In Defense Of Getty

Posted on 4/11/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

More and more photographers are expressing frustration with Getty Images and saying they are pulling their images. Many are looking for another distributor that will charge higher prices and offer a better royalty share. I hate to defend Getty, but to be fair today’s low prices are not all their fault. If we go back to the early 2000s Getty tried to keep prices at reasonable levels, but once iStock and Shutterstock came on the scene, and got some traction, there was no way for Getty to hold out forever.

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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:  


  • Thomas Wear Posted Apr 13, 2019
    Thanks for this Jim -- it's the unvarnished truth. Getty, and the other established agencies, never would have lowered their prices if they weren't pushed into it -- why should they? But as you explained, technology and the law of supply and demand were outside their control. Nobody is going to turn back the clock in any significant way.
    Video may command higher prices than stills for a while, since the barriers to entry are still higher, but the learning curve and costs may be prohibitive for many still shooters to make the transition.
    In retrospect, I think the golden age of stock is turning out to be an aberration. For most of the history of photography some form of assignment shooting paid the bills for professional photographers, and I think we're simply seeing a return to that.
    It's funny in a way, because you and I (and probably a lot of readers of your newsletter) have been in the business long enough to remember when stock was the villain, hated by assignment photographers for taking their jobs. Full circle!

  • Grant Faint Posted Apr 14, 2019
    hello from morocco where i am shooting fresh stock images for OFFSET and GETTY. I started 1985 with The Image Bank, I was signed photographer #564... now you say Shutterstock has 650K contributors . Jim I agree with your piece completely. As they say dont be sad it's over be happy you had a good run. However raising prices across the board by the major outlets wouldnt make the cost of a photo out of reach for users and it nwould add to everyone's bottom line. OK I am a dreamer ha best to all trying to make it work grant faint

  • Sabine Pallaske Posted Apr 15, 2019
    hi all... I agree with you. But we need to consider another change: Artbuying is no longer the task of creation or marketing, but that of "central purchasing". This is where photos, films, graphics are purchased as such as consumables like pencils or toilet paper : as a low cost as possible with a comparable appearance. The real "image quality" of a photograph, video or grafik is no longer important, the main thing is to show the "triggers" (matching the article, the ad, the blog etc.).

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