Getty Engages In Massive Editing

Posted on 12/14/2007 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

For the past three months, Getty Images has been engaged in a massive reduction of the number of images on its site. In September, I did a count of the images on the and found 1,174,692 RM and RR images and 964,227 RF images for a total of 2,138,919. Today, three months later, there are 585,985 RM and RR images on the site and 664,819 RF images for a total of 1,250,804 images.

This is a 50% reduction in the number of RM and RR images and a 31% reduction in RF. That's an overall 42% reduction in the total number of images on the site. The good news is that the average-return-per-image for those remaining on the site is likely to go up dramatically. The bad news is that most suppliers are unlikely to see any growth in revenue.

Images from Getty Images brands, including those wholly owned by Getty, represent about 34% of all the RM and RR images on the site. The other 66% of RM and RR images belong to Getty's Image Partners. Contract photographers should recognize that many of the images that had been accepted and posted on the Getty site in the past may now have been removed.

It is unclear whether Getty has any plans to make the removed images available through other venues. It is clear that RM and RR images will not be added to the Punchstock collection, as Punchstock is scheduled to become an entirely RF collection early next year.

Getty did not return calls for comment.

There is some indication, but no confirmation, that images that had been on the site for three years were removed. It is not clear whether this affects only images that were never licensed during this period, or all images older than three years. Or, if images that might have been licensed prior to 2005, but had not been licensed again in the last three years, were removed.

No other removal criteria has been suggested, and it would seem unlikely that such a massive individual editing job could have been accomplished in such a short period of time. It's unknown whether the editing process has been completed or whether further editing can be expected.

No word on what portion of the RF images removed will be added to the Punchstock collection (assuming they were not already on Punchstock), or whether they will be eliminated entirely from both collections?.

It will be important for photographers who have given the company exclusive rights to market the images it accepts to determine which of their images have been removed from the market. It seems likely that many of the removed images might continue to generate revenue if they were made available through other portals. Based on the language in existing image exclusive photographer contracts, I believe photographers have the right to offer images to other venues in the event that Getty chooses not to market them.


Copyright © 2007 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, 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:  


  • Froggy 451 Posted Dec 17, 2007
    Thank you to the Anglo-Saxon system which gave to the world the Wal-Mart-Getty etc... culture and behaviour; thank you so much !

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