Some Purely Anectdotal and Totally Unscientific Data on Flickr Images Being Sold by Getty Images

Some Purely Anectdotal and Totally Unscientific Data on Flickr Images Being Sold by Getty Images

Over at the Getty Images Contributor Group on Flickr (it’s private and you have to be an accepted Flickr/Getty photographer in order to see it) there have been a number of threads started over the past few months where Getty/Flickr contributors have posted and shared basic information about how their sales are going through the Flickr/Getty partnership thus far. While it is probably far too early to accurately ascertain a lot of the statistics on how things are truly going, I thought I’d compile some of this information as anecdotal.

So far the Flickr/Getty deal has been running about 8 months now. Initially Getty editors scoured Flickr finding images and photographers to invite. More recently Getty has created a “Call for Artists” group where Flickr users can apply for participation directly in this program. Also Getty has broadened the submission process now allowing photographers to submit 25 images per week for Getty to consider for the Flickr collection (for a while it was 50 per week but they just cut it back to 25). Getty/Flickr photographers submit these images to the “Getty Images Artists Picks” group for consideration.

1. One of the threads in the Contributor Group asked the simple question of members how many images each member currently had on sale at Getty. So far 25 photographers have responded in that thread with an answer. The largest answer was 566 photographs. The smallest answer was 3 photographs. The average of the photographers who answered was 133.4 images each.

2. Another thread in the group asked a more complicated question, what each photographer’s Return Per Image per year was (RPI). In order to get this photographers took their total earnings, divided it by number of months images had sold and the multiplied that number by 12 to get an annual number. The idea here is that photographers might see how much each image accepted by Getty might be worth to them on an annual basis. 22 photographers answered this thread. The highest RPI came in at $119.16 per image. The lowest was $0 (by two photographers who had yet to sell images). The average was $31.03 per image.

3. The most participated in question had to do with Getty’s acceptance rate for images submitted. During the months of August, September, and October, Getty allowed Getty/Flickr photographers to submit photographs in sets to be considered by Getty editors for sale. 39 photographers responded to this question. Acceptance rates varied from 100% of images submitted accepted to a low of 5%. The average acceptance rate for images submitted to Getty through this program was 48.25%.

4. Finally, one photographer asked Flickr/Getty photographers to post the highest right’s managed (RM) sale that they’d made to date. Right’s managed images sold by Getty generally sell for higher amounts than the royalty free (RF) images that they also offer. Many photographers only have royalty free offerings up right now, so much fewer photographers responded to this question. A total of five photographers responded to this question. The most expensive RM image in the program thus far was reported to have sold for $1,439. The low number for highest sold RM photo was $741. The average high value sale was $1,057.75.

It should be noted that several Flickr/Getty photographers have posted that there seems to be a lag from the time that their images are being accepted by Getty and keyworded for accurate search on the site, so this may also be a factor to consider.

In general Getty Images pays out 20% for RF images and 30% for RM images to photographers.

At present there are 13,094 Flickr members in the Getty Contributors group. Getty had previously reported having over 60,000 images now in the Flickr/Getty collection. A current search of the entire Flickr/Getty library pulls up 74,313 images. These numbers would suggest that the average number of photos per Flickr/Getty photographer on sale is much lower than the self reported number above. This would make sense though as it’s probably mostly the most active Flickr/Getty photographers who are actively participating in the Getty Images Contributor group on Flickr. I suspect that the vast majority of photographers in the program probably have less than 10 images for sale each at present.

A blank search for all creative images for sale at Getty at present would suggest that the current Creative collection at Getty (vs. editorial) has about 2,781,826 images in it. This would mean that Flickr would likely represent about 2.6% of the entire Getty creative catalog at present. A number which I suspect will likely be increasing in the future assuming the Getty/Flickr deal stays in place as is.

You can follow information on the Getty/Flickr partnership on Twitter here. Getty’s main account on Twitter is here. Getty Images is on Friendfeed here and Facebook here.

If you’d like to nominate a Flickr photographer to be invited by Getty you can email a link to their flickrstream to

7 Replies to “Some Purely Anectdotal and Totally Unscientific Data on Flickr Images Being Sold by Getty Images”

  1. Thomas, thanks for researching and compiling these statistics. I’ve been wondering how successful the Flickr/Getty program was. Sounds like it can be worthwhile if you have enough images. 20-30% payout is WAY too low in my opinion though.

  2. HaHaHAHA – Getty is a rip. Locking up good photography for two years at a time, and for what? … For an average of $31.03 an image.

    … More money in the fine photography market, 1, just ONE, buy there nets double and up. And good photography there doesn’t lose it’s respect.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this. It touched my heart. I was unable to sleep because my fears woke me up. I think I can rest now that I know I am not alone. God has a way of making all things right. I am so thankful.

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