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Getty Images' Flickr licensing deal reaches 1/2 million images

By dpreview staff on Oct 8, 2012 at 17:57 GMT

Getty Images' scheme for licensing images from the photo sharing site Flickr has added its 500,000th image. The half-millionth image was shot by system engineer and photo hobbyist 'Jiangang Wang' for Tianjin, China, of the Minato Mirai development in Yokohama, Japan. The licensing deal, started in June 2010, allows Flickr members to offer their images for licensing by Getty. If Getty chooses to accept the request, the photographer can choose how to license their images, at rates comparable to Getty's other images libraries.

Press Release:

Celebrating the 500,000th Flickr collection image, and the originality of photography enthusiasts everywhere

 Minato Mirai night view by Jiangang Wang/DigiPub/Flickr Collection/Getty Images, 145679662

With this stunning contribution from Jiangang Wang, a system engineer and photo hobbyist from Tianjin, China, our Flickr collection has grown to 500,000 images. Wang’s shot, featuring the curved light trail of a ship, is but one example among hundreds of thousands of compelling contributions from the Flickr community of photography enthusiasts spanning more than 115 countries.

The image, “Minato Mirai night view,” was captured from the vantage point of Osan-bashi in Yokohama, Japan, where Wang now lives, and shows the city skyline just after sunset.

“When I saw a ship passing by, an idea flashed into my mind,” says Wang. “I wanted to capture the landscape with the ship’s light trails. To my surprise, the ship made a turn resulting in a nice, curved trail. This is rare, as ship trails are usually straight.”

We’re glad he got the shot.

Wang’s image is now among the half a million Flickr collection images available for licensing exclusively on, the go-to collection for content that embodies the regional authenticity so many visual communicators are looking for.

How have we amassed such a robust collection of local photos?  For starters, Flickr is one of the world’s largest photo sharing communities on the web.

Getty Images’ photo editors and Flickr’s community of global photographers work together with contributors on a daily basis to ensure that what is needed at a local level is reflected in the Flickr collection imagery.

As a result, Getty Images has been able to expand upon the depth of the Flickr collection and also ensure the collection has an abundance of high-quality content from regions around the world.

“We believe that the strength of the Flickr collection lies with the connection the photographers feel for their subject matter. The fact that many of the images are created with no commercial end use in mind lends them an unexpected originality and freshness that audiences can easily identify with,” said Andy Saunders, Getty Images’ SVP Creative Imagery and Product Development.  “The 500,000th image milestone shows how engaged our Flickr contributors are, and their content demonstrates originality, humour and relevance.”

The Flickr collection features imagery from the highly conceptual, to everyday scenes of believable and regionally relevant content, with thousands of new images added each month to meet the evolving needs of Getty Images’ customers.

For more information and to view Getty Images’ Flickr collection, please visit:


Total comments: 32
By josholin (Oct 19, 2012)

I sell my own images myself, dont really need flickr or getty to cheapen my best works.

By JDThomas (Oct 10, 2012)

As far as the 80/20 split goes, that's only for flickr contributors. If you are a contracted Getty photographer you get 40% as far as recent contracts go (some people are grandfathered in at 50/50 or better.

The main problem with Getty isn't that they are ripping off poor flickr photographers, it's that Getty devalued stock photography when they bought up all the smaller agencies and started selling royalty free images for almost nothing.

If I remember correctly I think you can get an image for web use from Getty for about $4 if you're a member, but most other agencies charge 10X that amount (which was previously standard).

May sales from Corbis have plummeted the last few years because of this. I also have 5 Getty affiliated photographers that shoot in my area and we all cover the same events so switching to Getty isn't an option.

1 upvote
By mskuma (Oct 11, 2012)

Thanks for that - I read with interest what you say about variable rates, when the last sentence in the copy on the DP top page says "If Getty chooses to accept the request, the photographer can choose how to license their images, at rates comparable to Getty's other images libraries" which makes the scheme sound quite inviting from the point of view of a level rates playing field, but sounds like it's not really from what you indicated, though maybe it's not comparing apples with apples.

Yeah they are not necessarily ripping off flickr photographers - I think they are just taking advantage of the flickr situation (most are hobbyists who are ok to get a little bit, instead of nothing by simply posting). Unfortunately I think their approach perpetuates the devaluation of photography. Anyway, there's still a choice: join or not join. If one joins, I'd hope it's not an exclusive arrangement - that would be going a bit far for the 20%.

By santamonica812 (Oct 10, 2012)

/From the Flickr/Getty webpage:/

"ANNOUNCEMENT 1 March 2012:

As you are probably aware, we have not been accepting new submissions via this group since last July.

We have now made the decision to make that closure permanent, and also close down the Discussion forum in this group."

/As far as I can tell, the above is the most current information, right?/

1 upvote
Federico Rosales Arzú
By Federico Rosales Arzú (Oct 15, 2012)

This is as far I have get, trying to join Getty......

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
Craig Jewell
By Craig Jewell (Oct 9, 2012)

Well, here is my 2c worth.

I have been in the Getty Flickr collection for since shortly after it started. I have what I would call a small portfolio of around 150 images.

I haven't added any images for about a year now, and I have to say I don't mind the $200-$600 I get in my PayPal account from Getty EVERY month for doing essentially nothing. It has helped me to build up my kit from a Pentax K10D with kit lens, to a tidy professional kit.

So, it's not all doom and gloom. As they say, you've got to be in it to win it.
I don't mind that I only get 20%. If memory serves me correctly, my biggest single sale was around $1200.


Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
Luke Kaven
By Luke Kaven (Oct 9, 2012)

Does a flickr/Getty license give Getty exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights?

1 upvote
By sansbury (Oct 9, 2012)

This is why I have all of my Flickr photos marked for Creative Commons. Unless I get a photo of her majesty's naked bosom or Tom Cruise and John Travolta out on a date, I'd rather contribute a public resource than fill out a bunch of paperwork for the odd $10 check.

By CameraLabTester (Oct 9, 2012)

The odds to make money from your photos are overwhelmingly stacked against your tiny image contribution...

Unless you have the rare photo of a UFO mother ship returning Richard Dreyfus to his mashed potato mountain, which will then earn you millions of dollars in paparazzi royalties.


Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By ThaQuest (Oct 9, 2012)

I'm pulling in about $100 per month on average from Getty. And other than my initial submission, I'm not doing a darn thing. One month I pulled in $800+. So obviously some people, myself included, are making money.

By sansbury (Oct 9, 2012)

Not shabby. Do you have a Flickr gallery link you'd care to share? I'm just curious what is "selling." I see you're listed as living in Shenzhen, so I could imagine a lot of editorial sales for China-related stuff which is a little less common than pretty sunsets and autumn foliage.

Craig Jewell
By Craig Jewell (Oct 9, 2012)

As I mentioned in my post above (sorry, I meant to post as a reply), I have been getting $200-$600 from my Getty-Flickr portfolio for about 3 years now. Most months it is 200-300, but every 2 or 3 months I get a bumper month of about 400-600. It's money that is always very welcome, and requires virtually no effort on my part.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
By Julian_K (Oct 9, 2012)

Not true, I'm averaging about $150 a month for doing not much at all except it took me a few hours to upload about 90 photos. Sure the % you get could be better but it's money I would otherwise not have made. Flickr gallery here:

1 upvote
By cvillephotography (Oct 10, 2012)

Do they want the photos to be clean of watermarks?

Craig Jewell
By Craig Jewell (Oct 10, 2012)

Watermarks and frames are not allowed, but you can upload a clean version after an image has been accepted..

The version on Flickr will stay as-is.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By AbrasiveReducer (Oct 9, 2012)

Reminds me of PayPal; you think they are doing you a favor but it's actually the other way around.

By jannefoo (Oct 8, 2012)

This is good business... for Getty. The photographer gets pennies after Getty's 80% slice.

By mskuma (Oct 9, 2012)

I agree, and I also agree with both adjacent comments. It's why I've resisted joining. I'd like to see a better rev-share deal to the photographer. It's just a take it or leave it approach. However it's obvious a lot of people were happy to take the deal upon sign-up, but I wonder whether signees since then have been satisfied with the system and compensation. This PR just reinforces my view that Getty have smartly tapped into a pool of creative hobbyists (and others) using quality cost-effective cameras, and leveraged their name accordingly, to expand their library.

By Valterj (Oct 9, 2012)

I sold 1 photo for 360.00:

20 % for me - 72.00
80 % for Getty - 288.00

Why not 50% for each part?

By Higuel (Oct 9, 2012)


Its EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that people like these readers share the TRUE AND UGLY REALITY, or people(like me in this very case!) will be mislead by this biased "news"!
Until now, i though that Dpreview was an independent service, but when you share a supposed news while only saying HALF of the truth, well that is just publicity or campaign and NOT THE INFORMATION SERVICE That readers come here for!!!

so, THANK YOU VERY MUCH Valterj!!!
And, for the very first time in my life: Shame on you Dpreview!!! :(
From now on whenever i read something from you i will have to take it with lots of reserves knowing how biased you can be!
It is a real pity!!! :(
D preview was, at least for me, one of the very Best source of information!!!
It is really bad and sad!

By Marty4650 (Oct 9, 2012)

It not like Getty has no competition, or is doing anything illegal. They fully disclose their fees, and if you don't like them then just use someone else.

Getty created a system so people who were making nothing off their photos could make something without doing any more work than filling out a standard form one time.

I agree that any really talented professional photographer who can produce extraordinary photos would be crazy to give up an 80% commission to sell a photo, but that isn't what Getty is designed to do.

They are pretty much a stock photo operation for "pretty good photos" while keeping most of the profits for themselves. That's just how it works. Take it or leave it, but don't start calling it a crime against mankind.

By Camediadude (Oct 10, 2012)

I agree with Marty4650 100%. Just who has enslaved all of these poor helpless photographers, and forced them to produce images for Getty, or suffer the consequences and be subject to torture? Give me a break! I dislike giant seemingly-heartless corporations as much as the next guy, but all of this finger pointing gets to be ridiculous. (I have been guilt of it myself, but I am working on getting over it. Times are constantly changing, and I believe that each individual has the power to help shape the times.)
Edit/addendum: basically, if you do not like it, then vote with your feet! But no one here is being "robbed" or is 'suffering' because of it.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
sean lancaster
By sean lancaster (Oct 17, 2012)

I've been on Flickr for about 7 years or so. I've made $0 on my own. Getty contacted me yesterday and added 6 of my photos. I'll be joining and contributing the photos (and more in the future). If I don't make any money then I still lose nothing other than the little time it takes to fill out the online forms. If I make even $10 then I'll start calling myself a pro photographer since I am making money off of my photography. That'll be worth it. ;~)

By diforbes (Oct 8, 2012)

It's nice to have your images for sale on Getty but the payoff is more bragging rights than monetary. I have about 240 images avaiable for licensing on Getty via flickr; perhaps 10-20 have actually had customers. Getty is setting mostly royalty-free pricing, so after the photographer's take of 20 percent or so, there isn't a lot left. The larger the image library gets, the more competition increases for customers on a given type of image.

1 upvote
By javidog (Oct 8, 2012)

They take such a big cut though. I like the 50/50 deal at Pond5.

By ngollan (Oct 8, 2012)

Does that mean Getty will c&d people for using (parts of) my photos as forum avatars too?

By EmmanuelStarchild (Oct 8, 2012)

This looks like a pretty sweet deal. So, I can make money if Getty Images wants to license photos that I post to Flickr? How exactly can I make sure Getty actually sees these images for consideration?

By farrukh (Oct 8, 2012)

Follow the link above - the higher the resolution your photo, the greater the income; though to be fair, unless you sell a few at a time, it doesn't work out to be terribly rewarding :/

By Marty4650 (Oct 8, 2012)

You really aren't certain that Getty actually sees all of your images. But I will tell you what will happen when you agree to license your images to Getty.

You will automatically become a member of two Flickr groups:

* Getty Images Contributors - (This is a private forum between Getty Images and its contributors; what's posted in the forum is confidential and should not be distributed outside.)

* Getty Images Artist's Picks - (This is the private group for enrolled contributors to the Flickr Collection on Getty Images to submit images for consideration by Getty Images editors.)

Any images you submit to these groups gets considered for sale. But that isn't the final word, because they also scan all your other images if you are an enrolled member. I know this because I haven't submitted any images to either group, and I keep getting emails about people wanting to license some of my images posted on Flickr.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
By Saffron_Blaze (Oct 8, 2012)

GIC does not accept images for review and GAP has been closed to submissions for some time.

After the intitial invitation to join Getty, getting images selected is a rather random and obscure process that involves "curators" going through your photostream and finding stuff they like/want/need.

By graybalanced (Oct 8, 2012)

More accurately, you can "make money" if the photo is licensed, if the photo sells, and if the small royalty you get actually manages to compensate you meaningfully for any of the camera equipment, software, time (editing), and ongoing expenses (Internet service, mortgage or rent, memberships, etc.) you put in to get that photo up to be seen.

If you are lucky enough to get that far, then it might be a "sweet deal." Of course, if you're Getty, then it's always a "sweet deal."

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Maurizio De Cecco
By Maurizio De Cecco (Oct 9, 2012)

Well, this is a free world; if you/we think 80/20 is not fair, let's build a Getty competitor that is more fair ... after all, even Apple, when sell your work, get only a 30% markup !

Total comments: 32