Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Does Getty Images have any respect for the photographers they represent?

all images copyright protected

One of the developments at Getty Images which has caused a lot of buzz among photographers recently is their new "Flickr collection".

Basically Getty has employees who trawl through the images on Flickr, cherry-pick ones they think have good potential as money-makers and then approach the photographer about representing the image.

Great for photographers you may think? A chance to be noticed, to be represented by the biggest and best known photo agency in the world! Except for the small print:

  • Getty demands exclusivity. You can't sell your images elsewhere (except as personal prints I have heard). But that is normal isn't it? No, probably the majority of images on Getty Images are NOT exclusive.

  • Oh, and Getty keeps 80% of the earnings.
Isn't 50% the norm? It used to be... but then Getty Images' agenda is to squeeze bigger and bigger percentages from photographers. The longer you do it, and the more photographers you get to cave-in, the harder it is for other photographers to fight it, and the more likely it is to be seen as the norm.

What is particularly interesting about Getty Images' new Flickr collection is that they are promoting it with a HUGE advert on the FRONT PAGE of their website. Why would the do that? Surely they should be promoting the work of all those talented, hard-working, highly experienced professional photographers who have been loyally supplying Getty with high quality stock images for years? Surely Getty should show them some respect?

But Getty only seems to care about the bottom line. With the Flickr images they get:

1) exclusivity
2) 80% of the earnings

and therefore it makes sense to push buyers towards these images where Getty will take the biggest cut.

And it gives them future leverage against their other 'loyal' photographers: we pay Flickr photographers 20%, why would we pay you more?

A dream for Getty, a nightmare for the photographer.

Getty does not seem to have any respect for their photographers. They are just a commodity. To quote a previous comment on Fair Trade Photographer from that very talented photographer (and recently photographer to HM the Queen) Rod Edwards:

"It's no longer an honour to be represented by Getty, it's an embarrassment."

1 comment:

  1. What is weird is you guys think Alamy is any better. Apart from the % (and 50% of bugger all is still bugger all). They are competing with Getty in just the same way - using amateur pics, pushing prices lower and lower to try and to sell more.. and it just isn't good for photographers.