List Prices Mean Nothing

Posted on 7/5/2020 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Owen Franken sent me his image (shown below) of sliced duck in a Paris restaurant as it appears on the Getty Images website. The list price on for a large file is $475 Euros. If all the customer needs is a very small file, only suitable for online use, the price is only 50 Euros.

Getty licensed this image to a customer in Canada for $0.14 and the photographer received $0.03 for his work. The photographer’s royalty share of the gross sale price is 20% so actually the photographer was only entitled to $0.028, but in a moment of generosity Getty rounded the payment to the next highest cent.

At these prices what's the point of contributing images? In theory, if the photographer could make a huge number of sales of an image at $0.03 a transaction it might eventually represent a significant amount of money. But, that's not happening. Getty currently has 28,669,086 images in its Creative collection. Based on my calculations, I think they license about one use annually for every 2.5 images they have in the collection, or something between 10 and 12 million uses licensed annually.

Sure, very occasionally they license a use for $475 Euros, but the odds that they will license one of your images for that price are astronomical. About one-third of their licenses are for prices below $5.00 and as we can see some are as low as $0.14. At these prices very few photographers will ever earn enough to cover their costs of production, let alone actually make a profit for time invested.

Copyright © 2020 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


  • Tibor Bognar Posted Jul 11, 2020
    A typical and representative Getty experience. Many contributors will tell you that most of their sales are like this.

  • Jim L. Olive Posted Jul 11, 2020
    Pathetic is the 1st word that comes to mind when reading this post. I understand the world is awash in stock photos because the bar is so low on submissions, however, there should be a minimum amount established per categorical use. Right now it appears to me that the buyers are dictating prices and that needs to turn around to photographer's getting paid a reasonable rate.

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