5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls

The Shutterstock API offers businesses the option to build and scale with Shutterstock’s technology and creative library of over 225 million assets. Since the launch of the Shutterstock API in 2013, we’ve been building a strong roster of partners and supporting applications all around the world.

With the ability to search, authenticate, license, access collections, and more, our partners across various verticals have successfully leveraged the Shutterstock API to streamline workflows, increase platform stickiness, and generate incremental revenue.

Based on our historic API data, here are five crowd favorites to help you make the most out of the Shutterstock API.

Image Search

All creative APIs offering content must provide the option for users to search their library. As the first touchpoint in a user’s interaction with the Shutterstock library, it’s unsurprising that our image search endpoint is the most popular API call.

However, the quality of the search experience varies across different creative APIs. For end users, every search should quickly return high-quality assets that are relevant to their search term. To provide an optimal search experience, developers need an image API that they can depend on to reliably surface relevant assets.

To support developers in creating a positive search experience, the Shutterstock API provides:

5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls - Image Search

Learn more about the search capabilities available in the 4 Ways to Improve User Search with the Shutterstock API.

Licensing Images, Videos, and Music

5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls - Licensing Images, Videos, and Music

A primary benefit of the Shutterstock API is the ability to let users seamlessly license the asset they find without being redirected to an external platform. In-platform licensing provides a streamlined creative workflow for users which helps them complete projects faster.

Additionally, licensing via the Shutterstock API gives developers the peace of mind that their end users are protected with the legal rights to use images, video clips, and music tracks as well as indemnity (granted that the user doesn’t violate our licensing terms of service).

Unlike many stock providers, Shutterstock’s professional review team is trained to vet assets for legal compliance in order to protect you and your end users from infringing on the law. These potential legal issues include insufficient property and model releases, copyright violations, and trademark infringements.

Visit our API reference for more information about the Shutterstock asset licensing endpoints.

Get Image Details

5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls - Get Image Details

†Developers can use the GET /v2/images/{id} to retrieve information about an image. The response returned for this call include URLs for image preview, available sizes, associated keywords, and additional image attributes. This endpoint can also be appended with the view parameter which allows developers to define the amount of details to present in the response. The view parameter accepts two values, minimal and full, with full being the default value.

This endpoint is commonly used when an application needs to display additional image information for when a user clicks on an image from a list of search results. Some platforms may want to keep image information minimal to provide a predominantly visual user experience. Others may want to display contributor information, keywords, categories, and more to make it easy for users to explore related content.

Visit our API reference to see a full sample response for the image details endpoint.

Reverse Image Search

5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls - Reverse Image Search

The problem inherent in using text to search for images is that images are hard to capture with words. Even if we could use an unlimited number of words to precisely describe the content, composition, and technical elements, conveying the “feel” of an image remains a formidable challenge.

With an image library currently growing at a rate of over one million new images per week, enhancing visual search is imperative for Shutterstock. To address this challenges of text-based image search, Shutterstock is harnessing computer vision to lead advancements in visual search.

With the Shutterstock API, developers can bypass the entire process of training neural networks with a clean dataset of sufficient size to call our reverse image search endpoint instead. Moreover, developers can use reverse image search to return similar video clips to the one specified. This is done by using reverse image search on a thumbnail frame from the original video.

Learn more about how you can upgrade your platform with reverse image search via the Shutterstock API.

Video Search

5 Popular Shutterstock API Calls -Video Search

Similar to the endpoint for image search, video search can be refined with a broad range of search parameters. The parameters for image and video search differ since video clips come with technical specifications that are unique to video production. These specifications include aspect ratio, frames per second, and resolution.

We anticipate the number of video searches to increase as more platforms are leveraging the Shutterstock API to offer video content. New research shows that Facebook video posts get at least 59% more engagement when compared to other post types such as links and images. With a video API integration, our partners can immediately fill in their existing content gaps and tangibly support user success with high-quality video assets.

Take an in-depth look at the video search parameters available via the Shutterstock video API in our API reference.


This overview only provides insights into the capabilities that developers use with greater frequency. You can find the full capabilities of our API by visiting the Shutterstock API documentation page.

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