Interesting development in the stock industry, Getty Images and Flickr are working together to establish the first commercial licensing opportunity for photo-enthusiasts in the Flickr community:

Images can be tremendously powerful. Images, empowered appropriately, can challenge, convince, delight and inspire. At Flickr, we think one of our most important missions is to enabe images to be all that they can be. And as such, we are incredibly proud and excited to launch a new partnership with Getty Images, the unrivaled leader in digital media licensing, to offer a new Flickr branded collection on

The creative and editorial teams at Getty Images have a deep understanding of what makes images truly extraordinary as well as what their clients (on a global scale) are seeking. Marrying this expertise to the talent and breadth of the photography on Flickr is truly an incredible opportunity, for our members, for Getty Images clients, and for those who love imagery in all of its forms.

So how does it all work?

Getty Images has the best editors globally taking the pulse of the market. In the next several months, they will be exploring Flickr’s collection of public photos and inviting some of these photographers to be part of the Flickr collection on Getty Images.

Both companies are committed to providing our users with more choices. Flickr members have an unprecedented opportunity to establish even more value for their creativity and work directly with a global leader to license their images commercially. Getty Images customers will have access to even more diverse, regionally relevant imagery.

So make sure to check out the Flickr collection on in the coming months to see what the editors at Getty Images have selected.

-Kakul Srivastav, General Manager, Flickr

From the Getty Blog (here).

I’ll be interested to see how many gems they find in the 2 billion images stored there.

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  1. There are some exceptional photographers on Flickr that consistently produce great work!

    Some of these people (I’m guessing) don’t make their living SOLELY from photography, so they may lack the know-how of how much money their pictures are worth and consequently may end up licensing their images to Flickr/ Getty for next to nothing.

    So with the number of users on Flickr, do you think they’ll set up an instant payment system for stock images? To someone who doesn’t make a living from photography – IT COULD be interesting…

  2. Couldn’t agree more Alan.
    This is a great deal for Getty. I’m sure they will find loads of great images at a very cheap price, They will get these photographers to sign and “take all” contract and soak them for all their worth.
    How do we educate the Flickr masses to what could potentially be a bad deal for them and get them to negotiate a deal more in their favor?

  3. “istockphoto phase #2”

  4. “I’ll be interested to see how many gems they find in the 2 billion images stored there.”

    Implying that either (1) it’s all crap, or (2) there may be *something* worthwhile out there, but good luck pulling the signal out of the noise.

    As Alan said, there are some exceptional photographers on Flickr. There also are thousands who post pix of their friends, their pets, and their private parts. It can’t be that hard to filter out the Groups that specialize in the frivolous and the pornographic and concentrate on areas where the pickin’s might be a tad more commercial.

    Clearly it’s a la mode to say that Flickr sucks, but a casual flip through the photos in a stack current magazines (including PDN, Communication Arts, etc.) will have a lot of folks saying the same thing, and most of those publications supposedly have standards and photo editors.

  5. Yep, Rob, sensing the sarcasm (perhaps mistakenly and quick to accuse after hearing so many derail the site/community/whatever) here too, but anyone who has taken the site seriously, spent substantial time on it, and has already weeded out their favorite photogs knows it is chock full of amazing work, certainly worthy of Getty/stock in general and more. I echo the sentiments above regarding the major ass screwing Getty will give these folks, although it could be argued that they aren’t exactly trying to sell to agencies themselves so something is better than nothing.

  6. I know a number of Art Directors (commercial advertising) who already use Flickr on a regular basis in searching for images. They are also directed to do so from above.(I don’t like it but that is reality) Haven’t you noticed the trend in using “homemade” looking images in advertising? Where do you think all those images come from. Still, there is a huge image buying world out there, and growing, plenty of room for success at all levels.

  7. You mean yahoo and getty announce a deal.

    Maybe being a stock photographer rep by getty isn’t the best place to be anymore. I just saw one of there old top earners on digital railroad, the other day.

  8. I’ve searched Flickr and even bought a few photos in the past so I think it can fill in some holes but mostly it’s just Getty finding a source for cheap fresh images to make money from, similar to dollar stock, and photographers making nothing. So if you are a talented photographer who doesn’t make a living off your pictures and getty discovers you on flickr you will continue to not make a living off photography.

    Also, if you’ve got to sift through 10,000 images to get 10 and then only one has a photographer with the right size file who is willing to sign your contract I question whether this is going to work.

    And, it’s not like I can’t search Flickr myself.

  9. Totally missed this but Thoughts of a Bohemian just pointed out that any photo agency can sift through the images at flickr and make a deal with the photographer to sell them. Getty simply bought the use of a trademark. Flickr doesn’t own any of the images. Story here:

  10. Someone above replied they’ve heard of AD’s using Flickr already. I will attest to this as I do this quite frequently. I am an avid Flickr user and have developed great relationships with many photographers from all over the world. It’s become an invaluable resource for me. So on the last issue of one of the magazines I’m AD for, I chose a Flickr user I didn’t know for our cover. He ended up being a retired lawyer who now does wildlife photography in his spare time and it was the first photo he’d ever sold. There’s something about that feeling, of recognizing people who love their art but don’t go through the standard channels of selling their photography.

    I think the potential of Flickr having options to sell directly through the site will make for some interesting times. I think Flickr may have been better off not pairing up with Getty, but allowing photographers to sell just prints of their works in different mediums and allowing the user to set prices. I think that would be absolutely beneficial to the users of Flickr, more so than selling stock.

  11. That should have been

    “..before signing anything to do with this..”

  12. Nope, no research. They are already chomping at the bit over this.

    If you want to have a really good laugh go over to the iStock forum and read the post about it there. Boy has this ever changed their tune – I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t on EP or PDN.

  13. what interests me the most in all of this is to know what kind of gear the shooter used for whatever images get picked.
    Getty certainly is strict with their contributors about what kind of files they have to submit. How many of those flickr images will be held to the same standard? Forget content for a second,I am just curious what this means in terms of technical requirements.
    Pro gear is a major expense for the pro photographer.

  14. A few disjointed thoughts after reading the FAQ about this deal on Strobist:

    1. Getty seems to realize that some of their users already search Flickr for shots. So this seems an effort at ‘user-retention’ to some degree at least.

    2. I can’t be the first one to realize that Getty’s going to have a hard time securing model releases for a lot of the Flickr content.

    3. Apparently, Getty will want an “image-exclusive deal.” Meaning that images licensed through them [and similar images] cannot be sold elsewhere. That’s a deal-breaker for me.


  15. Those of you that buy images off of flickr and publish them; are you paying a fair rate or do you do it to save $? As we all know (by we I mean photographers who aren’t lawyers by day), as soon as you sell yourself short you set a precedent not only for yourself, but for all of us. Some may think that the $ photographers make is ridiculous, and I guess they might be right if we didn’t write $20k+ in checks every month just to keep a modest studio with no employees afloat.

  16. I am surprised that flickr did not do this internally and a few years ago. It seems that they are just handing off the work to Getty and Flickr really might not benefit from this deal.

    Now let’s talk about all those shooters for Getty who will get bumped back. In this economy, this is not a good thing for Pros.

  17. Yes, it will certainly be interesting to see how this works with the release requirement and the 5D or better equipment requirement!

  18. To th: I haven’t chosen images from Flickr for price, I’ve done it because its much easier to find the photos sometimes then sending out mass e-mails to our area photographers for certain shots, waiting weeks to hear back, and then not having anything to pick from that I’m excited about. I pay everyone the same thing the same rates – pro or amateur.

  19. @ th: yeah, I paid full price. You certainly don’t want to open that door with the business side of the company.

  20. I’ve sold a number of images to ADs thru having my work on flickr. Standard industry pay scale too. Flickr was instrumental in my getting a deal with Chronicle Books.

    Lots of pros use flickr. It’s just another place to get your work seen.

    Get over the flickr stigma, APE. You sound like a broken record.

  21. Awww, no more cc grabs for desperate photo researchers >:)

  22. Hi,

    This is no big news at all. I don’t see how this is going to change how things are happening: other agencies can still contact directly individual photographers, just like they’ve always did. Flickr does not own any photographies so they don’t have the right to see anything.

    This seems like a lot of noise for nothing…

    • Response to @Wedding Photographer Nice France, who says “This is no big news at all. I don’t see how this is going to change how things are happening: other agencies can still contact directly individual photographers, just like they’ve always did.”

      I’d like to think that this is true, and in fact I admire Getty’s business savvy for trying to embrace the flickr community directly.

      But consider the following: Getty has invited thousands of “hand-picked” photographers to add their images to Getty. When photographers sign up, they give Getty strict long-term exclusive rights to the images, and the Creative Commons license on the photo is immediately changed to “All Rights Reserved.”

      Now, putting on my cynical hat for a moment, I could conclude that Getty is doing nothing here other than eliminating competition. If they sell your photo, they win and you get only a tiny portion. If they never sell your photo, they win too, because if this thing takes off, then they have made Flickr Creative Commons a less compelling place for photo researchers and buyers to find good photos.

      It’s definitely a shrewd move for Getty, but I can’t agree that this changes nothing.

  23. > I’ll be interested to see how many gems they find in the 2 billion images stored there.

    As I wrote here:

    “[Getty] Picking photos that people might want later is a guessing game. But picking photos that are on Flickr and copyrighted and already being used on commercial sites without permission is a sure thing. They could find infringements using’s technology before they offer to select the photo.”

  24. One can search Flickr by “Camera,” and there are many images made with the 5D on Flickr that are GREAT images. The hard part is not finding good images, but taking the time to find the images and using the time of an already overburdened Getty Editing Department, contacting the photographers and finding images that the photographer can get model releases for, tracking down the releases and getting the images in your hands….. This is what will take a lot of hours…. LOTS of hours. Will it be worth it????? In the end, Getty already has a gizillion trained photographs that know how to submit images and are talented enough to shoot in any style. in my opinion what they should be doing is showing the photographers they already have signed what kind of images they want…. and then they will get those images…. Probably 10,000 images in 6 months instead of 3,000…..

  25. A major cable TV Show stole one of my Photo’s and aired it on a show they call (AMERIGASM AND IT RAN FOR 23 SECONDS) did anyone email me to ask if they could use it? No! Did I get any money no it? No! have I talked to an Attorney? Yes! Will I get anything for my trouble’s, my odds are less then 1%. So now I will be closing my account with flickr in the coming days. And moving to a better site with better rules and to tell you the truth more stuck up people who believe they are the best in there field of photography! I have liked most of the people on flickr for most are like me. We have day jobs and flickr was like an updated penpal group. Then someone tells you someone has taken one of your photos and used it! Boy was I TICKED OFF then you go on google or yahoo and you put in the words “flickr sucks” and you start reading the comments about how many people have been screwed all along even myself. I feel that flickr has used me and they know it and don’t give a Damn! But they are not the only one’s? Google, Yahoo, Bing etc etc etc all these search engines have used us. I feel its time we fight back with a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT so that Artist, Writers and Photographers get there rights on the Internet! Yours Truly A Ticked Off flickr user

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