Getty: Adding Images, But Not as Quickly as You Might Expect

It seems clear from Getty Images’ announcement of the Lifesize collection in November and their opening of their RF brands to iStockphoto’s top photographers that the company wants to add a lot of new images quickly. But cranking up the new systems necessary to encourage photographers to submit, editing to determine who is approved to submit and integrating the images into the database may take a little time.

On October 24, in his conference call to report Q3 2006 results, Jonathan Klein talked about the company’s plans for a new creative Open workflow and said “the day is coming soon when we will be able to get a creative image from a photographer’s camera to our site with the same speed and efficiency that we do with editorial … Photographers are clamoring to give us more content, not less, and they will embrace this.”

In mid-November, I did a count of the images on the Creative section of and came up with 1,767,214. Two months later, on January 15, I counted 1,825,016, a 57,802 increase. But if we go back to November 2005, they only had 1,155,511 images on the site. Thus, the number of images added between mid-November and mid-January is just a little more than half the average 101,950 for two-month periods in the previous 12 months.

Part of the reason for the slowdown was undoubtedly the Christmas holidays, but even taking that into account it doesn’t look like we’re seeing a dramatic increase yet. I’m hearing three explanations for this from photographers:

1. It appears photographers still don’t like the idea of paying for position and the $50 charge to upload an image is causing many to hold back.

2. Many photographers want to be able to control whether their images are being licensed as RM or RF. With this contract, Getty has the right to switch images into a different licensing model whenever the company feels like it. Many PC photographers complain that after paying $50 per image to get images uploaded it takes 10 weeks or more to get them up.

3. Many photographers who want to submit images tell me that the process of preparing images to meet all the Getty standards for consideration and upload is taking longer than expected. The process of working through the contract and other paperwork, completely re-touch, color-correct, keyword the images so they are ready to go live on is taking longer than many expected.

Sometime later in the year there will probably be an increased flow, but it hasn’t happened yet.

[tags]Jim Pickerell, Getty Images, stock photography, stock photographers[/tags]

Leave a Reply