Skip to content

iStock: Compared to Shutterstock, and How iStock Works

istock homepage
iStock’s homepage, a Getty Images company

What is iStock?

iStock is a stock image marketplace that brings high-quality images and videos to creative professionals worldwide. iStock promotes that by using content from passionate creators, designers, and photographers, it allows anyone to have access to stunning visuals without breaking the bank. Founded in 2000, it has firmly established itself as one of the premier professional media sources, with millions of images on its site.

Does iStock have videos?

Yes – if you’re looking for videos to enhance your content, iStock is a good resource. It has an extensive library of footage that features everything from high-definition cinematography to simple animations, making it the perfect hub for multimedia projects.

Who uses iStock, and what is it best used for?

iStock is a website designed for quick and easy access to high-quality stock images, music, and videos for digital use typically. It is commonly used by business owners looking for attractive visuals to accompany their blog posts or marketing materials and creative professionals such as graphic designers. Additionally, iStock is used broadly by amateur bloggers or hobbyists who need free imagery for their websites, videos, or social media posts.

How much does iStock cost?

iStock is a great source to get quality images and videos at an affordable price. With a variety of subscription plans ranging from 10 – 750 downloads per month, the cost of iStock depends on exactly how much content you need and how often you plan to download it. If you are just starting, purchasing individual image and video downloads are great for first-time users as prices start from only $15-$25 USD per item.

Comparatively, subscribing is more cost-effective in the long run if you plan on regularly refilling your library with new media. Monthly subscription plans start at $40 per month, and you can get a slight discount for committing annually. This makes puts them on the middle to high end for stock image pricing, and with additional image restrictions on premium images, you should explore their collection before committing.

istock pricing

Is iStock royalty-free? Can I use them commercially?

Yes generally – the site provides different license plans from which you can choose based on the duration of the project or platform development. However, it’s important to understand that for some exclusive images, you may have to obtain an extended license to be allowed to use them commercially.

Can I submit images to iStock? What kind of media do they accept?

iStock can be an excellent platform for photographers, video producers, and artists to showcase their work for global recognition. iStock accepts a variety of image types including high-resolution photos, stock photos, and illustrations. There is also the option to submit 4K or HD videos and audio clips free from copyright regulations. If you’re interested in submitting your creations to iStock, all you’ll need to do is set up an account with Getty Images, which owns iStock, and after completing the registration process, you will be able to upload your content to their website for review.

How does iStock compare to Shutterstock?

iStock and Shutterstock are two of the most popular stock photography websites out there. What sets them apart from each other?

Generally, Shutterstock is cheaper, and when you consider promotions, it can be as much as 50% cheaper than iStock. It is a little hard to compare these services, while they are in many ways identical the content library is pretty unique. It can come down to having the right asset, and sometimes pricing isn’t the only element. That being said Shutterstock has more media, better pricing, and generally enjoys a good reputation in the market. iStock is a strong offering based on the Getty Images collections.