June 18, 2010

Getty To Pay Flickr Users For Images

Users of the popular photo-hosting site Flickr are being given a chance to make some money from their snapshots.

Getty Images, for the past year, has been tapping into tens of thousands of photos taken by pro and semi-pro photographers who post on the site.

Now all users -- nearly 40 million -- have the potential to earn some money as Getty takes advantage of a library of four billion pictures.

"Flickr users are the eyes of the world," Douglas Alexander, Flickr's general manager, told BBC news.

"We have contributors from over 100 counties and images are coming in from every corner of the globe. This deal broadens the horizons and the global marketplace for commercial photography and gives our users the chance to make some money," he said.

No actual rates for photos were given by Getty or Flickr, but it is generally believed the average rate for an image is between $150 and $240.

The Getty agreement made with pro and semi-pro photos appearing on Flickr extends to the new deal, available to all Flickr users.

Getty's chief operating officer Nick Evans-Lombe said Flickr had been a great resource and inspiration.

The stock photography market has been mostly limited to North America and Europe in the past. But more people around the world will now have a good chance of getting paid for their photos.

Evans-Lombe said a great asset of the Flickr collection was that it was "more gritty" because the photographs are not shot for commercial services and therefore have more authenticity.

"The extension of this partnership is a testament to the talent of our Flickr community and we want to provide a platform for our members so they can get their work out there to the largest possible audience," said Alexander.

Hal Bergman dreamt for years of turning his passion of photography into a full-time career. He started posting photos on Flickr in 2006 and said the partnership he has with Getty has been a fruitful one for him.

"I have been doing this for six years on the side and a year and a half ago I gave up my day job in website development," he told BBC.

Although he would not say what he actually earns, Bergman told BBC News he makes a good living from photography.

"I am working as a freelance and getting a lot of commission work and I would say this deal brings in about a third of my income which is pretty good when you consider I have 200 images on the Getty site and a further 2,500 on another site," he said.

Bergman said while he is managing to get himself established, he is concerned about how the opening up of this partnership will affect him.

"This deal helped me get my foot in the door with Getty, something I had been trying to do for years. And while I am concerned about opening up the floodgates, I am going to take it as a challenge. But I am really not worried because I like to think I am good at what I do," said Bergman.


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