Getty Stops Keywording Images For Photographers

Posted on 2/15/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getting images into the Getty Images collection so potential customers might see them has just become more time consuming for image creators. As of February 9th, 2018 Getty has ended its practice of adding custom keywords to the basic list of words photographers submit.

In a message to contributors they say, “We will be asking you to add all of your own keywords to your submissions with the help of our new Suggested Keywords feature.”

The ESP Suggested Keywords feature uses the image or clip title to provide a list of suggested keywords (often several hundred). The photographer must then look through the list and add any that seem appropriate, up to a total of 50 to the particular image. The photographer may also add words that are not included in the ESP list if he/she deems them appropriate.

While most other agencies have for a long time required image creators to do their own keywording, Getty photographers tell me that one of the advantages of working with Getty was that the company would handle the bulk of this process for them.

Getty has a complicated taxonomy for describing and identifying various aspects of an image. I in theory this is based on the words customers actually use to search for images and thus makes it easier for customers to find images that are really appropriate to their needs. Photographers will now need to learn the ins and outs of this system.

Photographers who would like to keyword before sending the image to the portal will need to know which words the controlled vocabulary recognizes. For example, it does not see the word “hands.” Rather it only sees the word “hand.” So if you have an image with two hands in it and put the obvious “hands” keyword…you will need to take the “s” off the word for the controlled vocabulary to see “hand” and thus other functional words alongside….like, human, body, body part, etc.
As the number of images licenses turns flat, the average price per image licensed declines and the work required to get an image to market increases it becomes more and more of a question for image creators if it is economically worthwhile to bother to try to license stock images.

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:  


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