Getty Makes 35 Millions Photos Free For Blog Use

Posted on 3/6/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Getty Images has made it possible for anyone to easily embed and share its imagery – at no cost – for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media channels through a new embed tool.
Getty says, with people increasingly turning to imagery to communicate and tell their stories online, the embed capability opens up our award-winning imagery for seamless sharing. Through the embed tool, individuals can draw on Getty Images’ latest news, sports, celebrity, music and fashion coverage; immense digital photo archive; and rich conceptual images to illustrate their unique passions, ideas and interests. This innovation opens one of the largest, deepest and most comprehensive image collections in the world for easy sharing, thereby making the world an even more visual place.

“Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images. “Whether via a blog, website or social media, everyone is a publisher and increasingly visually literate.

“Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy, legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually-rich world.” (Italics mine.)

While Getty reserves the right to remove some images from this program, at this point virtually all the images in Creative Stills and Editorial collections are available for this type of download.

How To Embed

To embed an image, people can visit, hover over an image in the search results or on the image detail page, and click the embed icon (</>). A box appears with the code that needs to be copied into the users HTML code. The code looks like this.

<iframe src="//" width="507" height="406" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

Here’s the image when the above code is inserted into HTML.

Embedded images include photographer attribution. When someone clicks on the image they will be taken directly to where the image can be licensed for commercial use. This provides people with a simple and legal way to utilize content while respecting creators’ rights and offering the opportunity to generate licensing revenue.

It is interesting that by changing the height to 326 instead of 406 it is possible to cut off both the Getty Images logo and the photographer attribution and show just the image. However, if someone clicks on the image they will still be taken directly to Getty will also be able to track every web site that is using one of their images in this manner.

For the time being this feature is only available on and not on the company’s master delegate sites. A decision will be made later about whether to make iStock and Thinkstock images available in this manner. Of course, the images of iStock photographers whose images are also available on are also available for embedding.

The embed capability will be supported anywhere HTML can be posted. Users will also be able to share images on major social platforms including Twitter, as well as WordPress, which, with 75 million users, is the world’s most popular blogging platform.
"This new Getty Images embed capability will open users up to a huge new creative repository in a simple, legal way," said Raanan Bar-Cohen, senior vice president of commercial services at Automattic, the company behind "We look forward to seeing all the amazing ways that our users can take advantage of this new access."

What Is Commerical?

The tricky question is what is “commercial use.” Getty tells embed users to refer to the Embed “Terms of Use.” The document is 3,917 words long. At one point it says, “You are specifically prohibited from: (a) downloading, copying, or re-transmitting any or all of the Site or the Getty Images Content without, or in violation of, a written license or agreement with Getty Images.” Is Getty going to provide a written license to everyone who uses the embed tool?

It also says the user is specifically prohibited from “(g) selling, licensing, leasing, or in any way commercializing the Site or the Getty Images Content without specific written authorization from Getty Images.” Is an online blog that reports news, ostensibly for free, but generates revenue by selling ads a commercial venture, or not?

At another point in the Terms of Use it says, “You may only use embedded Getty Images Content for editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest).” Does editorial commentary qualify? Is everything a blogger has to say “newsworthy or of public interest?”

Am I the only one who is confused, or does it take a lawyer to explain it?

A very popular and growing use of images is on blogs like @historypics that can be found on Twitter. (Read more about it.) Some other blogs of the same ilk are: @EarthPix, @HistoryInPics, @IncredibleViews, @fabulousanimals and @Fascinatingpics,

These bloggers find pictures people like to look at and concentrate on getting a lot of followers to their site. Once a site gets a lot of followers businesses that want to reach people interested in the subject matter contact the blogger and pay them to say something nice about their business or product. Sort of like an advertorial. (If you’re interested in making money rather than shooting pictures it might be better to pick any entertainer, search out the best pictures of that entertainer on, create a blog and wait for people to ask you to say something nice about the entertainer.)

This kind of advertising is called “native advertising.” It was a multi-billion dollar segment of the advertising industry last year and growing at a rate of 71% according to BIA/Kelsey estimates. Is this a commercial use? Many of these sites would have no followers if they didn’t have photos, but there is no way to tie a specific photo to ad revenue generated.

SXSW Interactive

This new embed capability will be showcased during SXSW Interactive at Getty Images House at the Palm Door, 401 Sabine Street, Austin, from Sunday, March 9, through Tuesday, March 11. On Monday, March 10 at 10:00 a.m. CT, Getty Images will host a blogger meet up where the new functionality can be experienced. More information about the event can be found here, but the event is already sold out.
For more information and visual assets that demonstrate how Getty Images’ embed tool works, visit, or stop by the Getty Images Embed Blogger Bar at SXSW.

Copyright © 2014 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:  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Mar 7, 2014
    I find it interesting that Getty decides to give away photographer's pictures without ever asking them. Seems it would have been nice to ask the people who OWN the work first.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
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

More from Free Stuff