Standard or Enhanced? Which Shutterstock Image License is Right for You?

Looking for the right license can be a critical part of any creative project, particularly when it comes to using stock images or stock footage. Shutterstock, a leading creative platform with millions of stock images and videos, has two main license options: the Standard License and the Enhanced License. We talk about these two different licensing types in details below.

As a creator you need to choose the license that's specific to your project. We hope to help you read between the fine print. Let's dive in.

Shutterstock Standard License

If you're working on a small-scale project, the Standard License is a great choice. 

This license provides you with worldwide and perpetual use of the images and videos, which you can use for web and app advertising, e-publications and email marketing, and social media platforms like Facebook or YouTube. 

The Standard License is also great for small budget film productions, TV series, or ads with a budget under $10K, printed materials, and personal non-commercial use.

Enhanced License

If you work on more exclusive and extensive stuff, the Standard License will not be enough. You will need to use the Enhanced License. This license offers you all the same usage options as the Standard License, but it also provides you with more flexibility and protection. 

The Enhanced License is useful for large-scale projects, such as merchandising or decoration in a commercial space. Such projects may need a higher number of print reproductions without budget restrictions. 

Shutterstock's Enhanced License also allows you to use images in templates and offers you legal indemnification of up to $250,000 per image.

Both licenses offer perpetual use of the images you download on Shutterstock, even if your subscription ends. This is an important and very beneficial thing - you can use the images even if you decide not to renew your subscription.

There are some restrictions that you should consider. The licenses cover most uses of the stock images, except for sensitive subjects or logo and trademark use.

Licensing Images for Video

Shutterstock's image licenses are not different for video pros. Filmmakers and video editors would be happy to know that the Standard License and Enhanced License are useful options for use in TV, online video, and film production. 

The caveat is that there are budget restrictions in place. With the Standard License, you can use the images for unlimited viewers for production budgets under $10,000 USD, while the Enhanced License offers unlimited usage for any budget.

We recommend checking the Shutterstock licensing agreement before committing to a stock asset and aligning it with your project's specifics and needs.