Getty Images And Virtual Reality

Posted on 6/7/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty Images has launched the Getty Images Virtual Reality Group, a new business dedicated to the creation and global distribution of virtual reality (VR) content.

Dawn Airey, Chief Executive Officer of Getty Images says, “The technology is still in its infancy – as are the business models addressing how to use it – but we can expect to see VR become a leading tool for visual storytelling. It is anticipated that over 14 million consoles will sell this year alone (TrendForce), and we are only on the cusp of what will be a tectonic plate shift in VR.”

The Getty Images Virtual Reality Group provides a comprehensive offering of over 12,000 premium 360 images with new content added daily, as well as high res gigapixel content from key events and venues.  High quality VR production is also being offered through Getty Images Assignments.

Getty began building its collection of 360 and gigapixel imagery four years ago, pioneering the use of these techniques in its role as the Official Photographic Agency for the International Olympic Committee at the 2012 London Olympics. Fast track to today, and every Getty Images photographer at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games, will be equipped with a 360 camera.

Airey continues: “With the launch of the Getty Images Virtual Reality Group, we are embedding VR content technologies into the core of our business and ensuring that, as use of VR continues to grow, its users are further enhancing their experience with access to the world’s best imagery.”

“The diverse range of 360 degree content that we produce – from the red carpet to the stadiums of the world’s biggest sporting events and the frontline of conflict – allows people to access information and experiences that were previously off limits,” said Hugh Pinney, Vice President of Editorial Content at Getty Images. “Virtual Reality is completely transforming the way we view and experience world events.”

The Group will continue to build on Getty Images existing VR content offering, which includes 360 content captured by its award-winning news, sport and entertainment photographers as well as geo-located, interactive panoramic images from its content partner

Last month, Getty Images and Google announced their latest partnership, which sees Getty Images supplying hi-res VR content from current events around the world for Google Expeditions. Getty Images partnered with Oculus Rift in June 2015 to make its 360 imagery available for users of the Oculus platform via its 360° For more information, visit

Of course, things are still early. Not many people have plunked down cash for a dedicated virtual reality device, but with Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard out there, Airey said the time is right to get started.

Some things are actually better left to a traditional frame. "Not everything is engaging in 360 degrees," Airey said. It's also tricky on the technical side, with a photographer needing to find ways to expose for an image that has both sun and shadows.

Copyright © 2016 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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