There are better ways to sell photos online than Getty Images

Getty has developed a new embedding feature that has made 35 million images available for free and photographers are furious.

We’ve always kept photographers and their work at the core of our business. We are photographers. Our friends are photographers. We believe photographs, like any art or product, have a value that should not be manipulated or diluted without the consent of their creators.

By releasing its new embedding platform, Getty Images has devalued the work of hundreds of photographers worldwide – 35 million photographs that do not compensate the photographer for their unequivocal role in Getty’s data mining and advertising efforts.

In an interview with the British Journal of Photography, Craig Peters, the senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images, explains “YouTube implemented a very similar capability, which allows people to embed videos on a website, with the company generating revenue by serving advertising on that video.”

Who really benefits?

The question we must ask ourselves is this: Is Getty Images benefitting more from the exposure they’ll receive than the photographers whose images are made available for free? The answer is yes. Photographers on Getty don’t have a choice. The new embed program won’t have an opt-out clause, forcing photographers to participate and automatically devalue their work. They are in control.

“Photographers are livid about this”
Matthew Shuey, Co-founder of GenStockPhoto

Matthew Shuey is the co-founder of GenStockPhoto, an independently owned stock photography business. “Photographers are livid about this [change],” he says. “I forsee a mass exodus of Getty Contributors looking for a new home coming soon.” He adds that many contributors said they feel betrayed because the new embed system is not what they signed up for.

The value of your work doesn’t have to suffer

We believe it’s important to not rely on services whose terms and regulations are subject to unexpected changes, especially when these changes directly affect the value of your artistic work and, consequently, your livelihood.

This mentality is at the heart of how we build our products. Understanding that content creators should be owners, not renters, is what has motivated us to bring you products like our Sell Media E-Commerce solution and countless free and premium WordPress themes like Stock Photography, Chromatic and Onesie; products that empower you as professionals to set your own standards of value.

That’s the benefit of not having a middleman. That’s the benefit of open-source development. That’s the benefit of free software.

Sell Media is the byproduct of these ideals. The result of a collaboration between photographers and developers who believe everyone should be able to determine the value of their own art.

We want to enable you to beautifully showcase your work and sell it on your own terms so you can keep 100% of your sales.

It’s your work. You should call the shots.

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Posted by , at Graph Paper Press

Thad is the founder of Theme.Works and Graph Paper Press. Previously, he produced online multimedia and documentary projects for USA Today including the inauguration of President Barack Obama and many others. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Abby.

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  • Ron Williams

    Thank you for posting this.

    I really feel photographers, filmmakers and videographers, need a better way to network their copyrighted images for protection as well as marketing. Youtube has algorithms that flag music in videos and they make note of it, even knock you offline, addressing copyright infringement. However, Youtube is hitching ads to my videos, but I never see a penny of the ad revenue.

    • Graph Paper Press

      Totally agree. The last decade has been pretty nasty to content creators.

      • Paul Newcombe

        As it should be and kudos to GPP and your team, Thad. Love your work. There is a fine book by Mark Helprin, “Digital Barbarism” that has been out for a while now, I think since ’09… Helprin is a persuasive defender of copyright, intellectual and property rights in this digital age and culture. A must read for those who care. Just passing it along to all. Thanks again.

        • Graph Paper Press

          Thanks Paul!

  • Guest

    As it should be and kudos to GPP and your team, Thad. Love your work. There is a brilliant book by Mark Helprin, “Digital Barbarism” out now since 2009 or so. It is a must read on the subject of copyright and intellectual property rights in this age of digital culture. Just passing this along… to all who care. Thanks again.

    • Graph Paper Press

      Awesome! I’ll def. check it out.

  • Ray

    Is there an easy way to integrate with third party print shops? I know we can do it manually but it seems potentially tedious? Thanks for any insights on how this might work.

    • Graph Paper Press

      Third party print integration is something that’s on our bucket list. It’s proven more challenging than we originally thought: It needs to support international orders and must allow for individual user signup (not application-level signup) so that you, the photographer, can set your own prices and keep all the sales.

  • Brian

    Second Ray’s question. The ability to integrate with Bay Photo for example would be sweet and make it potentially a lot easier to sell photos.

    • Graph Paper Press

      Totally agree Brian. We’re currently in talks with White House Custom Color to make this happen.

  • Sudheer Yadav


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