Going Getty: How Much do Photographers Actually Make?

August 22, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 19 Comments | |
Going Getty: How Much do Photographers Actually Make? Image

Right from the off, it's important to note that uploading work to Getty Images is not for everyone. From an anecdotal perspective, there are many photographers - professional and otherwise - who claim to have seen outstanding success through Getty, and an equal number of detractors on the other side of the line who feel it's doing a disservice to honest, hardworking photographers.

Whichever way you slice it, Getty is here to stay and it's certainly made a couple of people rich - namely, founders Mark Getty and Jonathan Klien, since the image giant was valued at an astronomical $3.3 billion late in 2012.

That's no small feat, and it has arguably become a useful resource for anyone trying to purchase stock images. But the question today isn't whether it is a positive or negative force in the industry - it's whether image creators can get in on the cash flow, and if so, to what extent.

Going Getty: How  Much do Photographers Actually Make?

Let's take a look at how much you can realistically expect to earn through Getty Images.

The Average Income for a Getty Uploader…

… is really, really hard to quantify. This probably isn't were hoping to hear, but hey, at least ‘it depends' is more promising than ‘nothing.'

The problem here, and a big consideration you should take into account before signing up with Getty, is that average earning figures vary wildly from one photographer to the next and given that no official figures have been released by Getty in recent years, all we have to go off are discussions in photography forums. We get a bit closer when looking at average image sale prices for images, which is around $200-$500 per sale (again, the figure is pretty wide due to lack of hard data.)

Going Getty: How  Much do Photographers Actually Make?

On the face of it, this sounds brilliant. “$500 per photo?” you might be thinking. “I could sell four while I sleep and take it easy for the rest of the month!”

Unfortunately, if it was that easy everyone would be furiously uploading images to Getty (even non-photographers, probably.) The company themselves take a cut of this; although their commission rates are variable and some notable photographers have special contracts, it's probably best not to expect more than 30% of the sale price to make it into your own pocket (this drops to just 20% if you're contributing images via Flickr.)

Don't forget that you'll generally need to pay income tax on these earnings, of course, and PayPal will also take a bite of the cherry on its way from Getty's side to your account.

So, it's not all champagne and caviar…

… or is it?

Entry Tags

photos, images, photo, image, photographer, photograph, revenue, money, stock, getty images, earnings, earn, library, getty

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19 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Mike

Hmm good article, I always thought the only way to money with a camera was to be a dirty paparazzi :P and take pictures of celebrities.  Thanks for the tips :)
Mike J

5:57 pm - Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#2 dave sander

The figure that surprised me was the first. the worth of Getty images. 3 Billion? Wow!

3:03 am - Friday, February 21, 2014

#3 Rianna Radocchia

Hadn’t even heard of Getty until now but interesting read.

11:44 am - Friday, February 28, 2014

#4 Pablo Rodrigo


but you dont tell nothing about contributors numbers.

Next time dont make us lose the time clicking your blog.

3.3 is a good note. But on the title you were talking about contributors royalties, not the company.

Pablo (getty photographer)

12:07 pm - Monday, March 31, 2014

#5 Dimitris

I didn’t know all these about Getty-images, thanks!

12:40 pm - Monday, April 14, 2014

#6 Casquette Superman

That’s no small feat, and it has arguably become a useful resource for anyone trying to purchase stock images.

2:09 am - Thursday, April 17, 2014

#7 Clipping Path

Didn’t have any idea about Getty-images, thanks!

5:25 pm - Sunday, May 4, 2014

#8 clipping path

tnx to upload :P

8:57 am - Saturday, June 28, 2014

#9 Rodgers

Getty is getting rich, the photographers are getting peanuts.

10:51 pm - Friday, September 19, 2014

#10 Stig Pedersen

Would love to know what this looks like for 2013 -14

1:07 am - Monday, November 24, 2014

#11 Karun

Everybody I have talked to that has start using the Internet eventually asks the question: How can I make money online? And for most people, they never learn what they need to do in order to make a couple hundred to thousands of dollars online.

Everybody wants to make money online, but very few people know where to start. For most people it comes down to having to learn advanced skills that they never have time to master, resulting in the feeling of helplessness about making money online.

Luckily for me, I found an easy way around that about a year ago. Instead of trying to learn crazy web languages or graphic design, I started search for nontechnical ways to make money online. This led me to taking paid surveys online.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it can connect people and companies almost instantly, and companies have found out about it. Companies have found that they can receive almost instant feedback about their products, services, or ad campaigns through the Internet. This is called market research, and before it used to take companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and many months to find average and sometimes outdated data.

Now, companies have a direct and almost instant link to people that use their products, and will pay people to help them speed up their market research. When I found out about it, I was a little skeptical, but I decided to try my hand at it anyway.

What I found was that I could make decent money just by filling out online surveys for an hour or so, everyday. It was surprisingly easy since I could do them while chatting on Facebook or after my kids went to bed, so I figured I would give it a month and see how much I could earn. At the end of the month, I was so excited when my first check came in the mail for $638.28!

After a few months, I built up a reputation so that survey companies would give me even higher paying surveys, giving me even more money. Overall it has been a very smart choice that fits into my lifestyle, and hasn’t required me to learn anything advanced computer skills. If you are trying to make some extra money, give online surveys a try.

So how does it work?

1. Find a website that has a large survey database. I have tried a few, but personally, I like Surveys At Home because they have prescreened the survey websites to find the ones that pay the best.

2. Sign up with a few sites, 3-5 to start then add more to receive more surveys

3. Start taking surveys, simply fill out accurate information. They usually take 10-20 minutes per survey.

4. Cash out and receive your payment either with PayPal or by mail.

Best or all, you don’t need to spend any money, there is no risk or scams, and the sites are free to join. If you are looking to earn some extra income, surveys seem to be one of the best ways to go.

>>>>>>>>> http://getpaid-survey.com

3:48 am - Sunday, April 12, 2015

#12 Clipping Path

For any kinds image editing service visit_

3:10 pm - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#13 pradeeprath22

What you actually pay yourself is much, much less. Yes really be worth very much. http://goatripsindia.com/goa-honeymoon-package

9:58 am - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#14 bycalin

Despite the fact this is a 2013 article, I believe the figures have not changed lately. I have receive an invite from Getty to become a contributor and I am contemplating it.

I am not sure that the total number of respondents makes the sample representative, case in which the Selling Stock study is not relevant. Still, even if we assume the sample is representative, the income numbers are not impressive.

2:29 am - Friday, March 25, 2016

#15 Sash Alexander

ANY stock agency that takes 70-80% cut of your image sales is a bloody thief! These big players are hurting the professional photography industry and the only way to stop them is for us photographers to stop being sucked into them.

7:13 pm - Thursday, May 26, 2016

#16 Josephine

Amazing. Never knew that they just let 30% of the total sales value to go into photographer’s pocket. But why do they charge so much for selling? It’s exorbitantly high commission, don’t you think so?

4:50 am - Sunday, June 5, 2016

#17 Roy

30% ?? that isn’t good…

11:47 am - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

#18 inshallah dragna

U have to think in terms of selling by Volume its not like buying a car its mass quantity of one shot or mult sales of multiple shots im a new contributor w a pending license see gettys workwithus full name they coded 6 to sell istock by getttys see photosecrets blog

4:18 pm - Monday, August 8, 2016

#19 CateLewitt

In fact, you can earn a decent sum per month working as a freelancer. There are a lot of freelance job boards where you’ll be able to find photography projects nowadays. Of course, there’s scam and there are low-paying jobs, but on some boards you can get quite a lot! For example, this board has very high rates and is commission free: https://www.xplace.com/photography/jobs.

12:24 pm - Thursday, September 29, 2016