A New Look at Stock Photography with Getty Images

Eunice Sotelo,  Social Media Coordinator On March 6, 2014,  Getty Images redefined the way we look at and use stock photographs. It made freely available 35 million of its images including news, sports, entertainment and archival photographs for non-commercial use. Anyone with a social media profile, a blog or personal website can embed Getty’s stock photographs at no cost through its new embedding tool. For Compassionate Eye Foundation, it means increased visibility of our images and consequently a wider audience of potential buyers whose purchase will help fund our global projects. Getty’s decision was an attempt to stem the rampant right-clicking of images to copy and paste without permission, and the embed player is a way to counter this widespread online behaviour. Even editorial websites can avail of this free-for-all as long as the images are used in an editorial context. Each photograph, shown without a watermark, will include the full metadata, the photographer’s name, collection and Getty’s logo, as well as a link back to the image’s licensing page on the Getty Images website.

The Getty Images embed player, which lets users search over 50 million embeddable images.

The bold move was not without a mixed bag of responses, from cautious optimism to outright rebuke. Independent photographers have bemoaned the loss of potential income with photographs being given away for free. Still, one can argue that the standard for what’s visually appealing can only improve if the public gets exposed to more quality images. It follows that this newfound appreciation adds value to the photographer’s art, hence driving the need for images of a higher calibre; and this is the clincher for us. When you share one of our stock images on social media, both CEF and the photographer receive the proper credit. Since the photo also includes a direct link back to the Getty collection from which it belongs, a viewer with a commercial need for the image can now license it directly from Getty’s website. Through the embed player, the stock agency can also gather information on who is using and viewing that image, in the hopes of improving the collections. We see this as a good thing. We not only get more exposure for our stock photographs on Getty, our photographers get the proper recognition for their hard work. By sharing our stock images online, you not only spread the word about our talented volunteers, you also help promote our cause.