Are Photographer Shooting What’s In Demand?

Posted on 7/12/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

If the major stock distributors want to sell more pictures it might be a good idea to give photographers more information about the relative demand for certain subjects in terms of number of images licensed and revenue generated by images with certain keywords.

If occurred to me that the fastest growing collection on is EyeEm. Currently there are 26,024,940 images in the Getty Creative collection and 4,620,578 or 18% of them have been supplied by EyeEm. A little less than two years ago EyeEM only had 256,152 image in the collection. (See comparative list below.)

Since Getty is so anxious to load up its collection with images from part-time photographer maybe that is an indication that the subject matter those photographers are supplying is what customers want to buy. Using common, broad keywords, I decided to do a count of the number of images in popular categories to determine the EyeEm representation in each category.

  EyeEm Getty Percent EyeEm
      Total Getty Percent Total
Total 4,620,578 26,024,940 Collection Collection
Nature 3,005,369 8,230,582 31.6% 36.51%
Scenic 1,515,134 3,584,807 13.8% 42.27%
Landscape 726,319 3,019,346 11.6% 24.06%
Architecture 690,719 3,274,224 12.6% 21.10%
Flowers 568,981 1,625,736 6.2% 35.00%
Animals 544,221 2,944,307 11.3% 18.48%
Travel 511,128 5,640,591 21.7% 9.06%
Recreation 365,251 2,914,957 11.2% 12.53%
Food 312,151 2,070,328 8.0% 15.08%
Agriculture 155,656 648,323 2.5% 24.01%
Children 88,473 1,727,058 6.6% 5.12%
Industry 35,984 635,944 2.4% 5.66%
Business 33,402 1,548,061 5.9% 2.16%
Family 20,123 853,729 3.3% 2.36%
Aviation 18,855 167,798 0.6% 11.24%
Medical 14,647 452,407 1.7% 3.24%
Computer 13,429 564,550 2.2% 2.38%
Office 12,827 539,986 2.1% 2.38%
Education 8,067 352,427 1.4% 2.29%
Drugs 4,309 104,560 0.4% 4.12%
Soccer 1,776 51,855 0.2% 3.42%
Business Meeting 1,174 176,220 0.7% 0.67%
Drone 952 19,007 0.1% 5.01%
  8,648,947 41,146,803    

It is interesting that 65% of the EyeEm images added to the Getty collection are Nature images while only 31.6% of the total image in the Getty collection are Nature images. Does that mean that somewhere between 32% and 65% of Getty’s total revenue comes from the licensing of Nature image? I think Not!

I’ve got no solid proof of the best selling subject matter because agencies don’t supply this kind of information, but my guess, based on years of experience, is that the subjects in greatest demand are related to Business and Family activities, not Nature and Scenic.

If I’m right, then photographers should be guided to shoot more of what’s in demand, rather than just more of what’s easy and fun. It may be good for a photographer to concentrate on what is easy and fun (if earning revenue is a very secondary issue), but one wouldn’t think it is necessarily in Getty’s best interest.

My guess is that, if truth be told, the images that generate more than 50% of the revenue for Getty would have been a combination of Business and Family subject matter and less than 10% of the company’s revenue would come from images with keywords like Nature, Scenic or Landscape.

The “Percent Total Getty Collection” column shows the percentage of images in the Getty Creative collection with each keyword. Does it seem to make sense that only 3.3% of revenue comes from Images with the keyword Family, or 2.1% with the keyword Office, or only 0.7% with the keyword Business Meeting?

It seems clear to me that these subjects represent a much higher percent of total revenue. Thus, one would think that Getty would want more of this type of imagery. While Getty already has a lot of images in all of these categories, if anything, they probably need more choice in the lower volume categories and maybe fewer new images added to the categories where they already have an abundance.

EyeEm Percent Total Collection

The final column shows the percent of EyeEm images relative to the total images in the Getty Collection. Remember that 18% of the total collection comes from EyeEm. Thus, in any category where the EyeEm percentage is higher than 18% they are supplying a disproportionate share of the images in that subject category.

In keyword categories where EyeEm’s share is lower than 18%, in theory Getty would like for EyeEm to supply more of those subjects, or for someone to increase supply.

What Conclusions Should Photographers Draw?

If photographers believe that Getty is carefully analyzing its data and accepting images based on customer demand then clearly photographers should spend their time shooting more Nature, Travel, Scenic, Landscape and Architecture pictures because that seems to be what Getty wants the most, despite the fact that they already have huge collections of this subject matter.

If they think I might be right about where demand lies, then they might want to concentrate their efforts on shooting more Business, Family, Medical and Education pictures because it seems, if anything Getty has a lack of supply in these areas.

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:  


  • Tibor Bognar Posted Jul 14, 2018
    But most of EyeEm images are totally random snapshots with complete disregard of "traditional" values like composition, lighting, careful choice of subject matter, timing, etc. Why does Getty find them so valuable? While Imagebrief was active, one has often seen clients demanding that the images should NOT look like they were taken by professional photographers. Is professionalism really so outdated? Should we all sell our cameras?

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