Getty Images To Launch Updated Contributor Agreement

Posted on 3/1/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Getty Images has announced that as of April 1, 2011 they will have a new contributor agreement. For American photographers the date may have some relevance. We call it April Fools day and it is usually celebrated with practical jokes and hoaxes on family, friends and work associates. However,Getty’s move may not be a joke.

The specific terms of the agreement will be released in “the next few weeks,” but in general when agencies release new agreements it usually means a lowering of royalty share for photographers.

Since photographer contract expiration dates vary it is believed each photographer will have until their expiration date before they are required to sign a new agreement. In my case the I must make a decision by July 31, 2011. However, if I want to submit new images Getty has said that “you will need to sign the new agreement in order to continue to submit images.”

As Getty photographers await release of specifics they should be mindful of what happened at iStockphoto last fall. iStock’s non-exclusive photographers (about 90% of all their contributors) saw their royalty percentage drop from 20% to between 15% and 19% at the beginning of 2011. Most are at the 15% level. iStock’s exclusive photographers got a better deal. Since Getty already has image exclusivity for the images it represents it seems unlikely that they would try to move back to photographer exclusivity.

Another thing to consider is the effect Flickr may have on all this. Currently, the Flickr Collection on Getty has 105,977 images and Getty seems to be adding to that collection aggressively. Flickr photographers receive a 20% royalty. Getty is aggressively adding images to this collection and Flickr images are high in the search return order.

Based on my count there are 3,368,350 Creative Images (RM and RF) on the Getty site.  (Since every image is supposed to have an Orientation in its keywords, I went to the advanced search section of the site and searched separately for horizontal, vertical, square and panoramic. Then I totaled the 4 results. I should note that when I used this strategy a few years ago Getty claimed that there were actually more images than I found because some images did not have an orientation in the keywords.)

Recently on LinkedIn Crystal Salamon, a national account manager working with Gettys customers in Central and Western Canada, told photographers “that there is a new trick to getting (images) on to the Getty Images site.” She suggested that if photographers submit through Flickr their odds of having images accepted go WAY up as Getty is busy growing that collection.

If Getty is getting what it needs in the way of new images for 20% why would they continue to pay 30% to 40%?

Copyright © 2011 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:  


  • Sami Samrkis Posted Mar 6, 2011
    As a long term Getty contributor I haven't learned anything reading that article... Any insigh or speculation on what the changes would be about in this new agreement? Subscription plan for all clients?

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