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Standard License vs. Enhanced License

With millions of royalty-free images available, Shutterstock makes it easy to find the perfect picture for your project, but you might be wondering if there are restrictions about where they can be used. While you can use an image for online advertising and social media purposes with relatively few limitations, your ability to incorporate it into a print project largely depends on which type of license you’re using. Here’s a look at our two different image licenses and what they mean for your next creative undertaking.

Standard License (SL)

The Standard License is the default offered with our image packs, monthly and annual subscriptions, and Team Subscriptions. It gives you a lot of freedom on where images may be used, but it’s important to pay attention to details before you start your project. Under the Standard License, you’re allowed to use photographs on the web for advertising, apps, social media, e-publications and email marketing. This also includes video sharing services, provided the budget for the entire project does not exceed $10,000 USD. You can even incorporate it into your film, television series or advertisement as long as you don’t exceed that budgetary number.

You can also use your image for print use, provided it isn’t reproduced more than a total of 500,000 times across all formats. This includes books, magazines, newspapers, billboards, DVD or CD cover art, letterhead or product packaging. The Standard License also allows you to use the picture for your own personal projects.

Enhanced License (EL)

If you’re planning to work on a larger project for print or web consumption, the Enhanced License should fit your needs. Under this license, you’re able to use images for all of the same things that come with the Standard License, but without the restrictions on the budget or number of print reproductions. This level also grants you the right to incorporate imagery into wall art for your business as well as merchandise for promotional or retail purposes.

Shutterstock strives to meet the needs of all our customers. Read this detailed table about which license is right for your needs.

Specific Licensing RightsStandard LicenseEnhanced License
License DurationPerpetualPerpetual
Regions of UseWorldwideWorldwide
Digital Use (websites, mobile apps, software, ebooks, etc.)UnlimitedUnlimited
Print Runs (in books/magazines, on posters, etc.)Up to 500,000Unlimited
Legal IndemnificationUp to $10,000 per imageUp to $250,000 per image
TV, Online Video, and FilmUnlimited viewers (production budgets up to $10,000 USD)Unlimited
Web Templates or Print TemplatesNot permittedPermitted
MerchandiseNot permittedPermitted
Decoration in a Commercial SpaceNot PermittedPermitted
Out-of-Home Advertising (trade show/ conference, signage, billboards, subway ads, etc.)Up to 500,000 gross impressions (views, not viewers)Unlimited

Team Subscriptions can be purchased online for up to 10 users. For larger number of users check out our Team Solutions.Certain other restrictions may apply. To view complete license information, see our Terms of Service.

Number of Users

When purchased online, image packs and most monthly subscriptions are single-seat plans, meaning one user has access to download and work with the images.

A representative can also assist you with customized image packs that allow for a flexible number of users, available with both the Standard and Enhanced Licenses.

How To Choose the Right License

For most Shutterstock plans, the default option is a Standard License. Basic image packs and singer-user Professional plans include a Standard License, as do Team Subscriptions. Enhanced Licenses can offer more options for large-volume customers and organizations. You can get an Enhanced License with customized image packs if you want to use the content for distribution to a large audience or on merchandise.

If you aren't sure which type of plan or license you need for your project, you can work directly with a Shutterstock customer service representative. With Shutterstock's library of royalty-free content and flexible license options, you can take your personal or professional project to the next level.

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