Thanks to services like Shutterstock, it has become a fairly easy task to find stock photos for your projects now. Shutterstock is a repository of over 161 million royalty-free images, videos, and music tracks. Needless to say, you can find everything that you require here. However, there is one problem. Shutterstock is quite expensive, allowing you to download only 10 images for $29/month. Now, that’s a pretty steep price to pay, and not all of us can afford it. Thankfully, there are websites that allow you to download royalty-free images for free. Now, their collection might not be as big as that of Shutterstock, but they get the job done, without you having to pay a dime. If you were looking for such websites, you have come to the right place. Here are the 10 best free Shutterstock alternatives you can use in 2023.
Best Free Shutterstock Alternatives for Commercial Use
If you are looking for the best Shutterstock alternatives to fulfill your business needs, Vecteezy is one of the first ones to come to mind. It is this all-in-one tool to help your business stand on its own two feet. From featuring a variety of different Instagram story and post templates to YouTube banner templates, LinkedIn post templates, and business card templates, Vecteezy offers it all.
The cherry on top is Vecteezy’s free-to-use editor that allows you to customize these templates or even upload your very own file and make changes to it. Most importantly, all Vecteezy designs are safe for commercial use.
PROS CONS High-quality vector illustrations Quantity of stock images available is pretty low Lots of free templates to use Does not offer a whole lot of variety In-built editor
Moving on, we have Freepik as one of the best Shutterstock alternatives for business use. Why so? It does offer free pics, yes. But, it also provides you with a massive selection of templates for flyers, business cards, invitation cards, and more. You can also use their brand and logo templates to create your very own brand from scratch. Freepik also offers free templates based on the PSD Photoshop format like FreeImages, which makes editing them on Photoshop way easier. Easily, one of the best Shutterstock alternatives for commercial purposes.
PROS CONS Completely free There are certain rendering issues at times Does pretty much exactly what you ask of it Very fast Generates four images for a single prompt
3. Creative Fabrica
Creative Fabrica, as the name suggests, is indeed a great alternative to Shutterstock that you can use for creatives. By creatives, I mean a gazillion different freebies to take your skills to the next level. If you are planning on getting started with your very own business, I couldn’t suggest a better platform to fulfill your needs. Moreover, all the designs come with multiple format support, like SVG, EPS, Transparent PNG, and DXF. However, do note that you need a Commercial Use License to be able to legally use Creative Fabrica designs to sell your business anywhere.
|Over 200,000 freebies to make use of||Does not offer stock images|
|Free online classes to help you get started||You need a subscription to legally use designs for commercial use|
Next up, we have FreeImages, a website that most designers swear by for their vector designing needs. FreeImages features a large library of such vectors to use for your business posters and the like. They also have a variety of other elements like stock photos, icons, and clipart, all of which can prove to be very useful while designing a website, or creating content to promote your business.
On top of this, the website also offers free PSD files. For those unaware, these are Photoshop files that allow you to download and edit on Photoshop easily. Other elements like mockups, email templates, and business card templates are available as well, making it one of the best most versatile, and free Shutterstock alternatives to use today.
PROS CONS There are lots of free stock images to choose from Does not offer a large collection of images Availability of PSD files Free resource library needs to be expanded Offers lots of free clipart, templates, and mockups
Ever heard of Shopify? Well, if you haven’t, let me enlighten you a little. Shopify is a website development tool that allows you to create your own e-commerce websites. Shopify made Burst to help its customers find stock images for the websites they build using its platform. There are only around 1000 images present on this website.
However, while other websites host the photos submitted by their community, the images on Burst have been taken by paid professional photographers. Since Shopify develops the website for its customers, all the images here are more business oriented. So, if you own a business or act as a professional consultant, this might be the best place to find royalty-free stock photos for you.
Best Free Shutterstock Alternatives for Personal Use
With over a million royalty-free images, Pexels might feel like a tiny website when compared to Shutterstock, and in reality, it is. However, all the photos are professionally captured, high-quality images. Pexels mostly deals with outdoor images including landscapes, buildings, crowds, beaches, etc.
All the images come with Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing which means that these images can be used for both personal and commercial purposes. You can use the images without asking any permission or setting a link to the source. In other words, neither money nor attribution is not required.
|Completely free||Not good for business-related searches|
|Whole lot of stock-free images to choose from|
Pixabay, in my knowledge, is the most popular website which allows you to download royalty-free images. You can find all sorts of images here. Just like Pexels, all the images here come with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing allowing you to use the images both personally and commercially without violating any copyright.
Apart from images, you can also find royalty-free vector graphics, illustrations, and videos here. When it comes to quality, the website doesn’t disappoint. Pixabay indeed is one of the best free Shutterstock alternatives you can find.
|Millions of free images to choose from||Not the best for business-themed searches|
|Also offers stock videos, illustrations, sound effects, and more|
|Very easy to search for images|
|Gives accurate results|
With over 200,000 stock photos, the collection on Unsplash might be only a fraction of what is offered on Shutterstock, but boy these images look good. All the photos have a feel of being professionally photographed—the quality of images on Unsplash rivals those offered on Shutterstock or any paid website for that matter. Unsplash is a community website with over 41000 members who upload hundreds of new photos daily.
What’s best is that all the images here come with a royalty-free license and can be used commercially. Unsplash only asks you to include a credit badge for the photographers, so that they get their dues. However, that too is not mandatory. I personally use this website for all my MacBook and iPhone wallpapers, so I have no qualms in recommending this as a capable Shutterstock alternative.
|Over 200,000 high-definition free stock images||Not good for Business-related searches|
|Very easy to search for and download images|
Best Shutterstock AI Photo Generator Alternatives
1. Bing AI Image Generator
Microsoft’s Bing AI needs no introduction at this point. The AI chatbot has been out for quite some time now and if you have given it a try, you should know that it can now generate images too. Besides, there is a dedicated Bing AI Image Creator page where you can do just that. The best thing is it is completely free. Plus, you get boosts to speed up image generation. You get 100 of these boosts on a daily basis.
Super convenient, right? Additionally, the Bing AI Image Creator generates 4 images for a single query. That allows you to choose the one you like most. So, if you want unique images that no stock image website can provide you with, this is the best Shutterstock alternative that there is. Quickly take a look at its capabilities below:
Leonardo Da Vinci as a superhero
|Completely free||There are certain rendering issues at times|
|100 boosts daily for super fast image generation|
You could say that Craiyon is a slightly toned-down version of Bing AI. It is not that intelligent and you have to be very specific with your prompts, but it is a great alternative to Shutterstock for sure. Especially, if AI-generated images are what you are looking for. Moreover, it offers multiple results to your prompt.
The image generation speeds can be tediously long and sometimes, you may not get what you are exactly looking for. Still, for a free tool, it gets the job done and can sometimes really push above its weight to deliver great results. Additionally, you can choose to go with three different styles of image generation – Art, Drawing, and Photo. Or, you can choose to go with None and the AI tool will generate the image in the best possible mode as per the prompt. You can take a look at the results below:
Mona Lisa in Van Gogh style
|Good enough results for a free tool||Sometimes, you may not get exactly what you ask for|
|Easy to use and straightforward|