Getty Contributors: Are Your Images All There?

Posted on 7/17/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

If you’ve been a Getty contributor for a long time you might want to check to see if all the images they have accepted over the years are still in the collection.

Jonathan Nourok ( ) has been contributing his botanical images to Getty Images since it was Tony Stone Images almost 30 years ago. He also posts some of the same images on his own website, but since he has an exclusive agreement for licensing with Getty he notes on his website that the images are only available for licensing through  

Recently, one of his clients informed him that she couldn’t find an image she wanted to license on the Getty site.

When Jonathan checked he discovered that about 200 RM images had been removed, with no notice and what remained was 2 RF images, which had been moved from Getty’s RM collection awhile back. He contacted Getty through Contributor Service and asked if the images had been permanently removed. The auto reply gave him a ticket # and said:

“We are dealing with a high volume of queries at the moment, so appreciate your patience. Tickets are prioritized according to urgency and we will respond as soon as possible.”

After not hearing from them for two weeks he called sales (the only way to speak with a live human at Getty) supplied his Contributor Services ticket # and explained the issue again. Later that day he received the following:

I apologize for the delay in our response. We are currently investigating the issue and will reply once we have more information. Thank you for your continued patience.

After not hearing from them for another two weeks he called Sales again and spoke with another person who said he’d follow up with Contributor Services and someone would get back to him with an answer. It has been more than two weeks since this last call (a month-and-a-half since the issue arose) and still no answer to his question.


Jonathan has not been able to “legally” permit his client to use the image because his agreement with Getty gives them exclusive licensing rights.

Getty has lost a sale. If the client ever looked at Getty for images she probably won’t go there again.

Jonathan has talked to other photographers who have had similar experiences. Considering the number of images Getty has been switching from RM to RF, and often removing from the collection entirely, the fact that they have not been notifying anyone about removal may be a very common experience.

One would think that Getty has a legal obligation to tell photographers when they make a decision to no longer represent the photographer’s images and remove them from the website. Only then can the photographer place the image elsewhere in hopes of continuing to license usage of the image.

If Getty Can’t License An Image Does That Mean No One Wants To License It?

Not necessarily.

Some photographers who have similar images in both the Getty RF collection and the iStock Signature collection (the higher priced collection at iStock that requires exclusivity) tell me that they earn significantly more from iStock than from Getty RF. iStock tends to license more uses and often at significantly higher prices than Getty is charging.

Of course, since Getty owns both companies, no one knows how long iStock will continue to operate efficiently.

Copyright © 2018 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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