Dealing With Getty: Things For Flickr Photographers To Consider

Posted on 10/25/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A few of the photographers with images on Flickr are given the opportunity to place some of their images on gettyimages.com. One photographer recently approached by Getty asked if he should have any concerns about dealing with Getty Images or if there are things he should be aware of before agreeing. Here are some of my thoughts.

Getty represents images for Flickr photographers in two different ways.
    1 – In some cases a customer finds an image on Flickr and wants to license rights to use it in a specific way. If the Flickr photographer has turned on the “Request to License” link on his Flickr page then the customer will contact Getty and Getty will handle the negotiations for the photographer.

    In addition there are also cases where even if the “Request to License” link is not turned on the customer will contact Getty and ask them to handle negotiations. This has two advantages for the customer. First, they don’t have to deal with a photographer who is not experienced in licensing rights to images. Second, and often more important, because the customer purchases lots of images from Getty each year the company may have negotiated a volume discount deal with Getty. In this case, the customer may get a much lower price than he might have to pay if he were to deal with the Flickr photographer directly.

    2
    – Getty editors also find images on Flirkr that the company believes its customers might be interested in using. In such cases Getty will request the photographer's permission to post those images on gettyimages.com. There is no guarantee that these images will ever be licensed, but they will be available for easy search and viewing on gettyimages.com. If a customer decides to license one of these images then the fee will depend on how the image is used if it is being licensed as rights managed (RM). There are three different price levels for Flickr RM images on the Getty site – Flickr Select, Flickr Unreleased and Flickr.

    If the image is licensed as royalty free (RF) the image will be priced based on the file size delivered to the customer. There are two Flickr RF collections – Flickr, and Flickr Open. The price for a Flickr image ranges from $10.00 to $500.00 and for a Flickr Open images $10.00 to $275.00. Keep in mind that these are the list prices on the Getty site, but Getty often discounts these prices.
Considering Option #1 – I would recommend that if Getty contacts you on behalf of a customer who has a specific use in mind you should not only ask the Getty salesman what the use is and what the customer is willing to pay, but no matter what the salesman says answer, “I need to think about it for a few minutes. I’ll call you back.”

Then go to gettyimages.com, search for an image of a subject similar to yours, open the preview and click on “View Pricing.” Step through the pricing template and determine Getty’s list prices for the type of use that is being requested. Based and what you find you may want to negotiate the sale directly. Keep in mind that whatever price Getty gets they will keep 60% (paying you 40%) if it is an RM image. They will keep 80% (paying you 20%) if the image is being licensed as RF. If you handle the sale directly you should ask for the list price you found on the Getty Images site. If you choose you can give the customer a deal on the price and still make more money than if Getty handles the sale.

Considering Option #2
– You need to recognize that if Getty chooses to represent an image and places it in its database you must agree to give them exclusive rights to license that image for 2 years. You can leave the image on Flickr and use it for your own personal purposes, but if someone comes along and wants to license it you must let Getty handle the negotiations and give them their share of the gross revenue. By virtue of accepting your image for marketing Getty also has exclusive rights, for that same period of time, to any image that is “substantially similar” to the image in their database. Thus, even if you have a different image from the same shoot that is similar you can’t license it to anyone during the 2 year period, or use it in any commercial manner.

While some stock agencies want exclusive rights, it should be recognized that this is not the case with all stock agencies. Today, many agencies only ask for non-exclusive rights to the images they represent. The simple fact is that the vast majority of customers don’t care about exclusive rights and are happy to purchase images on a non-exclusive basis. Getty wants exclusive rights on the outside chance that someone in that fraction of 1% of all customers will want to license exclusive rights to the image. It may not be in your best interest to grant exclusive rights with no guarantee of compensation whatsoever.

One of the biggest problems with Getty is that they offer deep discounts from their list prices on a significant percentage of the images they license. For the individual photographer who happens to be lucky enough to have his image licensed by Getty for full price the royalty can be attractive. But, more often than not the photographers image will be part of a discount package and the compensation is likely to be very minimal. Often even the inexperienced photographer can get more by dealing directly with the customer. Getty is interested in maximizing their volume of images licensed and doing everything they can to keep customers from going to their competitors. This is not always in the best interests of individual photographers.

Getty licenses rights to more images than any other company in the world. There is a chance they may license rights to one of your images for very significant money. However, recently I talked to one of Getty’s “image partners” (smaller agencies whose images Getty represents). This “image partner” has lots of images on the site and Getty licenses rights to lots of their images every month. In the month in question the royalty paid for one-third of the RM images licensed was less than $2.00 per-image due to discounting.


Copyright © 2011 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 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  

Comments

Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

You must log in to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive our FREE weekly email listing new stories posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More
Where Is The Stock Photo Industry Headed?
For new readers, or those who may have missed some of what I have written over the last few months, the following are a list of stories worth looking at to get a sense of where the industry is headed.
Read More
Photography As A Career
It’s that time of year when high school seniors are waiting for college acceptance letters and thinking about future careers. If you know someone who is thinking about photography as a career you mig...
Read More
2014 Stories You May Have Missed
For many the end of the year is a time to review past experiences and consider whether it makes sense to chart a new course in the year ahead. Stock photography has changed dramatically for professio...
Read More
More Stories In 2014 You May Have Missed
Every so often I put together a list of the most important stories we’ve published in the recent past. If you are engaged in the business of stock photography the links below are to stories that we’v...
Read More
Getty: A Three Month Review
In all the excitement about 35 million FREE images it is worth looking back at some of things that have been happening at Getty Images in the last three months. After watching revenue decline for the...
Read More
State Of Stock Photo Industry: 2013
If you’re looking for an overview of the state of the stock photo industry as of October 2013 the stories listed below are a good place to start. Regular readers of Selling-Stock will have seen all t...
Read More
Education Market Shifts To Digital
If supplying pictures for educational use is a significant part of your business plan you need to be aware of how the market is trending toward digital delivery and how that is likely to affect the p...
Read More

More from Free Stuff