Frequently Asked Questions













Why was I automatically re-billed?
Unless you manually opt out, you will be automatically enrolled in our re-billing program. You may opt out at any point during your subscription from within your Account Details. If you do not opt out of the re-billing program, you will be re-billed three days before your current subscription expires, or when you have one allotted download remaining.
Why was I automatically logged out when my colleague logged in? That never happened before...
Shutterstock has updated our website security according to section (23) of both of our Standard and Enhanced Licensing agreements. It reads as follows:

"You agree that you will not share your username and password combination. Your Shutterstock username and password are to be used only by you. Each person that desires to access the Shutterstock site must have his/her own username and password and must purchase a subscription. You may use your subscription on ONE COMPUTER at any one time. If any two users on two separate computers are using the same username and password, we reserve the right to terminate that subscriber's account without refund or prior notice. We reserve the right to monitor accounts and institute mechanical or other means to stop users from sharing their login information."

In accordance to these terms, whenever another person logs in with the same username and password combination, the first user is automatically logged off to notify him or her that someone else is using his or her account. This was put in place as an added security measure to protect our customers from fraudulent use of their account.

What is the difference between a Standard License and an Enhanced License?
There are many differences between the Standard License and the Enhanced License. The links below will help to answer your specific questions regarding these two licenses.

Click here for a grid that compares the two licenses.

Click here for the actual text of a Standard License.

Click here for the actual text of an Enhanced License.

Click here to see all of our subscription plans and prices.

The system won't charge my credit card. Is there something wrong?
If the system is not accepting your credit card, please verify all of the information that was entered, including the credit card number, expiration date, and cvv (security) code. If your credit card is still being declined please contact the company that issued your card for more information. Also, we are happy to assist by processing the charge with you on the phone. You can call us at 1-866-663-3954 or, if outside the US, 646-419-4452.
Why are custom accounts more expensive than your standard subscription plans?
A Shutterstock custom account is designed to meet a client's specific needs that do not fit within our traditional subscription plans. Although these prices are higher as a result, they are considerably lower than most of our competitors' prices. Customers have told us that the multi-user functionality of our custom accounts has, in particular, been very valuable.
Can you contact the photographer and research a particular image for me?
We provide detailed descriptions of each image on our site. All of our images are royalty-free and non-exclusive; therefore we do not contact photographers or research images for our clients. We apologize for the inconvenience.
What is an editorial image?
Editorial images are images that have not been released for commercial use. We do not provide the service of researching and/or obtaining any needed additional releases. Shutterstock makes no representations or warranties whatsoever with respect to the use of names, trademarks, logos, uniforms, registered or copyrighted designs or works of art depicted in any Image. You must satisfy yourself that all necessary rights, consents or permissions as may be required for reproduction of any image have been secured by you. Please review the license carefully.
Can my account be activated without you receiving the actual wire transfer? And why does it take so long?
We do not activate customer accounts until our bank has actually received the wired funds. Wire transfers can take from 5 -10 business days, depending on the location and particular bank that is sending the wired funds. Shutterstock checks our bank accounts for newly deposited wires every day.
How do I print a receipt?
You can find all of your receipts in your account by following these steps:
  1. Login to your account
  2. Scroll to “Purchase History” to view all of your receipts
  3. Choose the transaction in question and print it from your computer

If you require further assistance with finding a receipt, please contact Shutterstock Support at 1-866-663-3954.
Do you sell single images?
We do not provide single image sales, but our subscription plans fit a variety of needs. For pricing information, click here


How can I contact customer support?
The Contact Us link can be found on the bottom of any page within Shutterstock. Please use our online contact form to send us an inquiry, or email support@Shutterstock.com.
How does Shutterstock Work?
Shutterstock offers high-quality licensed photos, vectors, illustrations and videos that you can incorporate into your work. You can choose one of our signature subscription plans and download up to 25 images per day. If you have less consistent image needs, you can also choose one of our On Demand plans which allow you to purchase a certain number of image downloads. Download credits must be used within a year, though once you have downloaded an image you may use it forever. You can license videos On Demand or via subscription by visiting our footage page. We also provide custom accounts and pricing for multi-user accounts and special licensing for print runs exceeding 250,000, and merchandise and media uses.
Can I sell photos, vectors, illustrations and/or footage on Shutterstock?
Yes you can! Please visit Shutterstock Photographer Submissions at http://submit.shutterstock.com.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography is existing photography that can be used for print and web ads, in books and magazines, in news, on websites, in brochures and packaging, and in a large number of custom applications, according to the licensing terms to which the photographer and buyer have agreed. Using an image that already exists saves the purchaser the time and expense of a custom photo shoot.
Do you publish catalogs?
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep costs low for our customers, we do not publish catalogs. Every image in our library can be found on our website.


What browsers are compatible with this website?
Shutterstock is compatible with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Opera on both Macintosh and Windows platforms.
What are the limits on downloads?
You may download up to 25 images per day. Your image-per-day allotment begins the minute your account is activated. In any 30 day-period, you can download up to 750 images! We also offer multi-seat licenses for those who need greater flexibility, and an Enhanced License for more commercial uses.
Can I share my username/password with friends/colleagues?
No. According to our Terms and Conditions only one user is allowed to use your account. Please contact support if you have an interest in Multi-User licenses.
How do I purchase a subscription?
Visit the subscribe page and select the subscription plan that’s best for you, or choose as many plans as you need.
Does my browser need to be able to accept cookies?
Shutterstock uses cookies to hold your username and/or password. No credit card or purchasing data is stored in the cookie. Also, no personal information is stored in any Shutterstock.com cookie.


I am registered/subscribed and storing images in a lightbox -- how long will the lightboxes be there?
Your images will remain in your lightbox until you delete them, even after your current subscription has expired.
What is a Lightbox?
A Lightbox is used to store a group of images that you would like to eventually download or share with a colleague. You can place images into a Lightbox, and then later download the images, or send the Lightbox link to a friend/colleague for them to review. You are not obligated to download images in your lightbox, and it's entirely up to you how many lightboxes you have, or if you use the images later.
How do I add images to a Lightbox?
There are two ways. When you conduct an image search, the results are displayed as miniatures called thumbs. If you scroll over a thumb, you can add that image to your lightbox by clicking on the light bulb icon directly beneath the thumb. This will generate a dropdown box, prompting you to “add to lightbox.” If this is your first lightbox, you will choose “new,” and will be able to save the lightbox with whatever title you prefer. Thereafter, you may continue to add other images to that particular lightbox, or continue creating other lightboxes, depending on your needs.

The other way is to click on the image itself, which will bring up the image on your screen to full-size. You will see to the lower left of the image the same lightbulb icon and the words “add to lightbox.” Click on this and the same dropdown box will come up and simply repeat the process stated above.

How do I share a Lightbox with a colleague/friend?
Once you have created a lightbox, you have the option to email it to a third party. Just enter the email address and click 'send.' You can also share lightboxes with other Shutterstock users by clicking on the “share” button and entering the username of another Shutterstock subscriber.


What if the site is not accepting my username/password or email address, even though I know the information is correct?
You are probably trying to log in at the wrong site. Photographers and Illustrators login at: submit.shutterstock.com, but subscribers must use www.shutterstock.com. If problems persist contact support@shutterstock.com.
Can I have more than one subscription plan active at the same time?
Yes - you can combine Standard and Enhanced License plans on the checkout page. If you have more than one active subscription plan, you will choose the license at the time of download.
After my membership expires, can I continue to use the photos I downloaded?
Yes. You must first use the images within six months of the expiration date of your subscription. Once you have used the images within this time period you may continue to use them indefinitely. Under the terms of our licenses, you may not stockpile unused images for use at a later date.
What is the Most Popular sort order?
For each image in our library, we calculate a popularity score based on the total number of downloads, the length of time the image has been available to customers on our site, and a number of other proprietary metrics. Organizing your search results by Most Popular images first, currently the default setting, ensures that you'll see the images we have identified as the highest-quality images most relevant to your search. Additional sorting options include “Newest First,” “Oldest First,” and “Random.”
Can I contact a photographer to get a missing image?
We provide detailed descriptions of each image on our site. All of our images are royalty free and non-exclusive therefore we do not contact photographers or research images for our clients. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Which currency do you charge in?
We charge either in USD, or in the official currency of your home country, if we support your currency. You can check to see if we support your currency by visiting our pricing page. If you see a USD price on your screen, the actual conversion to your local currency is done by your credit card company at the moment of the purchase, based on our fixed USD price. Any charge beyond this conversion rate is a surcharge added by your credit card company for the conversion.
What is your refund policy?
Since you may view our actual images and the image size information upfront, we regret that we cannot provide refunds.
What are Editorial images?
Editorial images are images that have not been released for commercial use. We do not provide the service of researching and/or obtaining any needed additional releases. Shutterstock makes no representations or warranties whatsoever with respect to the use of names, trademarks, logos, uniforms, registered or copyrighted designs or works of art depicted in any Image. You must satisfy yourself that all necessary rights, consents or permissions as may be required for reproduction of any Image have been secured by you. Please review the license carefully.
How do I remove my email address from your mailing lists?
Just login to your account, and visit the 'My Account' link from the header of any Shutterstock page. You can opt out of any list from inside the Members section.
Can I download the same image more than once?
Shutterstock does allow a re-download period. For the 25-A-Day subscription plans, you can access images you have already downloaded as long as your account is active. Downloading the same image more than once will not count extra on your daily allotment. You can download the same image several times but Shutterstock will only count it once.

Re-downloads for Enhanced License plans will only be available for one week (168 hours) after the initial download of an image. For a supersize image, this means seven days from when the image is originally downloaded. After the seven day period, it will count against your subscription to download the image again. If your subscription term ends before this one week period expires for a downloaded image, the image will still be available for download for the same one week term.

How do I print a receipt of my purchase?
You can find all of your receipts in your account by following these steps:
  1. Login to your account
  2. Scroll to “Purchase History” to view all of your receipts
  3. Choose the transaction in question and print it from your computer

If you require further assistance with finding a receipt please contact Shutterstock Support at 1-866-663-3954.
What are the different levels of Shutterstock subscriptions?
You can subscribe for one month (30 days), three months (90 days), six months (180 days) or one year (365 days). The full year subscription offers the best deal at a deep discount. We also offer an Enhanced License for print-runs exceeding 250,000 copies, as well as other media and merchandise uses.

For companies and organizations that require multiple employee access points, we offer a Multi-User license. These licenses can be customized according to how many access points and how many downloads are required. Please contact us by phone or email for more information and a customized quote.

What is Auto Renewal?
Auto Renewal is a convenient option that allows you to automatically continue your subscription without interruption, and does so at your initial subscription price and term, so that any price changes during the next 15 months will not affect you. You can cancel Auto Renewal at any time from your Shutterstock home page or by emailing Support.
What if I forgot my username or password?
No problem. Just visit the Forgot your password? link beneath the Subscriber Login to have your username and password sent to your email address.
What is the benefit of a customized or multi-seat license?
Sharing your username and password is against our Terms of Service, but we do offer multi-seat licenses to customers who need more than one point of access for their company or organization For more information or to price a multi-seat license, please speak to someone on our sales staff at 1-866-663-3954 (inside USA) or 1-646-419-4452 (international).
How do you protect my credit card information?
All of your information is stored in a protected database on a secure server in a secure location.


Does the image I download have a watermark on it?
Images downloaded with a purchased subscription will not be watermarked.
How does your licensing work exactly?
All images are royalty-free. Detailed information can be found on our licensing page.
If I modify an image, can I claim copyright to that image?
You may modify an image and use it; however, you may not claim copyright to that image. Shutterstock and/or its suppliers continue to own all images, whether or not they have been modified.
What is a derivative work?
US Copyright law defines a "derivative work" as a work that is based on (or derived from) one or more already existing works, is copyrightable if it includes what the copyright law calls an “original work of authorship.” Derivative works, also known as “new versions,” include such works as translations, musical arrangements, dramatizations, fictionalizations, art reproductions, and condensations. Any work in which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship is a “derivative work” or “new version.” For more information, please click on this link: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ14.html#derivative/
Can I use images that I download in work-for-hire?
Yes. You can use any photo from Shutterstock for a customer/client project. Please indicate to your client that they do not own and do not have the rights to sell the individual images.
Where can I use Shutterstock images?
According to our Licensing Terms you may use the photos in or on
  • Web sites
  • Multimedia presentations
  • Displays for trade shows
  • Billboards/banners
  • Packaging/labels
  • Broadcast video
  • On business letterhead
  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Office decoration
  • Decoration for restaurants
  • Public areas
  • Decoration in stores
  • And many other uses outlined in our Standard and Enhanced Licensing Terms
  • Do your images have model releases?
    Yes. In instances where photos have recognizable faces in them, those people have signed a model release which is on file in the Shutterstock offices. Some Editorial photos may not be model released. These Editorial photos will be indicated as such, directly below the photo.
    My page shows an ERROR message and there is no image -- what does this mean?
    This means that you are either typing in an invalid image number, or that the photographer has removed this image from the site. Because photographers retain copyright to their images, they have the right to remove a photo from the site at anytime. If you see an image you like or need, it is best to download it as soon as possible.
    Can I create an online gallery of your photos?
    No. We maintain an online gallery, and users can be referred directly to our website. We suggest that you use a Lightbox for the purpose of grouping and sharing images.
    What is a TIFF?
    A TIFF is an uncompressed file format that is available only to our Enhanced License subscribers. Our TIFF files are converted from the same JPEGs that are available under the Standard License. We use the JPEG format to store images in our database.
    What does 'royalty-free' mean?
    “Royalty-free” is a type of a stock photo license that provides for the unlimited use of an image in any media defined in the licensing terms. “Royalty-free” is the opposite of “rights-managed.” A rights-managed image needs a specific license stating the audience and material surrounding the image. All the images on Shutterstock are royalty-free and do not require an individual license. All images are bound by one or both of the two types of licensing agreements.
    What sizes do your photos come in?
    Our images come in Small, Medium, Large, and Super. The Supersized version is created from the Large if the Large is smaller than 15MP. Each image has size information detailed underneath the chosen image.
    Which Terms of Service apply to my account?
    To see which Terms of Service applies to your account, click here.
    Can I sell the images that I download?
    You may not sell the images that you download from Shutterstock. You can use them in design elements, but not offer them for resale or distribution.
    Do you have any 'rights-managed' images?
    No. All images from Shutterstock are royalty-free and subject to our main licensing terms.
    Can I sell templates that include your images?
    You cannot sell templates under our Standard subscription license but we do allow it under our Enhanced subscription license.


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