shutterstock alternatives is that you can find all sorts of images on this platform that has nearly 1.7 million images.

All images on Pixabay are royalty-free and come with a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license which allows you to use images both personally and commercially. You can also find royalty-free vectors, illustrations, and videos that are of high-quality.

Important Features

  • Choose the picture you want to download, select the resolution, enter a captcha and the image is ready to be used.
  • Images, illustrations, music, and videos are royalty-free.
  • Pixabay has an extensive catalog of curated images and videos that cover practically every topic, making them the top free stock image website.
  • Having been in the stock image industry for nearly a decade, Pixabay understands the type of content the creative talent is looking for.

Pricing

Pixabay is a royalty-free stock photo site.

#9. Pexels

Although a new entrant in the stock photo industry, Pexels is a free high-resolution photo marketplace and its photo and video library host more than a million royalty-free images.

Similar to Pixabay, all Pexel images fall under CC0 licensing.

What makes Pexels an interesting Shutterstock alternative is that it has more outdoor images such as landscapes, buildings, and beaches, among others. Also, a large number of people-centric photos are available on Pexels.

Important Features

  • You can use Pexel images without permission or attribution.
  • With over 1,500 new images added each month, Pexel has an actively growing content library.
  • It has an intuitive surface and a lot of photos come in larger sizes.

Pricing

Pexels images is free to use.

#10. Photocase

If you are wondering why we included Photocase in our list, the reason is simple. It has high-end stock photography that is unique, artistic, and unique: a collection you are not likely to find elsewhere.

Although this Shutterstock alternative has a relatively small collection of images, it is a great choice for abstract, fine-art, and premium designs with uses in blogs and merchandising.

Important Features

  • A great choice for artistic photos that can be used in editorial and commercial projects.
  • They also offer images individually on demand.

Pricing

The packages start from $15 and are upto $45.

Conclusion

Visual content which used to be the exclusive domain of professional photographers is now the need of the hour. If you’re looking for a Shutterstock alternative that lets you create amazing images from your imagination within seconds, try Photosonic by Writesonic for free.

The best part, you can use Photosonic images the way you like, distribute them, and even create derivative works based on the images without any royalty or attribution.

Manvi Agarwal

Manvi leads content at Writesonic with a product-led content approach. She employs an interactive user-oriented strategy that falls into the category of data-informed as opposed to data-driven.

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with Writesonic!

Discover what writing with AI feels like. See for yourself with a free trial -- we assure you'll save 20+ hours every week.
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Get started with Writesonic!

Discover what writing with AI feels like. See for yourself with a free trial -- we assure you'll save 20+ hours every week.
Try for FREE