Are Your Images On Getty Being Seen?

Posted on 7/9/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

It is interesting to note that when we searched the 210 individual collections and recorded the numbers in each the total came to 28,591,367. However, if you go to the site and search for all images you are only shown 26,240,654 images. For those who haven’t tried this you can simply go to, enter any keywords and hit return. When the return come up with the “Filter” option on the left hand side of the screen remove the keyword, leave the search bar blank and click again. Now, you will be shown all the images for the “License Type” you have requested. Be sure the “License Type” is set on RF or RM. Then you can go to “Collections,” choose the one you want and see all the images in that collection.

It is very difficult to explain why 2,350,753 or 8% of the images in the various collections are not shown and which ones they might be. Obviously, the search algorithm is not finding all the images in the various collections. But which ones? Are certain collections receiving preference over others?

Photographers have reported that it sometimes takes weeks or months before recently uploaded images are findable on the site. It seems possible that once images are uploaded to a particular collection they are immediately findable by anyone searching that specific collection. However, the search algorithm that looks at all of the collections when searching for a particular keyword may not be updated on a regular basis.

For example, maybe the operation that identifies the image numbers that need to be delivered when a certain keyword is entered is only updated once a week, or once a month. If that is the case, then a number of “new” images added to individual collections after the last algorithm update will not be shown.

If the creator or an agency happens to upload an image just before the scheduled update of the algorithm it may appear immediately. But, if it is uploaded just after the latest update, it may be a long time before it appears – possibly even longer than one month considering the number of images that don’t seem to be found.

This is only a theory. The problem may be something else entirely. But certainly a lot of images are not being found when customers search. It is unclear whether they are just the newest images or older ones as well.

iStock Collection

iStock contributors are finding that many fewer Signature+ images are being accepted into Getty’s E+ collection. Many contributors believe this is because Getty doesn’t want iStock images to take sales away from other images in its collection because the sales of other images  earn more money for Getty because they pay lower royalties.

As we can see from the chart in the previous story the E+ collection jumped from 892,753 images in 2016 to 2,450,306 in 2018. An additional 759,685 were added in 2019 so it looks like Getty is slowing its acceptance rate.
The basic royalty rate for most RF images in the Getty collection is 15% to a maximum of 20%. But the iStock Exclusive contributors supplying images to the Signature collection receive royalties of 25%, 35% or 40% depending on the total download they have had in their account, historically. On top of this, any sale of a Signature+ image file gives a contributor 3x times the download credits which go to determining the contributor’s royalty tier in the following year. Thus, it is easy to see why it would be to Getty’s advantage to license an image from one of its other collections rather than a Signature+ file from E+.

Copyright © 2019 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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